For your Friday enjoyment, we look back on the second week of the Legislative Session and the things that went well, those areas in which we were disappointed, and areas we continue to work.
- Our bill list continues to grow and we have reviewed over half of the new bills released this week (30 of the 73 bills!). Week #2 is almost as exciting as the first.
- UAC had its second Legislative Committee meeting and with a full room of people, we had a good discussion on many bills relating to counties: Statewide resource management plans that will, in concept, be a bill that will apply only to Federal land designations (HB0249), Commissioner Iverson and Commissioner Bushman made an impassioned plea for additional resources for online training for students (we expect a bill any day now), Jon Cox requested support for a renewable energy bill that would make Utah more attractive for solar projects (HB0261), and there was extensive discussion on Representative Noel’s bill off-highway vehicles (HB0143) that modifies the registration fee to an age-based fee with those fees going into a fund for trails. The group discussed that this would be a loss of general fund but would be more of a use tax for those using the trails. Many of the committee members asked for additional data on impacts to budgets and will hold until next week to take a position.
- Staff discussed some of the issues we faced last week during our first Legislative Meeting about callers not hearing those not immediately around the table and received feedback that it was better! Please let us know of other suggestions so that we can continue to improve.
- A perennial bill we have seen for the last few years is the private attorney general bill. This year, Representative Greene is running HB0079 Private Attorney General Doctrine. The bill was hard today and passed out of the committee with a favorable recommendation. CivLAC is very concerned with this bill and will be working with UAC staff to see how to stop the bill from progressing.
Work in Progress:
- Many of the voting issues have collided and while there remain many different bills, UAC staff has been told there is the potential for a large omnibus elections bill that would cover all the issues we have been involved in: driver license registration, same-day voter registration, vote-by-mail, etc.
- The Transportation bill (SB0136) has been released with much of the bill language that has been suggested by UAC staff and representatives on the Transportation Taskforce representing counties. We will continue to watch as it develops and the sponsors work with all of the interested parties.
And now the weekend – enjoy!