On the first Tuesday of November, millions of Americans voted for elected officials across the country in the midterms. High profile, gubernatorial and congressional races became the main attraction, drawing in many voters, but elections are more than just those on the top of the ballot. The state of Utah had one of these high-profile races that got national attention, but right under those names, Utahns also voted for their state senators and representatives who are tasked with making the laws in the beehive state. Here is the start of your guide on how to navigate the legislature and the legislative session.
What is the Utah State Legislature?
The Utah State Legislature is a body comprised of 104 citizen-legislators, 75 representatives and 29 senators. Having a citizen legislature means that none of the representatives and senators on the Hill work full time as a legislature, instead they have their normal jobs and lives, but for 45 days every year in January, they come together to vote on legislation. Whatever is not finished within those 45 days may find itself back again the following year or may come up in interim sessions that are two-day sessions, happening a few times a year.
Every two years, just like Congress, Utahns go through and vote for all the state representatives who hold office. The same is done for state senators who cycle through four-year terms, with only a portion of them up for re-election every two years.
2022 midterm outcome
This year’s elections were particularly important because of redistricting. Every 10 years in the United States the census is completed to get an estimate on the population. These numbers then determine, on federal and state levels, how many representatives are allotted, and the number of people represented by a legislator. In Utah, redistricting shook up the legislature as it relates to the Utah House, with House Democrats losing three seats to Republicans. In the Senate, the number of Republicans and Democrats stayed the same. By gaining three extra seats, Republicans have expanded their super majority in the House, which now stands at 61 Republicans and 14 Democrats. In the Senate, the split is 23 Republicans and six Democrats.
When does the legislative session start?
The legislative session runs from Jan. 17-March 3, 2023. Leading up to the session, and during it, we will be covering all you need to know, from all the newly elected legislatures to the issues that are being debated on the Hill.