The Utah State Legislature will begin the 2018 session on Monday, January 22. President Wyatt and many Southern Utah University staff members have been making preparations for budget and academic related items for months. For the past four years, it has been my privilege to "serve at the pleasure of the President" in the capacity of Government Relations Director. I LOVE this part of my job and enjoy the energy of the session and the work leading up to it.
Each of the eight schools in Utah has a similar representative. We work closely together and with a representative from the Utah System of Higher Education, to evaluate bills and strategize our advocacy efforts on behalf of higher education's students, faculty and staff.
SUU has six talented and enthusiastic students serving as legislative interns this session. Another student will be working as an intern in the Governor's office, with Chief of Staff and SUU Alumnus Justin Harding. These students spent the last week at the Capitol undergoing an intensive training session with 89 other interns from colleges and universities throughout the state. As temporary employees of the state, they learned about legislative processes, how to write bills, and what is expected of them when working with public officials, lobbyists, and constituents. These student interns are the only staff members most legislators have to work with and, as a result, will have an exciting and exhausting 9-week, life-changing opportunity to see how Utah government really runs.
To learn more about the Utah State Legislature, visit le.utah.gov. There you can learn about legislators, their bills and the committees on which they serve. You can follow daily and weekly schedules and get an appreciation for the complexity of the state budget and the commitment to transparency.
If you or your class are planning a trip to the Capitol during the session, please let me know you're coming. I'd love to show you around, help you learn how constituent advocacy process works, and make sure that Rep. Westwood and Sen. Vickers have a chance to meet you.
Read more about the 2018 Utah Legislative Session: