Record editorial: Make your voice heard during legislative session
With all the drama in Washington over the past several weeks, most Summit County residents have likely been glued to their televisions and smartphone screens, staying abreast of the latest developments in the nation’s capital.
Now it’s time to pay attention to what’s happening in Utah’s capital. The state Legislature’s 2021 general session started Tuesday, setting off what is sure to be a frenzied month and a half as lawmakers try to cram hundreds of bills into a 45-day window.
Unlike national politics, which Utahns typically watch from afar, the Legislature should not be for spectating. Lawmakers will be making decisions that have an enormous impact on life in Utah, making policy on everything from COVID-19 relief to taxes to liquor laws.
Rather than something for Summit County residents to merely casually observe, the annual legislative session is an opportunity to make their voices heard and respectfully advocate for their beliefs (though residents will be unable to do so in person for the time being due to the coronavirus pandemic and concerns about potentially violent protests).
If there is a legislative topic you’re passionate about — say, air quality or education funding — pick up your phone and dial your lawmakers. If you’re frustrated by a bill that’s gaining traction in the Statehouse, pick up your phone and dial your lawmakers. If you don’t think your representatives understand how a piece of legislation will affect their constituents … well, you get the picture.
There’s a misconception among some that feedback from constituents doesn’t matter to lawmakers. The notion is understandable. Money plays too big a role in state politics, and too often the wealthy and powerful have outsized influence on Capitol Hill. But the vast majority of legislators — including most who have represented Summit County over the years — want to hear from the people they represent.
You may not be able to sway their vote but that doesn’t mean your input is meaningless.
After all, they didn’t just magically receive the power they wield. They get it from the people who elected them. That means they answer to us.
This legislative session, as lawmakers consider a flurry of bills that will shape our state and its communities, Summit County residents should follow along, pick up the phone and make sure their representatives understand that.
Summit Country residents can follow the legislative session and track bills at le.utah.gov. Residents can contact their elected representatives at the following numbers: House District 28 Rep. Brian King, 801-560-0769; House District 53 Rep. Kera Birkeland, 385-266-2677; House District 54 Rep. Mike Kohler, 801-538-1029; Senate District 19 Sen. John Johnson, 801-272-7428; Senate District 26 Sen. Ron Winterton, 435-299-8531.
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