Get Ready for Another Special Session in July

Utah State Capitol 17Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes told his caucus Wednesday that Gov. Gary Herbert may well call another special legislative session soon – maybe as early as July.

Herbert called lawmakers into special session Wednesday evening to restore about $5 million in vetoed education spending and to pass a lengthy resolution asking Democratic President Barack Obama not to create any new national monuments in Utah – specifically in the Bear Ears area in San Juan County.

Rep. LaVar Christensen, R-Draper, told his caucus that Herbert is amenable to changes offered in Christensen’s HB377, a grandparents rights bill that Herbert vetoed after it passed the 2016 Legislature.

That bill will be revisited in a summer special session, said Christensen.

But the Utah Constitution says only the governor may call the Legislature into a special session – outside of the annual 45-day general session which runs January to March each year.

And only the governor may set the special session agenda.

Hughes said there are some issues that may be on the summer special session – not just bills vetoed by  Herbert, but which were not taken up in Wednesday’s call.

“I think we will have at least one more special session” later this year, Hughes said.

As is always the case, any time the governor calls the Legislature to Capitol Hill there are all kinds of requests from legislators, lobbyists, and special interest groups to take up matters before the next year’s general session.

And beyond vetoed bills, Hughes did not elaborate on what GOP legislative leaders and the Republican governor may want to do in a summer special session this election year – where Herbert, all of the 75-member House and half of the 29-member Senate are up before voters in November.