Recap: The 2015 Utah Legislature

Last Thursday, the Utah Legislature concluded its seven-week annual lawmaking session. The state’s major newspapers have already published several excellent recaps of the major policy changes coming out of the session. So now I’ll give my annual recap of the session’s trends and operations. I posted all the following today:

The 2015 Legislature passed 528 bills in 45 days. People are calling 528 bills a record for a single session. But the more important record might be this one: Of the 528 bills passed, 277 of them didn’t pass their final vote until the final week of the Legislative session.

The closest votes in the 2015 Utah Legislature. This year’s closest votes dealt with bitcoin, natural gas vehicles, anonymous campaign contributions, truth in advertising, transportation funding, car emissions, medical marijuana, and party nomination procedures.

The naysayers: Which Utah legislators vote “no” the most? Most votes in the 2015 Legislature passed with 90+% support, yet some legislators seem to pride themselves on casting lots of “nay” votes. And it’s not minority party legislators who vote “nay” the most–it’s Republicans.

Who sponsored the most bills in 2015? One Senator has sponsored 158 bills over the past 6 years. He was at it again this year: Sen. Curt Bramble introduced 32 bills in 2015, passing 28.

Which legislators missed the most votes in 2015? The new Speaker, Greg Hughes, seems to have set a record for missing votes. With the exception of one legislator in 2008 who was dying of cancer, Hughes missed more floor votes this session (37%) than any other legislator in the past 9 years.

And, just for fun, here are some links to a few things I posted over the past few months that are relevant to the session. Regular readers will have seen these already:

What Utah voters want from their Legislature. Poll results from October 2014 on a variety of policy issues.

The 2015 Legislature will be Utah’s 2nd most Republican since the Depression. An analysis from November 2014. The Legislature is 84% Republican now.

Pretty much nobody likes the Zion Curtain. Poll results from November show a desire to remove alcohol preparation barriers.

Utahns like Herbert and non-discrimination; they don’t like Senators and clocks. Poll results from early in the session showed support for a non-discrimination law and ambivalence about ending daylight saving time.

You can find lots more statistics and information about the 2015 General Session at my other site.

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About Adam Brown

Adam Brown is an associate professor of political science at Brigham Young University and a research fellow with the Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy. You can learn more about him at his website.
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