Utah tweaks taxes but gun control, death penalty unchanged

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah lawmakers were winding down their annual session Thursday after opening a record number of bills but failing to pass proposals on hot-button issues, including a repeal of the death penalty and a gun-control measure.

Instead, legislators used their 45-day session to settle a $16.7 billion budget, make modest changes to the state’s tax laws and attempt to head off a number of looming ballot initiatives.

In the final week of the session, legislators also crafted a deal to find more money for schools as part of a deal with backers of a ballot initiative who sought to hike other taxes for the same cause.

That deal, which would freeze property taxes and ask voters in December whether the state should raise gas taxes by 10 cents a gallon, was still working its way through the Legislature Thursday.