Record editorial: Roll up your sleeves and make your influence felt on Capitol Hill
In just a few short weeks, one of the most important events of the year will begin, setting off a dizzying sprint that will at various times captivate and frustrate and will by the end leave nearly everyone involved emotionally drained and in need of a long weekend away — beachside, preferably — to recuperate.
And no, it’s not the Sundance Film Festival.
On Jan. 27, the Utah Legislature will open its 2020 general session. Over the following month and a half, lawmakers will churn through stack after stack of bills, passing scores of them in what can accurately be described as a legislative frenzy.
When the session starts, Park City will be riding the Sundance wave. Then, we’ll squeeze every little bit of action out of the remainder of what has been a stellar ski season. But with our elected officials on Capitol Hill making decisions that will affect our day-to-day lives for years to come, residents must be ready to stay abreast of what’s happening at the Statehouse even as they juggle the slate of winter activities.
Many people in Summit County are already fired up after legislators passed controversial tax reform during a special session in December, spurring a statewide push to get a measure aiming to overturn the legislation on the ballot this fall.
Residents frustrated over tax reform need to remain dialed in through March because a number of other important issues will also be decided on Capitol Hill in the coming weeks, such as education funding and gun control. Of course, those who support the tax reform ought to be engaged, too.
Lawmakers have demonstrated on plenty of occasions that they don’t always bend to the will of their constituents — and in fact they sometimes act in direct opposition to voters. But people who participate in the process and respectfully register their opinions with their representatives unquestionably influence the legislative process.
Encouragingly, most of the lawmakers whose districts cover parts of Summit County welcome input from their constituents. Residents shouldn’t shy away from calling their offices and firing off emails throughout the legislative session. The feedback may not alter their vote every time. But they will take it into account and, sometimes, change their minds.
That’s more than enough reason for even those among us who feel disenfranchised to roll up their sleeves and wade into the mayhem.
By its nature, the legislative session will be a grind. But the efforts of passionate residents will doubtless make it one that ends with better outcomes for us all.
Information about the state Legislature’s 2020 session, including a searchable database of bills, is available at le.utah.gov. Summit County’s representatives can be contacted at these phone numbers: Rep. Tim Quinn, 435-412-2170; Rep. Logan Wilde, 435-412-4384; Rep. Brian King, 801-560-0769; Sen. Allen Christensen, 801-782-5600; Sen. Ronald Winterton, 435-299-8531.
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The Olympics would be a great opportunity for Summit County to tap into federal dollars for the benefit of infrastructure improvements, but it’s unclear if the county will have any influence on the bid committee.