SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – For a number of Utah’s freshmen legislators, they’ve had to hit the ground running ever since being appointed in the past year or elected in November to prepare for their first state legislative session in January. Aside from some orientation and mentorship from more seasoned lawmakers, there’s not much to help first-year legislators as they began drafting their first bills, writing their first floors speeches, and sitting in on their first group of committee meetings.
The 45 days in the legislative session can be intense with jammed-packed schedules. Lawmakers typically receive endless requests from constituents, other legislators, and media to meet and talk about the bills they sponsor or could potentially sponsor. When they’re not on the floor, they’re typically in meetings, perhaps spending time reviewing or revising legislation, and just trying to catch up on their e-mails.
Two of the state’s newest legislators, Rep. Nelson Abbott of Orem and Rep. Kera Birkeland of Morgan joined ABC4’s Rosie Nguyen on the CW30 News at 7 p.m. for a panel discussion about what their experience was like with navigating their first year on Capitol Hill, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. They shared what were some things they expected, what surprised them, and what lies ahead as they wrap up this session and prepare for the next.
To watch the full IN FOCUS discussion with Rep. Abbott and Rep. Birkeland, click on the video at the top of the article.
Catch IN FOCUS discussions with ABC4’s Rosie Nguyen weeknights on the CW30 News at 7 p.m.