The seventh and last week of the 2018 Utah State Legislature came to a close on Thursday night when the gavel in both houses came down at midnight. Monday was the last day for committees to meet, and Tuesday through Thursday, the House and Senate met is full session trying to finish getting through all the bills on the calendar. The Inland Port Authority bill was a highly contentious issue between Salt Lake City and the State of Utah. While both entities want the port, Salt Lake City had claims of government overreach by the state expecting the city to pay for the infrastructure and the resulting difference on taxing increments paid to the state coffers. Another hot topic concerned the ability of cities to restrict the use of plastic bags that wreck the recycling equipment. The legislature tried, but failed, to pass a bill that would have banned cities from banning any kind of plastic sales. Coming through the Business and Labor Committee, Republican legislators tried to make sure that their candidates would have a place on the ballot if the Utah Republican Party strikes the membership of any candidate gathering signatures. Our Schools Now came to a compromise with the legislature to get more funding to schools, and somehow they including corporate tax cuts in the new plan. In addition, a bill passed requiring news media outlets to allow anyone who leaves their employ to immediately get another job in the field if they make less than $47,500 per year without having to sit out a year. Here are the nine bills that I saw in the Business and Labor Committee on Monday that I hadn't previously covered that you might be interested in:
House Business and Labor Committee
- HB480 County Revolving Loan Fund Amendments (sponsored by Representative M. Noel): This bill authorizes a refundable tax credit for revolving loan funds administered by a local government entity used to finance small businesses. It provides tools by which county governments can enhance entrepreneurial opportunities for small to medium-sized businesses. HB480 died in the House Rules Committee.
- SB158 Municipal Business Licensing (sponsored by Senator J. Anderegg): This bill modifies a prohibition on charging a fee for a home-based business. If you are an exempt business, there is no fee; but if you are in a business that requires a license to operate, the municipality may charge an administrative fee for registration. HB158 is currently currently awaiting the governor's signature.
- HR5 House Resolution on Trade Relations with Israel (sponsored by Representative K. Ivory): This bill opposes boycott, divestment, or sanctions movements in any form against the State of Israel. HR5 has been prepared for enrolling.
- SB209 529 Savings Plan Amendments (sponsored by Senator W. Harper): This bill modifies the eligibility criteria for a beneficiary of the Student Prosperity Savings Program, by allowing the USP to use another name, and expanding the eligibility criteria. SB209 is waiting to be signed by the governor.
- HB485 Elections Modifications (sponsored by Representative M. McKell): This bill modifies and makes deadlines for a registered political party that is not a qualified political party, deadlines for a qualified political party, the deadline for filing a declaration of candidacy, the deadline for submitting signature sheets to secure a nomination, and the deadline for a filing officer to verify signatures and issue certifications. It allows candidates to be on the ballot with their party affiliation. There is substantial risk if the Republican Party continues to ignore the direction of the state by creating bylaws to keep people off the ballot. In essence, this bill is a response to the recent decision by the Republican State Central Committee to deny party membership to anyone who seeks the signature route to nomination. This bill prevents a party (eg, the URP) from changing their status as a Qualified Political Party or their rules nor interfere with the order in the middle of an election. It also precludes withdrawing support for a candidate if they take a non-preferred route to nomination. Long term, the Utah Republican Party may be downgraded as a result of the committee decision from a QPP to an RPP (Registered Political Party), which would only allow signature-gathering to get candidates on the ballot. HB485 died in the Senate.
HB478 Occupational Licensing Revisions (sponsored by Representative E. Hutchings): This bill provides for an individual with a criminal conviction to apply to the Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing for a determination of whether their criminal history would disqualify them from receiving a specific occupational or professional license if the remaining requirements are met. HB478 also died in the Senate.
Senate Business and Labor Commitee
- HB382 Radiology Practitioner Amendments (sponsored by Representative R. Spendlove): This bill allows physical therapists to order the use of radiologic imaging. HB382 passed both houses and has been sent to the House Speaker for his signature.
- HB413 Pest Control Licensing Amendments (sponsored by Representative S. Chew): This bill modifies the requirements for obtaining a business registration certificate for a pesticide applicator business, requiring a certain level experience to professionally handle pesticides. HB413 is waiting to be signed by the governor.
- HB241 Post-Employment Restrictions Amendments (sponsored by Representative M. Schultz): This bill prohibits an employer and an employee from entering into a post-employment restrictive covenant if the employer's primary business is news media. It places restrictions on broadcasting companies in the use of abusive non-compete post-employment agreements for people that make under $47,500. If they make over $47,500, the non-compete can only be held for up to 1 year. In the event of an employer-initiated termination, any employment non-compete clause will not apply. According to the sponsor, the freedom of the press is fundamentally based on the freedom for the marketplace of ideas, not necessarily on protecting the corporations or corporate structure. HB241 is also waiting for the governor's signature.
With that, the legislature is going into it's 2018 interim period, and the committees will be meeting less frequently over the next few months. Both the Democrat and Republican parties have their neighborhood caucuses to select their convention delegates on March 20. It's a great place to go to be a part of the process. The delegates from both parties will then select their nominees for anyone who hasn't already qualified to be on the primary ballot by running signatures. There are still four petitions for referendums gathering signatures out there and a lot of candidates gathering signatures to run for office. For those of you considering running for office, you still have time to register as a candidate, or find a candidate you'd like to support.
Always in Service,
Sophia Hawes-Tingey is the Legislative Liaison for the Utah Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, the Co-Chair of the Business and Labor Committee of the Women’s State Legislative Council of Utah, a Member of the Board of Directors for the Transgender Inclusion Project and Utah Stonewall Democrats, the Vice Chair of the Community Council of Midvale, and co-founder of People Empowered, LLC. You can visit Sophia’s webpage at http://www.sophiahawes.com or follow her on Facebook and Twitter.