2011 General Session of the 59th Legislature

This week the Utah legislature received the February 2011 consensus revenue estimates. The new estimates show signs of recovery with a $25 million dollar-increase in one time funding for FY 2011 and a $47 million increase in ongoing funding for FY 2012. These new revenue estimates are a positive sign for the state of Utah. We will continue our efforts to put as little a burden on business as they attempt to get out of this recession and on a long-term path to recovery. Utah is the best-managed state in the Union because we cut prudently and spend wisely.These revenue projections bring the FY 2011 one-time funding to total of $31 million and ongoing funding for FY 2012 to $263 million dollars. Remember, the session began with a budget shortfall of $313 million dollars, which is one of the reasons why the legislature is cautiously optimistic about the new revenue projections. To put these numbers into perspective, $263 million dollars is about 2% of the states contribution to the budget and does not cover the $313 million dollar shortfall.

Highlights for Week 5: February 21 – 25

The legislature did not convene on Monday due to Presidents Day. On Tuesday, Senator Mike Lee visited the Capitol and spoke to the House about the issues he is working on in the US Senate including a balanced budget amendment, solving our crisis with the national debt, and fighting the effort to raise the debt ceiling.

On Friday, the House recognized the families of Utah soldiers who died in the service of our country this past year. Utah is grateful and will remember the sacrifice of the brave men who gave their life in our defense. The full remarks can be found here.

Some interesting facts about the session: Through Week 4, the Legislature is about average with the number of bills that have been introduced, with a total of 608. (That compares to 602 last year and 609 the year before.) The Utah legislature has passed a record number of bills, 127, during the first four weeks of this session. (That compares to 100 last year and 108 the year before.)

The House dedicated a lot of floor time this week to bills dealing with illegal immigration. Several bills dealing with illegal immigration have passed the House and are now on their way to the Senate, including HB 70, the Illegal Immigration Enforcement Act; HB 116, the Guest Worker Program Act; and HB 253, Employment of Unauthorized Aliens.

HB 19 Insurance Law Related Amendments
Sponsored by Rep. Jim Dunnigan(R –Taylorsville)
Addresses fees for captive insurance companies, grace periods for accident and health insurance policies and modifies provisions related to individuals, group, or blanket accident and health insurance coverage.

HB 48 Fingerprints of Juveniles
Sponsored by Rep. Jeremy Peterson (R –Ogden)
Requires fingerprints and photographs of juveniles to be taken and stored if admitted to a detention facility for an offense that would be a felony if committed by an adult.

HB 76 Federal Law Evaluation and Response
Sponsored by Rep. Ken Ivory (R –West Jordan)
Creates a Federalism Subcommittee within the Constitutional Defense Council to evaluate federal law, and makes recommendations to the governor to respond to federal law.

HB 77 Medical Assistance Accountability
Sponsored by Rep. David Clark (R –Santa Clara)
An inspector general of Medicaid services or director of Office of Internal Audit & Program Integrity will oversee the presiding officer in administrative appeal proceedings relating to Medicaid funds or services.

HB 78 Developer Fees
Sponsored by Rep. Mike Morley (R –Spanish Fork)
Requires a municipality or a county to establish a fee appeal process and enacts provisions related to a provider of culinary or secondary water that commits to provide a water service required by a public land use application.

HB 94 Income Tax Credit for Combat Related Death
Sponsored by Rep. Merlynn Newbold(R –South Jordan)
Provides a nonrefundable individual income tax credit for a combat related death.

HB 99 Motion Picture Incentive Amendments
Sponsored by Rep. Greg Hughes (R –Draper)
The Governor’s Office of Economic Development may issue tax credit certificates annually as incentives for motion picture productions and digital media projects within the state.

HB 106 Electronic Meetings Revisions
Sponsored by Rep. Brad Daw (R –Orem)
Established a pilot program for charter schools to conduct electronic meetings that establish time limits on the electronic meetings, prohibit closed meetings and provide a method for public notice/participation.

HB 115 Mechanics’ Liens Amendments
Sponsored by Rep. Mike Morley (R –Spanish Fork)
Establishes a procedure for perfecting and enforcing liens and provides for the priority of the liens. Also provides that a person who knowingly falsifies information for the purpose of obtaining priority of a preconstruction service lien is guilty of a misdemeanor.

HB 116 Guest Worker Program Act
Sponsored by Rep. Bill Wright(R –Holden)
Creates a Guest Worker Program which establishes eligibility criteria, application/renewal process, addresses English proficiency and creates an identification database.

HB 128 Health Reform Amendments
Sponsored by Rep. Jim Dunnigan (R – Taylorsville)
Requires the Health Data Authority to publish comparative data about physician and clinic quality by October 1, 2011. Requires group health benefit plans to have reasonable plan premium rates and to comply with standards established by the Insurance Department.

HB 143 Ballot Placement Amendments
Sponsored by Rep. Steve Eliason (R –Sandy)
Requires election officers to list candidates on the ballot for each office through random selection. The Lieutenant Governor needs to identify the order for listing candidates for the current year and the next year, and also exempts ballot order requirement for those running unopposed.

HB 152 School Community Councils Amendments
Sponsored by Rep. Bill Wright (R –Holden)
Requires an election for the parent or guardian members of a school community to extend for a period of at least three consecutive school days and begin no later than 30 days after the first day of the school year. Also requires a principal to provide notification of a school community council election at least 21 days before the beginning of an election.

HB 162 Pedestrians on Freeways
Sponsored by Rep. Lee Perry(R –Perry)
Prohibits a pedestrian from walking along or on a no access freeway facility except during an emergency.

HB 165 State Reimbursement for Required Medical Services Act
Sponsored by Rep. Chris Herrod (R –Provo)
Establishes what medical costs can be reimbursed, creates an application process to obtain reimbursement and requires the creation of a plan to assert or litigate an obligation by the federal government to repay the money reimbursed by the state.

HB 172 Service Animal Amendments
Sponsored by Rep.  Keith Grover(R –Provo)
This bills changes the definition of a “service animal” to follow the federal definition.

HB 173 Dedication and Abandonment of Public Highways
Sponsored by Rep. Kay McIff(R –Richfield)
Provides that dedication of a highway to the use of the public does not require an act of dedication, nor implied dedication by the property owner.

HB 174 Contracting for Medicaid Eligibility Determination Services
Sponsored by Rep. Wayne Harper (R –Layton)
Requires the study of the state’s eligibility determination system for Medicaid to determine whether consolidation of the system or privatization would create greater efficiencies.

HB 176 Audit of State Budgets
Sponsored by Rep. LaVar Christensen(R –Draper)
Requires the Office of Legislative Auditor General to audit entities in the executive branch as directed by the Legislative Audit Subcommittee.

HB 210 Animal Cruelty Amendments
Sponsored by Rep. Curt Oda (R –Clearfield)
Allows for the humane killing of feral animals in unincorporated areas of a county where hunting is not prohibited, if the person has a reasonable belief that the animal is a feral animal.

HB 183 School District Leave Policies
Sponsored by Rep. Keith Grover(R –Provo)
Prohibits a local school board from granting paid association leave for certain employee association or union duties.

HB 250 State Emblem of Service and Sacrifice
Sponsored by Rep. Merlynn Newbold (R –South Jordan)
Designates the “Honor and Remember” flag as the state’s emblem of service and sacrifice as a visible reminder of the lives lost by members of the United States Armed Forces in defense of our national freedoms.

HB 253 Employment of Unauthorized Aliens
Sponsored by Rep. Chris Herrod (R –Provo)
Enacts the Employment of Unauthorized Aliens Act, which prohibits the intentional employment of unauthorized aliens, and requires the certification of employment eligibility.

HB 256 Children’s Health Insurance and Medicaid Administrative Simplification
Sponsored by Rep. Jim Dunnigan (R –Taylorsville)
Requires the Department of Health to apply for grants to fund a simplified enrollment and renewal process for Medicaid, Utah Premium Partnership, and Primary Care Network Demonstration Project programs.

HB 259 County Recorder Revisions
Sponsored by Rep. Curt Webb (R –Logan)
Authorizes a county recorder to examine and receive a fee for recording documents.

HB 272 Indigent Defense Act Amendments
Sponsored by Rep. Kay McIff (R –Richfield)
Changes the definition of compelling reason and requires the court, when making a determination of indigence, to consider the reasonableness of fees/expenses charged by privately retained defense counsel.

HB 275 School district Division Amendments
Sponsored by Rep. Ken Sumsion (R –American Fork)
Requires a new district and remaining district to continue to impose for five years tax levies that were imposed by the divided school district if the property tax base per student of the new district is greater than the property tax base in the remaining district.

HB 305 Midterm Vacancies in Municipal Offices
Sponsored by Rep. Kraig Powell (R –Heber City)
Repeals a provision that prohibits a member of a municipal legislative body from participating in the process to fill a vacancy in the mayor position if that member is being considered to fill the vacancy.

HB 318 Money Management Act Amendments
Sponsored by Rep. Jim Bird (R –West Jordan)
Requires that fixed rate corporate obligations and variable rate securities be senior unsecured obligations of the issuer to be an allowable investment for public funds. Also extends the allowable remaining term to final maturity for certain first tier commercial paper to 365 days or less.

HB 324 HIV Testing of Alleged Sex Offenders
Sponsored by Rep. Richard Greenwood (R –Roy)
A defendant charged with a sex offense shall be tested for HIV upon the request of the victim. If the defendant is a minor charged with a sex offense, the minor shall be tested for HIV upon the request of the victim.

HB 331 Post-employment Benefits Amendments
Sponsored by Rep. John Dougall (R –American Fork)
Creates the Elected Official Post-Retirement Benefit Trust Fund for the purpose of investing the governor and legislator postemployment healthcare benefits.

HB 333 Unfair Inducements Related to Insurance Products
Sponsored by Rep. Jim Dunnigan (R –Taylorsville)
Prohibits inducements by a licensee/officer/employee of a licensee, and also lists activities that constitute or do not constitute a prohibited inducement.

HB 334 Family Expense Amendments
Sponsored by Rep. Stephen Sandstrom (R –Orem)
Allows a creditor to collect reasonable collection costs and attorney fees incurred in collecting a debt under the family expense stature.

HB 335 Military Survivors – Tuition Waiver
Sponsored by Rep. Mike Morley (R –Spanish Fork)
Provides that a Utah resident or nonresident dependent of a Utah resident or nonresident deceased member of the Utah National Guard may receive a higher education tuition waiver.

HB 336 Medical Professional Licensing During a Declared Emergency
Sponsored by Rep. Evan Vickers (R –Cedar City)
Authorizes the Department of Health to establish a protocol for the distribution of medicine in a national, state, or local emergency.

HB 375 Security Personnel Licensing Act Amendments
Sponsored by Rep. Ken Ivory (R –West Jordan)
Provides that a person holding a valid license as an armed private security officer may also function as an unarmed private security officer without the additional license.

HB 379 Nonjudicial Foreclosure of Trust Deeds
Sponsored by Rep. Curt Webb(R –Logan)
Modifies a provision containing requirements for a notice of default relating to a nonjudicial foreclosure of a trust deed and requires the notice of default to include specified information.

HB 399 Environmental Litigation Bond
Sponsored by Rep. Mike Noel(R –Kanab)
Requires a plaintiff receiving a preliminary injunction or administrative stay to post a bond, and requires an unsuccessful plaintiff to pay damages to defendants who are harmed by a preliminary injunction or administrative stay.

HB 440 Beer Tax Amendments
Sponsored by Rep. Val Peterson (R –Kanab)
Modifies formula to determine the amount of revenue collected from the beer tax to be deposited into the alcoholic Beverage Enforcement and Treatment Restricted Account.

HB 489 Housing Authority Application Process
Sponsored by Rep. Gage Froerer (R –Huntsville)
If there are two or more housing authorities established in a county of the first or second class, then those authorities shall create a uniform online application for their housing choice voucher program with links to each of the housing authorities within the county.

HR 1 House Rules Amendments Resolution
Sponsored by Rep. Jim Dunnigan (R –Taylorsville)
Any action taken by a standing committee while the House is in session is invalid unless properly authorized. Establishes conditions to move to the next agenda item, eliminates motions to postpone time certain or day certain items.

HCR7 Concurrent Resolution Supporting Public Policies That Promote Outdoor Activities for Children
Sponsored by Rep. Jack Draxler(R –North Logan)
This resolution expresses support for increased participation by children in outdoor activities and supports policies that promote outdoor activities for Utah’s children.

HCR16 Resolution Supporting Utah Highway Patrol Use of White Crosses as Roadside Memorial
Sponsored by Rep. Lee Perry(R –Perry)
Expresses continued support for the Utah Highway Patrol’s placement of white crosses, or other appropriate symbols as requested by the family of a deceased patrol officer, as memorials to highway patrol officers who have been killed in the line of duty.

SB 16 State Tax Commission Tax, Fee, or Charge Administrative and Collection Amendments
Sponsored by Rep. John Dougall(R –American Fork)
Renames the Sales and Use Tax Administrative Fees Account to the State Tax Commission Administrative Charge Account. It also addresses the frequency with which certain taxes, fees, or charges are required to be paid to the State Tax Commission.

SB 50 Enhanced Penalties for HIV Positive Offender Amendments
Sponsored by Rep. Brad Wilson (R –Kaysville)
An HIV positive person engaged in prostitution, patronizing a prostitute, or sexual solicitation, and who is HIV positive, is guilty of a third degree felony. A person who has tested HIV positive shall be notified of test results in person by a law enforcement agency, Department of Corrections, or Department of Health.

SB 58 Crime Victims Reparations Revisions
Sponsored by Rep. Brad Wilson (R –Kaysville)
Changes the name of the office to the Utah Office for Victims of Crime, modifies existing membership of the board to include a victim advocate, and defines the duties and functions of assistance officers.

SB 92 Private Security Services
Sponsored by Rep. Keith Grover (R –Provo)
Requires that law enforcement agencies establish a written policy regarding peace officers working as security officers while off-duty, including the issue of financial responsibility.

SB 101 Utah Uniform Securities Enforcement
Sponsored by Rep. Jim Bird (R –West Jordan)
Provides for criminal penalty enhancements and addresses an affirmative defense.

SB 110 Driver License Suspension Amendments
Sponsored by Rep. Curt Oda (R –Clearfield)
Points may not be assessed against a person’s driving record for traffic violations that occurred in another state on or after July 1, 2011.

SB 117 Community Association Act Amendments
Sponsored by Rep. Don Ipson (R –St. George)
Modifies a provision prohibiting a homeowner association’s governing documents from requiring an amendment to be approved by more than 67% of the voting interests.

SB 125 Property Tax Exemption Amendments
Sponsored by Rep. Patrick Painter(R –Nephi)
For the purpose of property tax exemption for property used exclusively for educational purposes, the definition of educational purposes now includes the physical/mental teaching, training or condition of competitive athletes by specified entities. Provides that a charter school is considered to be a school district.

SB 135 Department of Public Safety Duties Amendments
Sponsored by Rep. Eric Hutchings (R –Kearns)
Removes from the duties of the Department of Public Safety the requirement that it maintain a database of officers’ checks of driver licenses and state identification cards that includes the name, race, and gender of officer and person whose license was checked.

SB 136 Boating Amendments
Sponsored by Rep. Ronda Menlove (R –Garland)
Grants the Board of Parks and Recreation rulemaking authority to make rules establishing regulations for anchored, beached, moored, and abandoned vessels. Repeals requirement that a motorboat registration that has been revoked may not be renewed for one year and specifies the requirements for a motorboat registration to be renewed after revocation.

SB 142 Public Official Contact Information
Sponsored by Rep. Carl Wimmer (R – Herriman)
Requires a community council member to make public a telephone number and email address, if available, where the member can be reached. This information is public under the Government Records Access and Management Act.

SB 143 Judiciary Amendments
Sponsored by Rep. Kay McIff(R –Richfield)
Permits a person to be a candidate for more than one justice court judge office and requires an appointee or candidate to more than one justice court office to pay a filing fee for each office.

SJR 12 Joint Resolution – Immigration
Sponsored by Rep. Ryan Wilcox (R –Ogden)
Recognizes that the United States Congress presently has assumed authority to make immigration policy. Urges Utah’s congressional delegation to sponsor and support legislation to resolve the immigration policy issues facing the nation.

SCR 15 Delisting of Wolves Concurrent Resolution
Sponsored by Rep. Mike Noel(R –Kanab)
Urges the United States Congress to take action to maintain the integrity of the Endangered Species Act by exempting wolves from the act in every state and allow each state to protect its rural economies, game herds, livestock and pets.