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In some ways, the Utah Legislature turned over a new leaf this year. The just concluded session wasn’t nearly as rancorous nor was it driven by the vitriolic ideological extremism that marked other legislatures in recent years. There seemed to be more cooperation and greater civility. To an extent, the art of political compromise was resurrected.

Of course, a $600 million surplus helped. Lawmakers had the luxury of looking for places to spend money, rather than trim budgets. Transportation got a bunch and education, though always in need of more, received a hefty increase. And while there’ll be complaints, other state needs, mostly, were met.

As with other recent legislatures, these lawmakers failed miserably at bringing greater ethical accountability to their own ranks. They again rejected a popular hate crimes bill and they voted down, as they always seem to do, a life-saving primary seat belt law.

On the positive side, though, they didn’t dismantle Intermountain Health Care. And except for IHC, they avoided getting terribly bogged down in time-consuming reactionary battles over emotional issues of relatively little import. In the aftermath of the session, KSL is hopeful the pendulum of political extremes is swinging back toward civility and an attitude of responsible moderation.

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