Updated: Feb 23
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Week five was filled with lots of meetings, committees, 144 bills passed and plenty of snow. We are two weeks away from the end of the legislative session and still making significant progress. One bill I would like to highlight is H.B. 188 State Stone Designation, which would designate Honeycomb calcite as the state stone. Fun fact, this calcite is found in my district, Duchesne County! What an honor to present this piece of legislation on behalf of my constituents.
Utah Film Economic Incentives (My bill)
Did you know Footloose, The Sandlot and The Lone Ranger were filmed right here in Utah? Such films have led to other production opportunities to showcase Utah’s desert beauty and high alpine mountains. In 2019 the film industry generated more than 7,600 jobs and $147 million in salaries in our state. We are considering S.B. 167 Utah Film Economic Incentives, which would provide tax credit certificates for productions, films and series when they film in Utah. This bill would strengthen rural communities by investing in local jobs, stimulating the economy and increasing Utah’s profile as a filming destination. S.B. 167 passed in the Senate on its second reading. To listen to the bill presentation, click here.
Confinement of Egg-laying Hens
S.B. 147 Confinement of Egg-laying Hens, prohibits farm owners from confining egg-laying hens in enclosures that are not considered cage-free housings and sets January 1, 2025, as the self-imposed date to achieve cage-free hen environments in Utah. It also designates the Department of Agriculture and Food as the enforcer of the provisions in the bill. Large-scale egg producers worked with animal advocacy organizations on this legislation. S.B. 147 passed in the Senate and will now be considered in the House. To listen to the bill presentation, click here.
Designated Vehicle Routes Amendments
Several years ago, a law was passed that made some off-road vehicles street legal in resort communities. One of these communities, Moab, felt the impact as tourists in off-wheel vehicles created loud noises and disturbed residential communities. S.B. 168 Designated Vehicle Routes Amendments, aims to alleviate these issues without affecting tourism or the local economies by allowing resort communities to pass ordinances that restrict the use of a street-legal all-terrain vehicle on certain city-owned roads between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. To listen to the bill presentation, click here.
S.B. 195 Emergency Response Amendments, creates checks on executive powers during long-term emergencies without hindering rapid emergency response. This bill is a direct result of the concerns we heard from Utahns across the state and does not disrupt the executive branch’s, Utah Department of Health’s or local health agencies’ ability to respond to day-to-day emergencies, such as natural disasters. S.B. 195 creates checks and balances between the different branches of government as well as between state and local governments, including health departments during long-term emergencies. It also increases transparency and allows for public input.
Pharmacy Benefit Amendments
Utah has several health clinics that federally qualify for 340B drugs, a program that provides discounted medication. These small clinics across the state support diverse populations, low-income families and underserved areas. S.B. 140 Pharmacy Benefit Amendments, clarifies that clinics that qualify for 340B medications may bill the insurance company for the full price of 340B medication and capture the additional profit to improve their healthcare systems. S.B. 140 passed in the Senate with unanimous support. You can watch the floor presentation here.
COVID-19 Vaccines Now Available for those 65+
Last week, Gov. Cox announced that Utahns 65 and older now qualify for the COVID-19 vaccine. By vaccinating those 65 and older, we will drastically reduce our state’s COVID-19 fatalities. Learn more about Utah’s vaccine distribution plan here.
Senator Ron Winterton
Utah Senate District 26