For the first time in our state's history, we elected a woman to serve as Speaker of the House. Representative Rebecca Lockhart of Provo will occupy this important position. She is joined on the leadership team by Representative Brad Dee of Ogden, Representative Greg Hughes of Draper and Representative Ronda Menlove of Garland, in Box Elder County.
I will chair the Judiciary Committee and serve on Higher Education Appropriations and the public Education Standing Committee. These are areas of personal interest and are of great importance to the citizens of Utah. Two'thirds of every dollar we budget goes to fund the education of our children. Finding the resources to adequately fund education and other necessary services will be a major challenge. For the last three years we have filled budget gaps with federal dollars. That appears less likely in the future. Fortunately, we have prepared better than about any other state in the nation. We still have some "rainy'day" savings and we have experienced modest growth during the last year. I will report more on this as we move forward.
During the early days of the session, bills are advancing in one of the two legislative bodies. Those that are successful go to the other body where they may be approved, amended or rejected. If they survive in some form, they go to the Governor. If he approves and signs, they become law. Even after this process is complete, a bill must pass a constitutional test if it is challenged in court.
The system is full of safeguards. It is far less efficient than dictatorial rule, but it protects the people and was set in place by good and wise men who cherished liberty and self rule. We shall forever stand in their debt.
Next Week, I will highlight a few bills that are beginning to make their way through the system. Some will be generally accepted, some highly controversial. Compromise will be essential, as it has been since the constitution of the United States emerged from the convention in Philadelphia in 1787.
It's a privilege to serve. I welcome your input and invite you to visit the "peoples' house" if you happen to be in Salt Lake City. Alert one of the Sergeants At Arms and they will attempt to locate me or my intern. You may also reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.