Lawmaking experience

Utah legislators are not subject to term limits, but it turns out not to matter much. The work is hard and the pay is low, so many legislators leave after a couple terms voluntarily. In a typical post-election year, the average Utah representative has roughly 2 terms of experience (4-5 years), while the average Utah Senator has 8-10 years experience (including time served previously in the House).

Experience in the Utah House of Representatives

Turnover in the Utah House is extreme. In most odd-numbered years, the median (50th percentile) representative begins the General Session with only two terms of lawmaking experience. A few oldtimers push the average a little higher than this median, but not by much. High turnover leaves little opportunity to pass on institutional memory, raising the risk of policy errors and volatility. The first chart shows medians and averages for several recent General Sessions; the second chart shows each individual representative's years of service.

Experience in the Utah Senate

Utah senators generally have more experience than representatives. In a typical post-election year, the median senator has 6-8 years of legislative experience (including any time spent in the Utah House). A couple oldtimers push the average up higher.