What final grade does the 2018 Utah legislature deserve? Our ‘Political Insiders’ say there’s room for improvement

Our “Political Insiders” gave the 2018 Utah Legislature an overall passing grade, but nothing that will put them near the top of the class.

Lawmakers accomplished many “big lifts” during the session, approving a budget of nearly $17 billion while also cutting taxes and boosting school funding. Legislators also approved a deal with Our Schools Now that includes placing a non-binding question on the 2018 ballot to raise the gas tax to provide even more money for schools.

Lawmakers also approved a controversial inland port bill that has angered Salt Lake City officials while failing to pass a proposal to name a highway after President Donald Trump.

The Republicans on our panel gave the 2018 Legislature a solid “C” average, with a 2.73 GPA.

Not surprisingly, Democrats gave lawmakers the lowest marks, with an overall 2.19 GPA, which is still in the “C” range.

Our readers rated the 2018 session slightly higher than Democrats, but not as favorably as Republicans, with a 2.25 GPA.


Selected anonymous comments:

It was never clear why the Legislature negotiated with Our Schools Now. Utah voters were never going to approve those tax hikes.

Excellent work on keeping the state safe while bolstering public education and simultaneously providing a new opportunity for economic development. The Inland Port and Point of the Mtn commission are two smart moves.

The state legislature passed a lot of bills, but it looked like its greatest success was stopping Mike Noel’s bill to name a highway after Donald J Trump.

Overall I think we need to fire everyone and start all over again. I don’t understand how these fools run around screaming we have a surplus at the same time they demand we need to pay more taxes.

The B grade is almost entirely a result of increased spending on public education. Add in the Medicaid Expansion, which may or may not happen, and it is a pretty decent outcome. The state overreach on the inland port bill is in the F category, though.

Why do we still have to have tremendous wastes of time and energy on message bills, e.g., the Donald Trump Highway, and ferocious resistance to paying attention to public input on policies? Our legislature once again has demonstrated that its collective IQ is less than that of the sum of its members.’

Seemed somewhat clumsy and unfocused. I’m not sure we were as disciplined with the budget surplus as we might have been.

Seemed somewhat clumsy and unfocused. I’m not sure we were as disciplined with the budget surplus as we might have been.

Wish a majority of the legislation was more about real improvements than about making the legislator look good for reelection.

I wish the legislature would have dealt with gun safety issues and spent less time trying to micromanage local government. They did make progress in suicide prevention efforts and air quality.

Taxes, taxes, taxes. Worst legislative session I’ve seen in a long time. I hope the legislature will put the brakes on tax increases for a long time after the past few years, especially this year. It’s insane!

They didn’t get too crazy; however, some of leadership’s efforts to go after the executive branch were petty and over the top. Overall, it was a decent session.

Again, far too many new laws. The continued practice of cramming bills through at the end is shameful and unprofessional. The late “deal” with OSN was absurd. The UTA restructure was poorly handled. The inland port was handled entirely in the back room.

I taught school for many years. A “C” is a generous grade for the Legislature this year. A “C” student often gets to the important work of an assignment completed in the eleventh hour just before it is due, generally not giving as careful thought as he/she might have, rather than more planning and thought shortly after the assignment is given. Then, watching TV, online gaming, hanging out with friends, etc. then, getting to work at the last minute to get a so-so job done. Although there are some lawmakers dedicated to the task early in the session, having the end in mind, too many spend their time posturing, putting forward needless resolutions and wringing their hands about initiatives, rather than getting to the work of the people ASAP. 

It was an especially contentious legislative session, and legislators seemed more rancorous than usual.

The contempt and utter disregard for all local government, all while railing against the federal government overreach, has reached new heights.It’s hard to say you’re a conservative Republican while removing local authority. They have commented negatively on the Governor touting when Utah excels in an area, yet, when they replace or remove local government authority, it is justified with their condescending “we do it better at the State level” nonsense. I seriously hope the people of Utah will see through that in the election season and replace all of those who voted to limit or otherwise change local government authority. The whole inland port fiasco was just a manifestation of the greed to control everything in Utah by the State. It. Ends. Now. Oh, and if one more sanctimonious legislators tell me that cities and towns are “political subdivision of the state”, somehow incorrectly implying he state created the cities and therefore should control them, when in fact, most cities and towns were created by a vote of their own citizens in order to establish local control, I think it will ruin any credibility the body has by showing their collective ignorance on civics and government.

They did some crazy stuff, like trying to take away local rights. They did some okay stuff, which I can’t recall. Overall, they didn’t send us into a fiscal crisis, but they didn’t fund education properly or do anything to mitigate bad air quality. They pass. I’d give them a D, but I don’t want them to restart the session to get it better. They do worse every year.

The 2018 legislature was slightly less stupid than past legislatures.

The power-hungry legislature lashed out at every other branch of government. The House is definitely in need of new leadership.

Too many power grabs for the purpose of enhancing legislative power.

The legislature has done more for suicide prevention this past session than in any previous session in the history of the State. Thank you!

Representatives are not representing all of the people of Utah. They seem to be catering to corporations and fossil fuel industry. Our health, air quality, and water quality are in danger of severe contamination.

They continued to tout themselves as the “voice of the people” while proposing and passing laws to take power and voice from local governments and school boards. Their blinkered vision of themselves as white knights against all the “other” evil governments leads to bad legislation and a jaded public.

Pet projects. Nonsense proposals. Utah had real issues worthy of attention and considered debate. Renaming a highway? Allowing drivers to run red lights? Imposing on a woman,s rights over her own health choices? Ridiculous liquor laws? Not where the focus is needed.