Lawmakers have opened more than 100 bill files ahead of next January’s legislative session

Utah Capitol 17

It’s only been a week since lawmakers could open bill files ahead of next January’s regular session, but more than 100 pieces of legislation have already been requested since that time.

So far, there are 101 public bill requests on the Utah Legislature website. However, there may be more than that. Several lawmakers spoke to said their requested legislation was assigned numbers by the system greater than what is publicly available.

There are 42 bill files among 6 Senators and 59 in the House requested by 22 Representatives.

Sen. Wayne Harper, R-Taylorsville leads the way with 16 open bill files so far. He’s followed closely by Sen. Lincoln Filmore, R-South Jordan, with 14. Both lawmakers are facing primary challengers next month. Harper is taking on Karen Hyatt while Filmore is facing former Rep. Rich Cunningham.

No other lawmaker has more than 10 bill files open. The next highest is Sen. Jake Anderegg, R-Lehi with 9.

In the House, Reps. Steve Christiansen, R-West Jordan and Andrew Stoddard, D-Sandy each have 6 active bill requests. Christiansen is facing a primary election challenge from fellow Republican Nathan Brown.

No other member of the House has more than 5 bill requests. 

There are some interesting titles among the requested bills. Rep. Christiansen has requested legislation dealing with “Abortion Amendments,” “Parental Controls and Social Media Amendments,” and “Ballot Initiative Transparency Amendments.”  

Rep. Cory Malloy, R-Lehi appears to be bringing back his “Firearm Safe Harbor” bill next year. The bill was introduced late in the 2020 session and never made it out of the House Rules Committee. His proposal allows someone in a household to voluntarily surrender a gun to law enforcement if they believe someone in the house is an immediate threat.

It makes sense that legislators would like to get an early jump on requesting bills. Unless a bill is designated as a priority piece of legislation, it’s usually first-come, first-serve for lawmakers. Getting a request in early means it will be drafted ahead of others.

In the 2020 session, lawmakers changed the number of priority bills lawmakers are given. Previously both Representatives and Senators could request three priority bills. After the passage of HJR16, that number has increased to four priority bills for Representatives and five for Senators.