The 2017 Legislative Session is over! Once again Utah’s counties experienced a very successful session. Two days ago, we highlighted the appropriations that have been dedicated to county government. It’s to the legislature’s credit that they recognized the importance of JRI, jail reimbursement and contracting, and other critical county functions in the manner that they did.
There was more to the 2017 Legislative Session than appropriations, though. Below are just a few of the bills that UAC worked to the benefit of our county officials (fortunately for our recorders, 2017 turned out to be a slow one).
- HB 383 – Property Assessment Revisions (abandoned)
- HB 19 – Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Amendments (abandoned)
- HB 79 – Private Attorney General Doctrine (defeated)
- HB 239 – Juvenile Justice Amendments (amended)
- HB 399 – Governmental Immunity Amendments
- SB 87 – Civil Asset Forfeiture Revisions (with seconds to spare!)
- SJR 7 – Joint Resolution Amending Rules of Criminal Procedure (abandoned)
- HB 105 – Early Voting Amendments
- HB 218 – Poll Location Amendments
- HB 221 – Election Law Modifications (sent to interim)
- SB 116 – Polling Location Amendments (amended)
- SB 128 – Election Day Notification Amendments
- HB 91 – County Commission Election Amendments (amended)
- HB 152 – Transportation Funding Revisions
- HB 253 – Short-Term Rental Amendments (amended)
- HB 339 – Economic Development and Low Income Housing Amendments (defeated)
- SB 189 – Oil and Gas Operations Amendments (sent to interim)
- SB 261 – Substance Use Disorder Programs
- SB 276 – Transportation Funding Modifications
- SB 146 – Constable Amendments (abandoned)
- $150,000 in ongoing funds for survey monument replacement
We didn’t get everything we wanted (you never do), but we still did really well and there’s always next year.
Of course no one would have been able to have as successful a session as we did through the efforts of the UAC lobbying staff alone (although we are pretty amazing), thanks to our dedicated county officials who took time out of their busy schedules to brave the Hill to testify before committees, pull legislators off the floor, and meet with individual legislators for a number of side meetings. Special thanks to our affiliate liaisons who acted as an invaluable resource to UAC staff when we had technical questions. Your efforts are greatly appreciated!
We also need to thank our good legislators. If you think the Legislative Session is a disruption for your jobs, just imagine what it must be for them. They put in long, long hours in their efforts to enrich the lives of Utah citizens. While UAC appreciates all 104 legislators, we’d like to recognize a handful who carried a lot of water for the counties this year.
- Speaker Hughes, Representatives Hutchings, Wilson, and Sanpei made a concerted effort to fund JRI. We’ve now got a chance to make a real difference in Utah’s corrections system and getting offenders into treatment services.
- Representative Snow was extremely gracious in working with us to amend his juvenile justice bill. He also shepherded an important governmental immunity bill to final passage.
- As the co-chairs of the Social Services Appropriations Subcommittee, we owe a lot to Senator Christensen and Representative Ray for helping get more Medicaid match funds to our most needy population.
- Likewise, Senator Thatcher and Representative Hutchings did a lot as co-chairs of the Executive Offices and Criminal Justice Appropriations Subcommittee to procure jail reimbursement and contracting funds. Representative Noel also continues to be an unwavering champion of this cause.
- Thanks to Senator Van Tassell who introduced legislation that will increase county road funds.
- Representative Hall stepped up to sponsor a couple of bills that should improve the voting experience for Utah’s citizens.
- A number of other legislators sponsored bills proposed by county government. Thanks to Representatives McCay, Peterson, Sandall, and Ward as well as Senators Buxton and Iwamoto.
- Finally, thanks to the efforts of Representative Handy and Senator Henderson for carrying some of our more controversial bills. HB 159 and SB 43 might not have passed in 2017, but it wasn’t due to our sponsors (and there is always next year).
Look for more detailed analysis on the legislative session in the weeks to come. Starting next week, we’ll return to our regular Friday Facts update. Until then, please don’t hesitate to reach out to any member of the UAC legislative staff.
Arie Van De Graaff