Legislature's final push means staff toils over weekend to finalize budget, bills and put it all on paper
Lawmakers from other states marvel at the efficiency of Utah's process, Hillyard said.
In five weeks time, for instance, lawmakers hear some 900 bills during committee meetings, Christensen said. That's in addition to meetings on budget matters.
"People from other states are always asking me 'How do you do that?'" Hillyard said.
And how do they do it?
"We stay focused. We have deadlines. We know we have to meet the deadlines. We have a great staff. They know the budget very well," Hillyard said.
A passion for the legislative process helps, too, Christensen said.
"In the end, it works out pretty well. Our freedoms are pretty much intact at the end of the session," he said, grinning.
As for Smith, the weekend is a test of endurance. The last night of the legislative session is perhaps the most grueling because there are numerous and frequent requests to print amendments and substitute bills until the final gavel falls.
"It's hurry up and wait. They'll send a rush and you print it and then you wait," he said.
On the bright side, once the Utah Legislature adjourns at midnight Thursday, the legislative staff has Friday off, a comp day for working Presidents' Day.
It's a day many people on Capitol Hill anxiously await.
"I can hardly wait until next Friday." Hillyard said.
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