Utah Senate picks new leaders
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Republican-controlled Utah Senate has a new president and majority leader.
On Friday, the 21 Republican members of the state Senate elected Sen. Michael Waddoups, R-Taylorsville, as president and Sen. Sheldon Killpack, R-Syracuse, as majority leader by secret ballot.
Waddoups defeated longtime Sen. President John Valentine, R-Orem, who will turn over the gavel Dec. 31.
Waddoups said his leadership style will be collaborative.
"I want to include all points of view, Republican or Democrat, urban or rural, House or Senate, legislative or executive branch," he said.
In other new appointments, Senate Republicans picked Scott Jenkins, R-Plain City, as majority whip, and Greg Bell, R-Fruit Heights, as assistant majority whip.
Senate Democrats also picked new leaders Friday.
Sen. Patricia Jones, D-Holladay, was elected minority leader, replacing retiring Sen. Mike Dmitrich, D-Price.
Sen. Ross Romero, D-Salt Lake City, will become minority whip; Sen. Karen Mayne, D-West Valley City, assistant whip, and Sen. Luz Robles, D-Salt Lake City, caucus manager.
The 75-member House is guaranteed to have a new speaker. Current Speaker Greg Curtis, R-Sandy, was ousted from his seat in Tuesday’s election by Democrat Jay Seegmiller.
The House has a 53-seat Republican majority and the party will hold a caucus on Tuesday to vote for speaker, majority leader, majority whip and assistant majority whip.
House Democrats will meet to pick their leaders on Thursday.
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Summit County Attorney Margaret Olson has decried what she called a lenient sentence in a child sex abuse case in which a 20-year-old reportedly attempted to impregnate a 12-year-old. The perpetrator was sentenced to 20 days in jail and 10 years of probation.