SALT LAKE CITY — State lawmakers passed a record number of bills this legislative session, despite advice from the speaker of the House that less might be more.
Lawmakers passed 524 bills in the 45-day legislative session, which ended Thursday night. That eclipsed the record 504 passed several years ago, said Sen. John Valentine, R-Orem, who has made it a point to tally such matters in his 25 years of service.
Ironically, House Speaker Rebecca Lockhart, R-Provo, had urged lawmakers to show some restraint in their rush to introduce legislation this year. In her speech to open the session, she said there would be 1,000 bills introduced during the 45-day session.
In a press briefing on the final day of the session, Lockhart said it’s important to understand where a lot of the legislation comes from. Unlike Congress, state lawmakers are not allowed to bundle issues together, so any change in code requires a separate bill, she noted.
“In reality, let’s remember the vast majority of bills are not significant. They are pieces of new policy that are tweaks to the code that already exists,” Lockhart said.
With a citizen legislature, a lot of the legislation comes from fixing measures already in place.
“Some of these bills seem like they just keep coming back. It’s a lot of corrective action,” Rep. Don Ipson, R-St. George, said of the process.