Lacey Smith

Analysis of Selected House Bills

In Politics, Uncategorized on February 10, 2014 at 11:18 am

Utah’s Legislature is in full swing. To help you get involved, there will be two (or more) posts analyzing selected House and Senate bills with a short summary and a position (strongly oppose to strongly support). If one of these issues concerns you, please contact your legislator and talk to them about it. You can find out who your legislature is by visiting the Utah State Legislative District Map site.

Here are the selected House Bills:

Bill No Bill Title Analysis Position
12 Consumer Credit Protection Amend This bill is not inherently controversial. While it may interfere with free market principles, this bill protects a customer’s right to receive a service they pay for. Neutral
23 Suicide Prevention Revisions This bill allows for school officials to ask students regarding their mental health and take suicide prevention measures. While this law is largely already on the books, this bill strengthens the school power without adding to the requirements to report to parents. This is a potential parent rights concern. Neutral w/Reservations
31 Pollution Control Amend While we generally oppose any bill that attempts to use taxation as a method to incentivize certain behaviors, this adjusts current tax exemptions without adding new incentivize behaviors Support w/Reservations
12 Consumer Credit Protection Amend This bill is not inherently controversial. While it may interfere with free market principles, this is feel-good legislation that makes a relatively adjustment to an already regulated industry. This protects a customer’s right to receive a service they pay for. Neutral
55 Income Tax Credit for Purchase of Transit Pass This legislation incentivizes and rewards certain actions, thus using government as a tool to influence behavior. This is outside the scope of good government. Moreover, this legislation provides inconsistent measures to activate the credit. Oppose
63 Recall Election Amend Citizens should have the ability to recall their elected officials, including “high level” state officials. Support
67 Political Subdivision Amend Bill requires the state to defend local law enforcement against federal legal action and expands local jurisdiction to national parks and monuments Strongly Support
70 Forcible Entry Amend This legislation provides additional guidance to law enforcement while serving warrants and requires additional diligence of judges when issuing warrants Strongly Support
73 Living Wage Amend This bill attempts to increase the state minimum wage to $10.25 for most workers ($3.13 for tipped employees) and requires an annual increase. This has the potential to be devastating for small businesses and for those working in low-income unskilled positions. Strongly Oppose
74 Energy Efficient Vehicle Tax Credits This legislation incentivizes and rewards certain actions, thus using government as a tool to influence behavior. This is outside the scope of good government. We would like to see this entire legislation appealed. In absence of that, this law should not be expanded, which this bill does Oppose
77 Tax Credit for Home-schooling parents Because Utah’s income tax is used for public education, this allows families who do not attend public schools to recover some of the money they pay into a system they do not use. Support
78 Marriage Defense Fund Although we support the defense of Utah’s marriage amendment as a necessary part of the jobs of Utah’s elected officials and we support the use of private funds to do so, there are provisions of this legislation that are problematic, including a marketing account to promote the fund which cause us to oppose the bill. Oppose w/reservations
80 Speed Limit Amend This legislation opens up the state to speed limits above 75 mph without the specified geographical limitations Support
81 Parental Review of Statewide Summative Test Questions This legislation allows parents to review summative tests prior to the tests being administered. Parents should always have the ability to review the material their children are being taught and tested upon, including the test itself. With the concerns over Common Core language and testing, this legislation is even more important than it has been previously Strongly Support
87 Gender Amend Most of this bill is fairly innocuous as it changes the term “sex” to “gender” in multiple parts of Utah code. However, Part 15 (beginning at line 882) is extremely troublesome, requiring public schools to allow students to use segregated bathrooms based on student’s own opinion of their “gender identity”. Strongly Oppose
90 Women in the Economy Commission This bill creates a commission to “study” the impacts and importance of and challenges faced by women in the Utah economy. Unless there is established and demonstrable need for this commission, it is simply an unnecessary expenditure that represents government waste. Oppose w/reservations
91 Open Public Meeting Act Revisions Expands provisions of the Public Meeting Act to public committees which includes elected officials. We always support measures that increase sunshine in government meetings Support
93 Property Tax Assesment Amend This bill requires a county assessor to consider “diminished productive value” in determining the fair market value of property. Support
96 Utah School Readiness Initative This bill is all around a bad bill with numerous issues. First, this bill would divert funds away from our public schools, which are already considered to be underfunded. Second, this bill will create an additional board (more government bureaucracy and more government expense). The fiscal note estimates that there will be $5 million in costs because of this bill. Third, this bill “singles out” a special population of children to provide services. Fourth, this bill may create a duplicate program as there are already Head Start programs available and these Head Start programs have questionable success rates. There is no proven record of success for similar early intervention programs. Fifth, this bill tracks each individual student and records their performance over the long term, which we oppose as we oppose all expanded student data collection measures Strongly Oppose
115 Condominium and Community Association Lien Amend This law makes changes to lien requirements increasing requirements for a lien filer to include the phone number along with their name and address. This is a good change as it adds to the qualifications to allow someone who has a lien filed agains them to “face their accuser”. Support
202 Weapons Restriction Amend This bill prohibits anyone who has been civilly committed to a mental institution from owning a handgun. While there are concerns about gun ownership and usage and mental health, there are equally compelling constitutional issues and logistical concerns with this legislation. Oppose
212 DNA Collection Amend This legislation requires law enforcement to collect DNA from anyone who has been arrested of a felony offense. This bill violates the “presumed innocence” standard and also raises privacy concerns. Strongly Oppose
218 Tax Credit for Working Individuals and Families This bill creates a Utah Earned Income Tax Credit equal to 5% of the federal credit. Support
225 Primary Law Enforcement Duties for Sheriffs This bill establishes that the sheriff is the primary law enforcement officer on federal land in Utah Strongly Support
231 Marriage Modifications Reaffirms the right of clergy in the state of Utah to decline solemnizing a marriage if it is against the tenents of their religion Strongly Support
239 Front-line Teachers Data Program While we generally oppose any bill that requires collecting data on school students, this data is fairly limited in scope and non student-specific. This data includes a schools average class size, average daily attendance and how many teachers are assigned to teach each: kindergarten, elementary, secondary and special ed courses. Neutral
240 Motor and Special Fuel Tax Increase Amend This bill increases fuel tax by 7.5 cents on gasoline and 3.5 cents on compressed and liquified natural gas over the next four years. We oppose all tax increases Strongly Oppose
244 Voting and Voter Registration Amend Requires citizens to prove their citizenship before voting. While we strongly support vote identification laws, this law presumes that voters are guilty attempting to commit voter fraud and that they have to prove their eligibility to vote as a citizen of the U.S. The requirements are onerous and may inhibit people from voting. Oppose
252 Absentee Ballot Amend Repeals a section of code that allows elections to be conducted strictly by absentee balloting. Neutral
276 Disorderly Conduct Amend Clarifies that simply carrying a weapon is not disorderly conduct Strongly Support

Three additional bills (25, 61 and 68) are of interest to us. However, additional research (and therefore time) are needed.

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