The 1991 Legislature was grueling-as are all of the 45-day general sessions - but it was also a successful one.
Of course, pro-choice advocates would disagree. For them, the tough anti-abortion law passed in the session's second week is a disaster.Regardless of how one feels on the controversial abortion issue, it's clear that a majority of legislators and Gov. Norm Bangerter like the new law.
The harsh reality is, should the law be ultimately upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, we'll see women's clinics operating in Wendover, Nev.; Evanston, Wyo.; and other border towns providing Utah women who can travel several hours with legal abortions.
But that's several years down the road, at best.
For now, the Legislature has spoken and adopted one of, if not the, toughest anti-abortion laws in the land.
That emotional issue aside, legislators passed a number of vital measures this session - some with long-reaching consequences.
First off, they changed forever the way property taxes are assessed on homes, local businesses, multicounty businesses and cars and boats.
It's a good solution to a court-ordered problem, developed by Rep. John Valentine, R-Orem, Sen. Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, and lobbyists for the state-assessed properties.
True, property taxes on most homes will go up an average of 1 percent, taxes on local businesses up 3.1 percent, and taxes on cars and boats outside Salt Lake County will also go up. (Taxes on cars and boats within Salt Lake County will actually go down).
But considering the enormity of the problem, legislators found a fair solution, one that should stand up to court challenges and make the property tax assessment fairer and easier for citizens to understand.
Legislators also passed several legislative and campaign reform measures.
In a previous column, I challenged the Republican leadership of the Senate to allow the bills to be heard and to support them. To their credit, they did.
The public owes thanks to Senate President Arnold Christensen, R-Sandy; Majority Leader Cary Peterson, R-Nephi; Majority Whip Lane Beattie, R-Bountiful; and Rules Committee Chairman Chuck Peterson, R-Provo. Also Sen. Stephen Rees, R-West Valley, sponsored a campaign disclosure bill and should be praised as well.
Likewise, House GOP leaders sponsored and, along with Lt. Gov. Val Oveson, pushed campaign and lobbyist disclosure this session. The House leaders - and their Democratic counterparts - took heat for early support of the measures.
They put the public good above their own personal political well-being - for almost certainly political challengers to incumbent Republicans and Democrats alike will use the early campaign disclosure and lobbyist disclosure to pound the incumbents.
Legislators dealt with a variety of other matters and handled most of them with insight and dignity.
Unfortunately, the final night House and Senate members couldn't agree on a bonding package for next fiscal year. Bangerter will likely have to call a special session to get a bonding plan.
House leaders probably made a tactical error in not dealing with the Senate's $100 million bonding package sooner on the final day. It came back to the Senate with the House amendments with only minutes left before the required midnight adjournment. Senators, incensed that the House stalled them like that, refused to agree to the $30 million in cuts House members made. Thus the impasse.
But in the cooler climate of a special session a bonding package will be adopted and mostly likely no building, road or water projects will be delayed.
It was an emotional session, many leaders said after adjournment. Partly because of the gulf war that just coincidentally started and stopped with the session, partly because lawmakers had to deal with legislative reform - a personal matter to many of them - partly because of an expulsion debate of a House member, and for many other reasons as well.
House and Senate members came through with high marks, though, I believe.