What's in Our Legislation? | Cover Story | Salt Lake City Weekly
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News » Cover Story

What's in Our Legislation?

Our annual look at the rip-roaring 45 session days ahead.

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In Memoriam
A look inside the Capitol Hill Morgue for one last goodbye.

By Kelan Lyons

Prop 2
Cause of death: Those meddlin' Mormons spearheaded an 11th-hour campaign to find a compromise between the NIMBY ilk and cannabis crusaders, gutting the medical cannabis ballot initiative voters passed last year in favor of a program that gives the state a key role in the distribution of a substance deemed illegal under federal law.

Jim Dabakis' senatorial career
Cause of death: Ambition. The outspoken state senator, known nationwide for breathalyzing himself on the Senate floor and eating a cannabis gummy "as a sacrifice to you, the taxpayers," has left the Capitol in favor of a greener, more prestigious pasture: Salt Lake City mayor. He's promised to stop his stunts: will we soon be writing a eulogy for his headline-grabbing antics?

Entrenched power of old, white men
Cause of death: Turning tides. Women have never held more legislative seats in Utah than in 2019. And San Juan is the first county in the state where Native Americans are the local governing majority. Don't get us wrong, the good ole pioneer boys still hold the lion's share of influence in the state, but their aging grips aren't as tight as they used to be.

The people's power
Cause of death: Republicans. The supermajority already pulled a switcheroo on Prop 2. Now, there are grumblings that legislative leaders could alter Prop 3, which should expand Medicaid to 150,000 Utahns come April. Potential changes could include an enrollment cap or a work requirement, a conservative wet dream that sullies what voters approved in November.

Separation of church and state
Cause of death: This one's been dead a while. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been calling the shots for decades, if not for the entirety of Utah's 123 years of statehood. From booze to civil rights, marijuana to missiles, the LDS church has influenced faithful state and federal lawmakers for generations. Its foray into medical cannabis—think of the children!—is just more of the same.