Legisplaining: Meet Your Liaisons

davidwicaiBlog, Legislature

The Utah Legislature’s 45 day session, which begins Jan. 27, can move so quickly it feels like stopping a slap shot may be an easier task than tracking bills and appropriations.

The bad news: that feeling never changes. The good news, however, is that you don’t have to do it alone.

The department has an official legislative liaison — me (Josh Loftin) — who is responsible for monitoring the day-to-day activities on Capitol Hill. The “official” aspect means I am the primary contact for the Governor’s office when they have a question on a bill or appropriation, and I have to keep them updated on any legislation that impacts the department or divisions.

Additionally, any communications with legislators has to be coordinated through me. This is primarily to ensure that legislators are hearing a consistent message from the department and representing the Governor’s Office appropriately.

Aside from the required aspects, as the legislative liaison I track any bill or appropriation that is of interest to our department or those we serve. Assisting me in that task is Nelson Knight, who checks committee agendas daily and has worked with legislative attorneys who are drafting bills we have requested.

Of course, it’s not just the two of us. Tenielle Young is the primary person for appropriations, while Jill and Kerri do the bulk of the face-to-face education and advocacy with legislators and the Governor’s Office. Within divisions, the directors and other staff also track bills and appropriations, present to committees, and answer questions from legislators.

In other words, it’s a team effort — which is really the point of this post. As liaisons, Nelson and I (pictured above at the end of last year’s session) are here to help the department succeed. If there is legislation that you want us to follow, please send us an email. A lot of bills and appropriations are requested during the session, and we want to make sure we track everything of importance. Beyond the tracking, we also would love to help everyone understand the legislative process. Please don’t hesitate to ask.