Nine suggestions for getting engaged on Utah’s Capitol Hill

After following this year’s legislative session for the first time as an intern for the Alliance for a Better Utah, I have made a list of suggestions for those interested in getting more involved on Utah’s Capitol Hill.

  1. Learn to navigate the Utah State Legislature’s official website, www.le.utah.gov. This site will become your light in the dark. It allows you to track bills, find committee hearings, and review dates and times. It shows you what is being covered during live House and Senate floor sessions, and grants you online access to the entire legislature’s proceedings.

  1. Attend as many committee hearings and Senate and House floor sessions in person as you can. It’s true that they can be viewed online, but it’s not the same experience.

  1. When you venture up to the Capitol, arrive early. Parking is atrocious, so you will have to allow yourself plenty of time to find a parking spot and then walk to your destination.

  1. Going along with my third suggestion, is my fourth. Buy a breakfast burrito at the Red Iguana in City Creek. I discovered this gem while making a quick pit stop before heading up to the Capitol on my first day. It’s really easy in the morning to find parking close to the City Creek food court. Their “Red Burrito” is simply to die for (homemade pork chorizo, egg and potato).

  1. Tying into my first suggestion of learning to navigate www.le.utah.gov, bring an iPad or a laptop with you. Having a technology device makes it much easier to follow what is going on during House and Senate floor sessions.

  1. Go out of your way to network. Once people realized I was a novice, they were quick to give me a business card and offer advice or encouragement.

  1. Talk to as many Senators and Representatives as you can. The experience is really valuable and just plain cool.

  1. Speak in a committee hearing. I actually did not do this myself, but I wish I had. There were enough issues to talk about. I just didn’t allow myself to get out of my comfort zone. This was my biggest regret.

  1. Keep up with the daily news. Sometimes the language or context of certain bills is hard to understand. Reading news articles covering your bills can sometimes help you better translate what is going on.

Good luck to all future engaged citizens. I hope you find this information helpful.

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