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Utah budget
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Utah budget taking shape halfway through legislative session

(PHOTO: KSL Newsradio's Dan Bammes)

SALT LAKE CITY — The most important job the Utah legislature has to do in its general session is the state’s $21 billion budget. It’s just crossed the halfway point of the session, and much of it the budget is already in place.

Both houses have passed a series of base budgets, essentially last year’s appropriations. One is different — the education budget includes a 6% increase in basic funding for public schools and a $1,500 bonus for teachers.

Appropriations subcommittees have been working since the start of the session on plans to add to or change those base budgets. Their priorities are coming now to the executive appropriations committee.

State Senator Don Ipson, a vice-chair of executive appropriations said, “We’ll do our work. And I think we’ll come out with a balanced budget that the people will love. Some more than others.”

A few non-budget items have made it through the entire Utah legislative process at this point in the session. One of them is House Bill 60, the constitutional carry bill. It allows any adult citizen of Utah to carry a concealed weapon without the need for a permit. Governor Spencer Cox signed it on Friday.

Senate President Stuart Adams said there’s still a pile of work left to do. “At this point in time in the session, in the Senate, we’d had 186 bills introduced last year. This year we have 204.”

The House is working on more than 360 bills. The session ends on March 5th.