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The 55th Utah Legislature

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More than anything else, the 55th Utah Legislature will be remembered for its lack of statesmanlike leadership and following the ideological whims of its members and special interest lobbyists, while succumbing to blatant political posturing.

They may have balanced the budget - and you can bet many will proudly campaign on their anti-tax hike records - but they missed creative and acceptable opportunities to preserve important programs while making significant investments in the future. Indeed, they gave lip service to reforming education, but failed to take the bold steps needed to do something genuinely meaningful.

Along the way, they let themselves get bogged down in the boisterous battle between credit unions and banks with very little to show for it.

On the positive side, they overhauled the state’s liquor laws, advanced the battle against drunken driving, and did something meaningful for the mentally ill.

But they also unceremoniously and unreasonably rejected hate crimes legislation.

In the name of patriotism, they directed regular repetition of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools. Yet, curiously, they used their self-righteous interpretation of liberty as an excuse to reject modest efforts to strengthen the state’s seat belt laws. And don’t forget how they once again ignored overwhelming public opinion and voted to allow concealed weapons in the public schools.

All in all, in KSL’s view, not a very memorable or productive legislative session!

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