Enacting Clause: A Utah State Legislature Story

Episode LXII

A short time from now, in a building not far away…

It is a period of legislative discussion. Rebel Democrats, striking from Salt Lake County, have won an extra seat against the Utah GOP Empire.

Before the battle, Rebel candidates attempted to steal one extra seat as part of their assault on the GOP’s ultimate weapon, the SUPER MAJORITY, an armored tactic with enough power to destroy any veto attempt.

Dogged by the GOP, Minority leaders race to gain more support in for the 2020 elections by displaying plans that they feel can restore balance to the chambers….

Yes, it’s that time of the year again, when bills for the upcoming legislative session are made available for public consumption. Continuing in the tradition of the past four years, Utah Political Capitol will be analyzing bills we feel are important to the citizens of the state of Utah, while making them more understandable in hopes that you can feel confident about the issues that affect us all.

The Flagged Bills series mixes policy analysis with the historical and current context in an attempt to give you an idea of the topics and concepts being discussed on Capitol Hill. We discuss the bills, their goals and aims, and then rank them in ways relevant to our readers.

As we have done for the past two years, each bill will be scored based on three basic criteria: impact, need, and lemon. We will also provide a final overall grade for quick consumption.

“Impact,” rated on a score of zero to five, represents how wide reaching and/or deeply the bill in question will affect the average Utahn if passed. For example, a broad tax increase would touch nearly every life and receive an impact score of five, while a bill affecting only people in Daggett County would receive an impact score of zero or one.

A bill’s impact score does not reflect whether or not its impact is positive or negative, just how much and how wide it’s going to affect the average Utahn.

A bill’s “need” score is based on how pressing the bill’s topic is to the people of Utah (according to the opinions of UPC staff). While there are many legislators on Utah’s Capitol Hill who disagree with us, so-called “message bills” almost always receive a “need” score of zero or one.

Because it is based on the need of the bill’s actual or intended goals, the need score can sometimes be high even if the bill has particularly poor language. It is not a judge of a bill’s quality, but more on its intended outcome.

The “Lemon” score reflects a judgment of how many problems a particular piece of legislation may have for the citizens of Utah. A message bill that benefits a particular group but does not harm another is not likely to create problems down the road would receive a score of zero or one. But if that message bill creates a near certainty for expensive legal challenges, it would receive a score of four or five. This matrix will also consider things such as overall positive or negative outcomes for the citizens of the state. The lemon score can also be seen as a overarching review of the bill in question

This matrix will also consider things such as overall positive or negative outcomes for the citizens of the state.

The final grade is a subjective overall review of the bill that takes into consideration several factors, including the bill’s impact, need, and lemon scores.

As always, we also wish to encourage you to contact us if there is a bill you wish for us to look at. UPC can be reached at utahpoliticalcapitol@gmail.com or on Twitter:@utpolcapitol. We hope to hear your ideas!

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