SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4) – Utah lawmakers have met on Capitol Hill to start the 2023 General Session, with opening remarks in both the House and the Senate emphasizing environmental concerns, economy and education.

Over 300 bills, amendments and revisions will be discussed by Utah lawmakers between the start of the session on Jan. 17 and the end on March 3. Representative Brad Wilson (R-Kaysville) said the session stands at a rare moment where the decisions made will ripple for generations.

Wilson and Senator J. Stuart Adams (R-Layton) both helped start the sessions in the House and Senate, respectively, with their opening remarks.

The two Utah lawmakers shared a lot of similar themes in their opening remarks, including mentioning the importance of water conservation in the face of the Great Salt Lake continuing to shrink.

“This has been a wet winter so – and that is great,” said Wilson. “But one winter alone won’t wash away two dry decades. The ongoing drought, our management of state water, increased resources for Southern Utah, and preservation of the Great Salt Lake are top priorities for this House.”

Adams echoed Wilson saying that today, Utah continues to face water problems, but Utah has the resources, engineers, and technology to fix the problem.

“We can, and we will fix our water problems. We may need to work with our neighbors as far north as Canada and as far south has Arizona,” said Adams. “We need new innovative ways to conserve water. Solutions like subsurface drip systems, cloud seeding and desalination. These same solutions have worked in other countries, and they can and will work here.”

Adams and Wilson each called 2023 a historic year of the tax cut for Utahns. Wilson said the best way to ensure Utahns can continue to call Utah home is by keeping money in their pockets. Adams doubled down by saying Utah can lead the way in the nation by reducing taxes and regulatory roadblocks.

Finally, the two Utah lawmakers took to education, vouching for a raise in education funding and teachers’ salaries, while giving parents more control over their child’s education.

“Parents want choice,” said Adams. “We must provide the option for parents to use their tax dollars to select the best education for their child, whether it is charter, public, private, or home school.”

Wilson called on the House to give Utah teachers the highest pay raise in Utah history, and echoed Adams by promoting the Utah Fits All program to give parents informed choices on their children’s education.

Both leaders closed their opening remarks by saying Utah lawmakers have an opportunity to better lives for Utahns through the legislative session.