Each year, hundreds of new bills are proposed during Utah’s 45-day legislative session. Some simply change a sentence or two, and others introduce several new pages of text. No single person can adequately sift through all of these proposals in such a short amount of time.
Our team reviews each of these bills to produce a list of the most important bills to pay attention to. In 2015, for example, we narrowed over 800 proposed bills down to 50. For each of these priority bills, we intend to assign a citizen sponsor. In volunteering for this role, you would commit to do the following:
- Read the bill and study how it would impact individual liberty, private property, or free enterprise in Utah.
- Contact the legislative sponsor to discuss the bill, asking for context about why he or she feels this bill is needed.
- Contact your own Representative and Senator and explain your interest in and thoughts on the bill. Encourage them to vote the way you think they should.
- Write an article briefly explaining what the bill would change, and why it is good or bad. Share it on your blog or Facebook to help educate others.
- Attend the committee meetings for your bill (usually two, sometimes only one) at the Capitol and offer testimony (two minutes maximum) during the “public comment” portion of the presentation for your bill. Note: in offering this testimony, and by participating in the Citizen Sponsor Project, you do not represent Libertas Institute. You will be prompted to say your name and who you represent prior to beginning your remarks. You would simply say your name, and that you represent yourself.
Citizen sponsors will be assigned to their bill by Libertas staff. Please note that committee meetings are notoriously unpredictable, and are sometimes scheduled with only a day’s advance notice. We will send instructions at the beginning of the session for how to track your bill’s progress and be alerted to when committee meetings are scheduled. We will also try to communicate these updates to you as the session progresses, but you will ultimately be responsible for tracking your own bill.
Those wishing to assume more responsibility may request up to three total bills to be assigned to them. One entry to the contest will be given for each separate bill, provided all requirements are completed.
If you have questions about this program or about how the legislative process works, please contact us. If you would like to be considered as a citizen sponsor, please fill out the form to the right.
Frequently Asked Questions
Click here for a map of the Capitol campus that shows where you can park nearby.
The Capitol is located at 300 North State Street in Salt Lake City. Click here to get directions via Google Maps.
The research, writing, and communicating with legislators shouldn't take you more than a couple of hours.
Appearing at the committee meeting requires a greater time commitment. Due to the rushed nature of the 45 day legislature, many bills receive only one day's notice before being scheduled for committee hearing. Further, once you arrive at the meeting, the agenda order may be changed by the committee chair, so it's best to plan for a couple of hours for your committee meeting.
Libertas Institute staff will be assigning all sponsors to their bills. To the extent possible, we will try to match you with a bill in a subject in which you've expressed interest. Please be as descriptive as possible in your comments when filling out the form so we understand your interests and can match you to a related bill as best we can.
Note that bills are not assigned to a citizen sponsor until they are assigned to a legislative committee. Many bills don't make it past this first step in the process, and so we wait until this hurdle has been passed before we will assign it to somebody.
At the bottom of every bill's page there is a "WebWatch" form you can fill out to be notified of updates. Click here for an example, and scroll down. If this were your bill, you would select the "Status of current bill" button and then submit your email address.
Additionally, you can use this tracking service to monitor your bill. You can add a bill using the form at the bottom of the page (for the example bill we just linked to, you would type in SB78 in this form) and then bookmark this page to track during the session. The bottom of the page has a "Bill Agendas" section that will show any scheduled committee meetings for your bill. It is important to check this a few times daily to be notified of a committee hearing that you'll need to plan for.
The agenda for your bill's committee hearing will tell you which room it's in. Refer to this map to remember which building is which.
If you get lost or have additional questions while you're at the Capitol, you may send a text to (801) 376-2647 with your question.
Absolutely! While you may sponsor one to three bills through our program, as a citizen you are free to get involved in the process as you desire and comment on whichever bill you like. Remember, when offering your testimony, to indicate that you represent yourself (and not any organization).