State legislators thank U interns for their sacrifices and assistance

Utah lawmakers closed their 45-day legislative session at midnight on March 3, sending almost 300 bills to Gov. Olene Walker’s desk for her consideration.

Chances are, U legislative interns had some impact-be it by contacting constituents or transporting bills from place to place-on the legislative process.

While state representatives are busy meeting in committees and debating on the House and Senate floors, interns from the U handle many of their remaining duties.

Approximately 200 students each year have the opportunity to participate as interns from the Hinckley Institute of Politics, in many various capacities.

“I track all their bills, attend their committees with them, call their constituents and run other simple errands,” U student Adam Reiser said about his internships with Reps. Dave Hogue, R-Riverton, and Gregory Hughes, R-Draper.

Other opportunities interns are afforded include analyzing bills, tracking research, attending to issues of public relations, writing speeches and making arrangements for expert witnesses to testify in front of various committees.

At a wrap-up meeting for the interns the day after the session ended, two representatives from each of the major political parties spoke at the Hinckley Institute of Politics about this legislative session and the interns who helped work on the business of handling laws.

Rep. Karen Morgan, D Salt Lake City, thanked the interns from the U for sacrifices made which assisted and expedited the legislative process.

The interns’ sacrifices of which Morgan spoke included working 40-hour weeks during the 45-day legislative session-requiring interns to be available for requests at almost any time.

By making sacrifices such as these, U legislative interns witnessed democracy first hand. This year, interns saw debates on bills about abortion, water conservation, gay marriage and billions of dollars in budgeting.

Interns were involved in the process that made it mandatory for any nuclear waste that comes through Utah to be approved by the Legislature and governor’s office.

“To this point, it has been the best secular opportunity I’ve had at the university,” Reiser said.

Sen. Patrice Arent, D-Salt Lake City, explained to those in attendance at the wrap-up meeting that she was displeased with the treatment the U received this past session. She specifically mentioned the passing of the bill allowing guns on campus as one of which she disapproved. “[My internship] helped me to take a look at the political spectrum of life, [to] see how the world goes round,” Reiser said.

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