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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Ghost Town

March was a quiet month at the Utah State Legislature.

After the frenetic activity of the legislative session, the peace and silence that descended on the place was a sudden, welcome change. Most legislators were more than ready to go back to their families and cleared the building about 2 a.m., the night session ended.

Almost all of the Senate staff have gone home for the year. A skeleton crew remains to sort through the layers of paperwork and carry out quiet interim projects. One or two enterprising senators stop by to call constituents and work on E-mail. A solitary law clerk shows up to listen to old recordings of floor debates from, say, 1989.

The Aggie Ice Cream is gone (although some petrified taffy remains). The Senate Chamber is quiet.

A tumbleweed rolls down the hall.

It’s the boom and bust cycle of a part-time legislature. Elected officials return to the lives and careers they left behind. They live as regular citizens under the laws they helped create.

So, March was quiet.

Last week, however, the legislature showed signs of revival.
* Election campaigns kicked into gear.

* The Senate voted to uphold Governor Huntsman’s vetoes (more action than our fax machine has seen in weeks).

* Three committees met. One started planning legislative work for the rest of the year, another discussed administrative rules, and the last started evaluating a judicial appointment.
And, the conclusive assurance that the post-session doldrums are over. . . Senator Lyle Hillyard just called and said he writing up some new blogs.

It's Spring here in the Senate. Stay tuned for more.

The photo of Grafton, Utah, was taken by Max Bertola.


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