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2022 Session - Week 2

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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Week 2 of the legislative session was both busy and exciting. We were able to pass a tax cut for Utahns, discuss important topics, and recognize some incredible people. I am honored to represent you and appreciate all your efforts to reach out and be involved in our state’s government.

Below you will find a description of important things that happened in the Senate during the past week.

Utah Senate Passes More Than $160 Million Income Tax Cut or Utahns

On Friday, we passed more than a $160 million tax cut for all Utahns. S.B. 59 State Income Tax Rate Reduction reduces the income tax from 4.95% to 4.85%. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we've pushed for less restrictions on businesses, creating an environment for Utah’s economy to thrive. The state’s strong economy makes it possible for the Legislature to cut taxes for the second year in a row. Because of conservative, fiscally sound policy, in addition to a tax cut, our state is also funding education and social services at a record high. By cutting income tax, we are helping ensure Utah remains a great place to live, work and raise a family. S.B. 59 passed in the Senate and will now be considered in the House. Learn more about the tax cut here. Watch the bill’s presentation on the Senate floor here.

In the News

  • For 14 years running, Utah has been ranked with the best economic outlook. This does not happen by chance. Read more about why in the National Review here.

  • Utah is one of only four states that recovered all the jobs lost at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more about this in a Wall Street Journal article here.

Base Budget Bills

As a Legislature, our Constitutional responsibility is to pass a balanced budget before the close of the General Legislative Session. It is a responsibility we take seriously. As such, we spend the first few weeks of the session meeting in appropriations subcommittees to consider how we allocate money in each area, such as public education, social services and transportation.

Eight appropriations subcommittees prepare base budgets for their assigned subject area over the first couple of weeks of the session. These subcommittee base budgets are passed in the early weeks of the session, which allows the state to continue functioning at a basic level. This prevents the state government from shutting down. Then, typically during the final week of the session, we pass what is known as the “Bill of Bills,” which is the comprehensive budget bill that includes additional appropriations not included in the base budgets. You can learn more about the state’s budget here.

Nurse Apprenticeship Licensing Act

In 2020, in response to pressures on our healthcare systems, the state created a temporary nurse apprenticeship licensing program to increase the number of working medical professionals and give students a valuable introduction to their profession. This program allows nursing students who are in their final semester of an accredited program, are in good standing with their program and have permission from the program to begin working under the supervision of certain licensed professionals. S.B. 101 Nurse Apprentice Licensing Act makes the temporary nurse apprenticeship licensing program permanent. The Senate Health and Human Services Committee favorably recommended the bill, and it will now be considered by the full Senate. Listen to the committee discussion here.

​​Firearm Preemption Amendments

Our most important duty as legislators is to preserve freedoms, including the freedom to bear arms without unnecessary government interference. Utah code prohibits cities and counties from imposing regulations on the ownership, possession, purchase, transfer or transport of a gun. However, in recent years, local governments have attempted to exploit loopholes in state law to regulate firearms. S.B.115 Firearm Preemption Amendments clarifies that local governments do not have the authority to regulate firearms and protects citizens from local government gun regulations that contradict state law. This bill also provides civil action and remedies for violating legislative firearm preemption. The Senate Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Committee favorably recommended the bill, and it will now be considered by the full Senate.

Traffic Fine Amendments

The purpose of traffic citations should be to increase road safety and compliance with safety regulations, not to increase local government revenue. S.B.75 Fine Amendments removes the monetary incentive for giving out an excessive number of fines by putting a cap on the portion of a city’s budget that can come from traffic violation fines.

The intent of the bill is to prevent abuses in the legal system, not decrease city revenue. S.B. 75 states that revenue from traffic fines may not exceed 25% of a local government's total general fund revenue. Currently, very few Utah cities meet that criteria. The Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee favorably recommended the bill, and it will now be considered by the Senate. Listen to the committee discussion here.

Electric Assisted Bicycle Use Amendments

Most cities and counties restrict motorcycle travel on trails designated for bicycles and foot-traffic only. Occasionally, electric-assisted bicycles are categorized with motorcycles or other off-highway vehicles and are restricted on trails open to other mountain bikes. S.B. 66 Electric Assisted Bicycle Use Amendments clarifies which electric bikes can be considered electric mountain bikes and which should be considered off-highway vehicles. S.B. 66 passed in the Senate Transportation, Public Utilities, Energy and Technology Committee and will soon be considered on the Senate floor. Listen to the committee presentation here.

Trespass Penalty Amendments

While the number of trespassing violations has decreased in Utah over the last few years, the Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Interim Committee found a discrepancy in state trespass law. A trespasser who damages Utah state property can be fined up to three times the actual cost of the damage, while a violation on private property is fined at a much lower rate.

S.B. 68 Trespass Penalty Amendments would change private property violations to match the statutory damages on state lands. S.B. 68 passed unanimously in the Senate and will now be considered in the House. Watch the bill’s presentation on the Senate floor here.