his year’s Utah Legislative session is getting underway and that means local efforts are also underway to ensure that Uintah Basin interests are represented. Steve Evans, Vernal Chamber Legislative Affairs Committee member, presented on these efforts during Tuesday’s Chamber luncheon. Evans explained that rural communities are losing their legislative influence due to redistricting and unprecedented growth in the urban counties along the Wasatch Front. To combat the diminished influence, the Legislative Affairs Committee is staying involved in the Legislative process and working closely with Senator Winterton, Representative Scott Chew, and Representative Christine Watkins. Evans highlighted legislative items the committee has worked on, including mineral lease fund amendments, stricter penalties for killing of livestock, opposing nation-wide ban on new oil and gas leases on public lands, and redistricting, among many others. The upcoming legislative session begins January 17th and there are currently 723 bill files. The Legislative Affairs Committee is busy preparing to ensure Uintah Basin interests are protected. Among the topics they are working on so far this session are the Oil and Gas Severance Tax, opposing ESG Legislation, making puberty blockers and surgical procedures illegal without parental consent, protecting agriculture water, and opposing the Carbon Tax, among many others.