Legislative intent is generally expressed in two important types of measures: bills and resolutions. The word “bill” is often used to include resolutions; however, its specific meaning refers to proposed statutory enactments. Resolutions express legislative intent or position. Three variations of legislative resolutions are used depending on the need.
Simple resolution –A simple resolution need only be passed by the house of origin (House or Senate). It is used to initiate action involving only that house, such as establishing a committee or altering the houses’ rules.
Joint Resolution –A joint resolution must be passed by both House and Senate. It is used for matters involving both houses, such as appointing joint committees or issuing joint communiques. Proposals to amend the Utah Constitution are contained in joint resolutions.
Concurrent Resolution –A concurrent resolution must be passed by the House and Senate and signed by the governor. It is used to express the position of the state on a specific matter.
The type of resolution the sponsor chooses depends on whether one house, both houses, or both houses and the governor support the concept under consideration. If a legislator decides to use the concurrent resolution, that legislator should make sure the governor supports it before filing the resolution. Once introduced, a concurrent resolution cannot be made a simple (i.e., House or Senate) resolution or visa versa.
Except for joint resolutions amending the Utah Constitution, resolutions generally have no force of law. They are considered an expression of the Legislature and are printed in the annual session laws (Laws of Utah) but are not codified (i.e. placed in the Utah Code).