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Davis Journal

Kids get a taste of legislative process

Jul 01, 2021 01:52PM ● By Becky Ginos

Students participated in a mock legislative session and sponsored 11 bills. Courtesy photos

SALT LAKE CITY—From making ice cream the state dessert to who has the best football team, students from Davis County had the opportunity to participate in the legislative process last week as part of a Civic Engagement Program launched by the Utah House Majority Caucus.

“It was a trial run to see whether to start the program,” said Chief of Staff Abby Osborne. “It was a huge success. The kids were so excited. We had one parent call and say her son said it was the best day of his life.”

Some of these kids haven’t even been in the Capitol, she said. “They met with Gov. Cox for about 20 minutes. It was fun. He answered questions about what the executive branch is and what they do. They also had a half an hour to 45 minute course on the three branches of government.”

The program is for children who are moving into fifth grade, said Osborne. “Fifth grade is a good age because they’ve learned about Utah history in fourth grade.”

Students spend about three and a half hours at the Capitol, she said. “Most of the time is on the legislative process. We had 11 bills with the kids’ names as the sponsor. They get to go into the chamber and sit at the desk with their name on it and present the bill. We have a mock session with all the rules of engagement.”

They did a remarkable job, Osborne said. “They debated about making the state dessert ice cream, reinstating masks in school – they had a lot of opinions about that – a ban on fireworks and who has the better football team. They get a House of Representatives coin and a copy of the bill they sponsored for the day. It was fun.”

Some kids didn’t get the chance to come to the Capitol last year because of COVID, she said. “That leaves a huge void for kids who don’t get this. We wanted schools in Davis County to have the opportunity to do this and kids across the state.”

Osborne said representatives throughout the state will be given the opportunity to invite students from their district to participate in the program. “The Speaker (Brad Wilson) was supportive to offer this up to anybody. I was really, really pleasantly surprised at how much fun they had. I thought they'd be bored but they wanted more.”