News & Events
The legislative session ended at midnight on Thursday, March 14th.
The governor has until April 3rd to sign or veto bills that passed.
There was much discussion regarding House Bill 114, which would have given state gun laws precedence over federal gun laws, despite the obvious constitutional problems. In the end, the Senate declined to even hear the bill. The legislature passed House Bill 76 and sent it to the governor for signature. House Bill 76 removes the requirement to obtain a concealed weapon permit before carrying a concealed weapon so long as there is no bullet in the firing chamber. Pressure is building for the governor to veto the bill.
Senate Bill 55, the proposed bill mandating insurance coverage of autism, would have increased premiums but it did not pass. One insurance mandate, Senate Bill 189, passed. It requires insurance companies to cover oral chemotherapy drugs on parity with the more common intravenous chemotherapy treatments. It is expected to have a negligible impact on insurance rates. There were debates over expanding Medicaid to cover more people, but legislators left the decision in the governor’s hands.
After much debate and eight versions of Senate Bill 72, the legislature voted to continue the process of moving the Utah State Prison. The Prison Relocation and Development Authority (PRADA) will be reconfigured and was given the responsibility to issue a request for proposal. PRADA will receive bids to construct a new prison and develop the site of the existing prison. Whatever bid(s) they choose will be subject to ratification by the legislature and governor. PRADA will start its work in April.
Two water bills, Senate Bill 109 and House Bill 123, proposed different approaches to the process of changing the use of a water right. The bills turned into a battle between the Utah League of Cities and Towns and other public water suppliers, and canal companies and other private owners of water rights. An effort in the waning hours of the session to resolve the conflict and come up with a single agreed-upon bill came up short and neither of the bills passed.
A battle ensued on House Bill 267 between Salt Lake County, Salt Lake City, and downtown developers on the one hand and owners of existing downtown hotels on the other hand, over the issue of tax credits to build a downtown convention hotel. In the end, the bill passed out of the Senate but was narrowly defeated in the House.
Sales Tax for Online Sellers
House Bill 226 would have required certain online sellers to collect sales tax. It passed out of the Senate but the House declined to consider it.
The considerable discussion about the need to reform and improve the education system and how it is funded was funneled into an Education Task Force. The group will do its work over the next year and present recommendations before the next legislative session. The Veterans Reintegration Task Force and the Health System Reform Task Force were both reauthorized to continue their work.
Save the Date – Please join us for a post-legislative recap on Thursday, April 11, from 8:00 – 9:00 a.m. at Parsons Behle & Latimer. Additional details will be forthcoming.
If you need additional information on any of these issues or bills, please contact David Bird at 801.536.6824, Mike Bailey at 801.201.0115, Shelly Cordon Teuscher at 801.541.5918 or visit le.utah.gov.