SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah lawmakers have introduced about 700 bills this year, including resolutions that offer their opinions on high-profile topics such as refugees and public land.
So far this session, about 10 percent of the measures brought before the Legislature have been resolutions. Some that serve as little more than official proclamations can generate more debate than bills that create new government programs.
Here’s a closer look at resolutions and which ones lawmakers are considering:
Legislators debate several types of resolutions, including some that change only their internal rules.
Some resolutions need approval from just the House or Senate. Others require the full Legislature and the governor to sign off.
Some resolutions with the greatest impact are proposals to amend Utah’s constitution. Those must be passed by a two-thirds vote in each chamber before going before voters in the next general election.
One of the most impactful resolutions this year was a statement urging President Donald Trump to rescind the newly named Bears Ears National Monument, citing it as a federal overreach.
Utah’s GOP-controlled Legislature and Gov. Gary Herbert moved to pass the resolution quickly. Supporters said it was needed to encourage the White House to overturn President Barack Obama’s December proclamation naming the monument, but it created a backlash for the state.
Organizers of a lucrative semiannual outdoor recreation show pulled the event from Utah, citing the Bears Ears resolution as the final straw after years of state moves they felt hurt preservation.
Shortly after the Outdoor Retailer show announced it was leaving, the governor signed off on another resolution, urging Congress to shrink Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
Another resolution pushing back on federal control of public land won overwhelming approval from a House committee Friday.
That resolution, sponsored by Orem Republican Rep. Keven Stratton, encourages the state attorney general to be prepared to file a lawsuit if the U.S. government doesn’t hand over about 30 million acres of land to Utah. The resolution originally called for a lawsuit if Washington did not make moves to hand over land by December.
Stratton says he softened the bill’s language because he thinks the Republican-controlled Congress and White House may be open to transferring land.
As Trump’s administration works on a revised travel ban, Utah lawmakers are considering a resolution extending a welcome to refugees in the state.
If approved, it would serve as a declaration that the Legislature and governor commit to protecting the “civil liberties, religious freedoms and dignity of all Americans, legal immigrants and refugees seeking protection against persecution.”
The measure has received bipartisan backing, with lawmakers stressing their ancestors’ immigrant stories.
A number of the resolutions lawmakers introduce serve as a tip-of-the-hat to important industries, figures and historical events.
One proposal this year recognizes the 50th anniversary of the national Public Broadcasting Act and value of public television.
Another proposal honored 96-year-old Gail Halvorsen, the World War II pilot from Utah known as the “Candy Bomber” for parachuting sweets to children in Berlin at the end of the war.
And after heavy snowstorms made a mess of roads this winter, Utah legislators passed a resolution recognizing snow removal crews and the long hours plow drivers put in.