Here are some of the results of another full Legislative Interim Day held on Wednesday, June 21.
The Government Operations Interim Committee discussed proposed changes to the local referendum process. These changes were prompted by action in a couple of citizen-initiated referendums in cities within Utah County that are now tied up in court to determine if the action being referred is legislative or executive in nature—this despite the fact that the referendums have already gathered the required signatures.
Among other things, the proposed legislation would allow local governments to put a hold on the referendum process before the signature gathering period begins to help determine for the sake of the government and the sponsors of the referendum the legal merit of the referendum. Additionally, the bill aims to clarify what level of political activity the local government can take in regards to a referendum. The Utah Association of Counties has been working closely with the League of Cities and Towns on this issue. If you have any questions, please reach out to UAC staff.
Government Opts also considered legislation that would permit a third-place candidate in a nonpartisan race to move to the general election, should one of the first two placed candidates withdraws within a specific timeframe. While primarily a municipal issue, the bill would impact Grand and Morgan Counties. The Salt Lake Tribune has more on the issue.
The Economic Development and Workforce Services Interim Committee requested legislation be drafted to continue the Enterprise Zone Act. The act, which is due to sunset a year from now, provides tax credits to entice businesses to locate in rural Utah. To date, 17 counties have used Enterprise Zones for economic development. More information can be found in this presentation prepared by GOED.
The Political Subdivisions Interim Committee voted to create a bill file that would address the removal of office of an elected local official in the case of mentally incapacity. While this effort is tied to one unfortunate case, both Representative Chavez-Houck and Senator Thatcher—the chief architects of any potential legislation—have assured UAC staff that they want to work closely with county officials and won’t move forward on any legislation that local government can’t buy off on. Both the Deseret News and the Salt Lake Tribune covered the details of the committee debate.