Two more days of committee hearings for this year’s legislative session. Bills were still being released on Friday. Chance of them passing this year? Not so good.
Here are some bills on the docket today:
HB433, Amendments Related to Infrastructure Funding, sponsored by Representative Mike Shultz, authorizes $1,400,000,000 in bonds to fund transportation projects including the double-tracking of strategic sections of the FrontRunner commuter rail system, bus rapid transit in the Salt Lake mid-valley area, an environmental study at the point of the mountain area; and a Utah Transit Authority and Sharp-Tintic railroad consolidation project. It passed the House committee unanimously and is up for a vote from the full House.
HCR17, Concurrent Resolution recognizing August 31 as Overdose Awareness Day is up for discussion in the Senate Health and Human Services committee this afternoon. Utah is as high as fourth in the nation in overdoses. KSL did a story on the women behind the push for this bill – Lisa Thompson who lost her 28-year-old son to a drug overdose 3 1/2 years ago and Steffine Amodt — a woman in long-term recovery who has lived through generational addiction. The main bill sponsor is Rep. Steve Eliason and the Senate floor sponsor is Dave Buxton.
SB163, Campus Safety Amendments is up in the Senate Education committee today for its first hearing. This bill seeks to increase campus safety following the murder of Lauren McCluskey. The bill would require campus law enforcement to report a crime that occurs outside campus law enforcement’s jurisdiction with the law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction, create a report of crime statistics aggregated by housing type and share that report with the legislature and students. It would also create a “Safety and Equity Commission.” The main bill sponsor is Senator Jani Iwamoto and the floor sponsor is Lowry Snow.
HB278, the Dixie State name change bill, is also in the Senate Education committee this afternoon. The bill sailed through the House but stalled in Senate Rules. After protests, op-eds and I’m sure, many behind-the-scenes conversations, the bill is being heard today. Its chief sponsor is Rep. Kelly Miles and the Senate floor sponsor is Mike McKell.
SB167, Utah Film Economic Incentives, is being heard in the House Revenue and Taxation committee. The bill increases the maximum amount that may be awarded in refundable motion picture tax credits to $10 million. The chief sponsor is Senator Ron Winterton and the House floor sponsor is Mike Kohler.
The House Government Operations committee will hear a couple of bills that put “guardrails” on powers during an emergency. One is SB195, Emergency Response Amendments by Senator Evan Vickers and Rep. Val Peterson which seeks to limit the power of the state and local health departments and the executive branch, while looping the legislature in more fully during an emergency. The other is HB294, Pandemic Emergency Powers Amendments, by Rep. Paul Ray. This bill provides for the termination of emergency powers and public health emergency powers related to COVID-19 upon reaching a certain threshold of vaccination and recovery.
HB356, Rural Economic Development Tax Increment Financing will be heard in the Senate Revenue and Taxation committee this morning. This bill would modify the types of projects that may qualify for tax credits in rural Utah, adding flexibility and opportunity to companies operating in rural areas of the state. It’s chief sponsor is Rep. Carl Albrecht and the floor sponsor is Senator Derrin Owens.