Note Worthy but Not News: Day 1 of the Utah Legislature

Among other events happening yesterday, it was the first day of the 2015 Utah Legislative Session. Here’s a few Capitol Hill happenings that you might have missed if you were only listening for talk of taxes, healthcare, and education funding:

  • State Senate President Wayne Niederhauser sang the girls state fight song from the dais. True story.
  • Two years after appointment to the Utah Senate, Senator Jim Dabakis is in the Minority leadership.
  • On the Majority side of the aisle, Ralph Okerland is Majority Leader, despite two heart attacks in two years.
  • Frankie Jackson, son of new Senator Al Jackson (he replaced John Valentine when the long time senator was appointed by Governor Herbert to the State Tax Commission), was honored as the best high school basketball player. In more depressing news, he also de-committed from attending BYU because he’s being recruited by Duke and UCLA (whoever they are).
  • House Republicans are down to just three women…while Senate Republicans are up to three, which is triple what they were just two years ago. House Democrats are slightly better, especially considering that House Democrats are a vanishing breed, at 7 women. Still, that’s a net loss over last year’s session.
  • Bills are already passing. That’s right. Day 1, and already the Utah Legislature is gettin’ ‘er done.
  • Rep. Jake Anderegg’s loud “so help me god” addition to the oath of office.
  • Before newly minted Speaker of the House Greg Hughes made his opening remarks, he was escorted into the House by the a senior member (Mike Noel) and a freshmen member (Mike Schultz). Also, both are Mikes.
  • Sandra Hollins took her seat in the House as the first black woman to join the body, while Jani Iwamoto became the first Japanese-American woman in the Senate.
  • Freshmen Representatives Thurston and Shultz took the bull by the horns and got some bills passed on their first day as members of the House. Kudos.
  • When Hughes finished his speech and sat on the dais, he said: Note to Greg Hartley: That is the last speech I ever read.”
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