Sen. Mike Lee’s (R-UT) University of Utah Research Park Act passed the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee today with a bipartisan vote. This bill would preserve the University of Utah’s nearly 600-acre research park and avoid possible action by the Bureau of Land Management to repurpose the land. Research Park is a center for research and development serving both the University and the local workforce. Research Park is situated on a parcel of land which was transferred to the University by the Bureau of Land Management in 1968. Sen. Lee’s bill would remove an encumbrance from that land patent to ensure Research Park remains productive and thriving. The bill is now eligible for consideration by the full Senate.
Sen. Lee said, “This simple fix will protect the good work and learning that takes place at Research Park. The Park is home to cutting-edge companies in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical development, and manufacturing spaces. The work they do provides for innovation in their fields and offers first-class opportunities for students to work and learn alongside experts. For the good of Utah and the world, this work must continue.”
After sponsoring companion legislation in the House, Rep. Chris Stewart said, “The important work being done at the University of Utah provides our state with invaluable innovations. I’m proud to stand beside Senator Lee in support of this legislation. And I encourage all of my colleagues to join us in protecting research that will continue to benefit communities across the country.”
University of Utah President Taylor Randall said, “Since its establishment in 1968, Research Park has become a key component in the university’s mission to foster innovation, advance science and contribute to Utah’s strong economy. The forethought of state and federal leaders in making this investment of land to the university has reaped extraordinary success and resulted in a myriad of scientific discoveries and companies that have improved the health and well-being of all Americans. This public-private partnership remains a case study in how major research universities can contribute to the success of their communities. I support this legislation and the resulting positive impact it will have on the university and our state.”
In a letter to Sen. Lee, Utah Governor Spencer Cox said, “I appreciate your sponsorship of The University of Utah Research Park Act to help Utah and the University of Utah to clean up an encumbrance to the University’s ownership and use of land for Research Park.” Gov. Cox continued, “I appreciate your hard work and attention to the needs of our state.”
In a letter to Sen. Lee, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall said, “On behalf of Salt Lake City, I support this legislation and look forward to continued partnerships that enhance the quality of life and opportunities for the citizens of Salt Lake.”