Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

March 8, 2023
New state symbols and designations

Mushrooms and brine shrimp 

The Utah State Legislature ended their 2023 General Session on Thursday night within the constitutionally mandated limit of 45 days.

During those 45 days the Legislature passed a $28 million budget that spends some of the state’s revenue surplus and returns some money to taxpayers. They also approved legislation to conserve water, protect the Great Salt Lake, provide for state funded scholarships to pay for private education or other education choices, provide a pay increase for teachers, address affordable housing and homelessness, and hold social media accountable for harmful effects on youth.

Among the many issues considered during the 45 days, legislators found time to approve the porcini mushroom as the state mushroom and the brine shrimp as the state crustacean.

The Legislature also renamed a portion of state Routes 13 and 83 as the Golden Spike/Lincoln Memorial Highway. Legislation was also passed that gave Utah a new flag while retaining the old flag with “historical” status.

A non-binding  resolution that sought to encourage municipalities to celebrate Halloween on the last Friday of October was not approved.

When it comes to mushrooms, Rep. Christine Watkins, R-Salt Lake City, the sponsor of the bill creating a state mushroom, said her bill was about more than mushrooms during the discussion of her bill on the house floor.

“Mushrooms keep our forests safe,” she said. “Trees need mushrooms for nutrition and moisture.”

Mushrooms in Utah have a large following, said Watkins, referring to a Facebook page for Utah mushrooms lovers with 18,000 followers.

Utah has a distinct northern Utah porcini variety and another porcini mushroom variety has evolved to grow in southern Utah, Watkins said.

A colleague of Watkins’ rose on the House floor during the discussion to object to a state mushroom, claiming that mushrooms were not unique to Utah and mushrooms were used to kill Clint Eastwood in a movie — a reference to the 1971 movie “The Beguiled.”

Nevertheless, the House and Senate approved the state designation for the porcini mushroom, but it has not been signed by Gov. Cox, yet.

Tim Gillie

Editor at Tooele Transcript Bulletin
Tim has been writing for the Transcript Bulletin since October 2017. In February 2019 he was named as editor. In addition to being editor, Tim continues to write about Tooele County government, education, business, real estate, housing, politics and the state Legislature.A native of Washington state and a graduate of Central Washington University, Tim became a journalist after a 20 year career with the Boy Scouts of America.

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