Dec 5, 2022 - Politics

What to expect this upcoming Utah legislative session

Illustration of the Utah State Capitol with lines radiating from it.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

With only 43 days to go until the 2023 General Session, here's what Utah legislators are prioritizing next year, according to the Senate Majority Caucus.

Boosting teacher salaries

Senate leaders say they plan "to directly raise teacher salaries."

Why it matters: Nationally, teacher wages have remained stagnant over the past 25 years, contributing to many leaving the profession.

By the numbers: The average starting salary for a teacher in the state is about $48,000 a year.

Solving Utah's water crisis

Utah lawmakers want to continue their water-saving efforts next year.

Why it matters: The Great Salt Lake's demise has been exacerbated by drought and diversion, which will likely result in health and environmental consequences if nothing is done to save it.

Flashback: This year, lawmakers passed a series of water laws, including a $40 million bill to save the Great Salt Lake.

Cutting taxes

State Rep. Judy Weeks-Rohner, R-West Valley City, is re-introducing a bill that would eliminate the state portion of sales tax on groceries, FOX 13 reported.

  • Lawmakers have cut taxes in the last two sessions.

Why it matters: High gas costs and rising inflation have heavily impacted Utah families this year.

Flashback: During the 2022 session, the Legislature passed a bill lowering the state's income tax rate from 4.95% to 4.85% for residents and corporations.

  • Cox also championed a proposed grocery tax credit to provide relief for Utah families, but it didn't amount to anything.

What we're watching: Next year, state Reps. Angela Romero, D-Salt Lake City, and Phil Lyman, R-Blanding, plan to author bills that would require clergy leaders to report child abuse.

Yes, and: State Sen. Michael Kennedy, R-Alpine, will sponsor a controversial bill that would ban gender-affirming surgeries for minors diagnosed with gender dysphoria, The Salt Lake Tribune reports.

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