Frank Pignanelli & LaVarr Webb: Why is Utah's legislative session so boring this year?

Published: Sunday, Feb. 26 2012 12:00 a.m. MST

Is this a temporary or permanent dynamic for Utah lawmakers?

Pignanelli: Politicos are anticipating a bumper crop of controversy for the 2013 Legislative Session. There will be numerous activists, fresh from the elections, who will spew inflammatory speeches by the tonnage. The presidential campaign will be a distant memory and the returning Obama administration (like it or not, that's where the general election is trending) will encourage both the right and the left to offer a multitude of bills and resolutions.

Webb: There is still time, of course, for the Legislature to come across looking like the bar scene in Star Wars. With 104 lawmakers, each strong-willed with a healthy ego and feeling a mandate from voters, it is impossible to prevent a crazy bill from being introduced or a crazy speech from being delivered in a committee or on the floor.

But smart, seasoned and pragmatic leaders seem to have firm control of this session, preventing major outbursts and avoiding lengthy debates on "message" bills. Remember, you don't judge an entire legislative session by a wacky speech or introduction of a wacky bill. You judge a Legislature by what is ultimately passed and signed by the governor. This has been a solid, conservative, problem-solving session, and lawmakers are to be commended for their devotion to getting the job done and avoiding silly stuff.

Republican LaVarr Webb is a political consultant and lobbyist. Previously he was policy deputy to Gov. Mike Leavitt and Deseret News managing editor. Email: lwebb@exoro.com. Democrat Frank Pignanelli is a Salt Lake attorney, lobbyist and political adviser. Pignanelli served 10 years in the Utah House of Representatives, six years as minority leader. His spouse, D'Arcy Dixon Pignanelli, is a state tax commissioner. Email: frankp@xmission.com.

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