Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We just completed week five of the 2022 Legislative Session! 160 bills have been passed by both the Senate and the House. I look forward to reviewing and discussing additional legislation during the two weeks we have left of this year’s session. It is an honor to represent you, please continue to reach out with your feedback and concerns!
Another busy week at the Capitol! It was an exciting week as S.B. 49, State Film
Production Incentives Amendments passed in the Senate and is now in the House for
further consideration. This week I presented SCR8 to a group for Agriculture Day at the
Capitol. We were able to talk about the important work of the agriculture industry. I also met with many students this week. Students visited from Heber, Roosevelt, Vernal, and Duchesne. This week high schoolers from the Utah All-State High School Art Show came and displayed their work. One of my constituents, Ethan Rude, was honored. I saw his great artistic talent. He also joined me on the Senate floor for a few minutes.
Senate Art Scholarships
Every year, high school students across the state submit artwork to the Utah All-State High School Art Show. This year, the Utah Senate awarded scholarships, made possible by generous donors, to six students who excelled in the competition. On Thursday, we recognized the Senate scholarship recipients and other participants on the Senate floor. I was amazed by these students’ wonderful talent, especially at such a young age. You can view a virtual gallery of the submissions here.
Utah’s Gold Star Families
Every general session, we take a few minutes to honor Utahns who paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country and the loved ones they left behind. It is a selfless act to leave the comforts and freedoms we enjoy in Utah to step into harm’s way in defense of the oppressed in foreign lands and in preservation of the liberties we hold dear. It is only fitting that we pay tribute to the best of us who chose to honorably serve. I express my heartfelt sympathies to these Gold Star Families and pray for all our military. Listen to the citation that was read on the Senate floor here.
On Monday, we read a citation on the Senate floor honoring the Utah Highway Patrol. From floor time to committee meetings, troopers can be found in every corner of the Utah Capitol complex, protecting elected officials, staff and the public. They’ve countered threats, de-escalated volatile confrontations and maintained order. They serve across the state, working long hours, responding to life-threatening incidents and keeping Utah safe. Listen to the citation here.
2022 Mother of the Year
On Valentine’s Day, we had the privilege of honoring the 2022 Utah Mother of the Year, Brigham City’s Nancy Kennedy. Born and raised in Utah, Nancy was brought up in a service and community-minded family. She graduated from USU, served an LDS mission in Spain and was a wildland firefighter. While raising her five kids, Nancy was a teacher at various levels, including at USU and Bridgerland Technical College, and was a monthly presenter on KSL’s Studio 5 cooking show. Nancy is not a stranger to the Capitol. Nancy’s father, Dale Stratford, served in both the Utah House and Senate. Watch her being honored on the Senate floor here.
5A State Football Champions
The Lehi High School Football Team joined us on Wednesday and were honored for their remarkable achievement as the 2021 5A state champions. Along with their athletic accomplishments, the team was also honored for their academic success and commitment to service in their community. Listen to the citation here.
The Utah Taxpayer Association recently celebrated 100 years of serving Utahns. Founded in 1922, they diligently strive to achieve three major goals: fair and low taxes, prudent and transparent spending and keeping businesses from high government intervention. I am grateful for the organization’s continued efforts to increase awareness and participation in the taxation process. Learn more about their organization here and watch the citation here.
Tinted Vehicle Windows
Utah restricts window tints at a higher threshold than surrounding states. Over the years, law enforcement stakeholders have been hesitant to change these restrictions out of concern for officer safety. The Utah Highway Patrol alone pulls over thousands of motorists every month, and troopers value their ability to see the interior of a vehicle as they approach.
S.B. 149 Tinted Vehicle Windows Amendments is a compromise with law enforcement stakeholders to bring Utah closer to tint restrictions in other states without endangering officer safety. S.B. 149 passed in the Senate Business and Labor Committee and will now be heard on the Senate floor. Listen to the committee presentation here.
Utah has strict laws regulating telephone solicitation in the state. However, some areas need clarification. A common solicitation call many Utahns experience is someone interested in buying that person’s home. H.B. 217 Telephone Solicitation Amendments adds this type of call to those prohibited for Utahns on the do-not-call list. The bill also stipulates that a local company is breaking the law if it hires an international call center to call Utahns on the do-not-call list. H.B. 217 also clarifies that each illegal solicitation phone call is a separate violation in Utah. H.B. 217 passed in the House and on its second reading in the Senate. Watch the bill presentation on the Senate floor here.
Business Tax Amendments
For most businesses in Utah, certain business supplies are exempt from personal property tax to protect consumers from paying double taxes. When a bakery purchases ingredients such as flour, sugar, eggs, etc, the items are exempt from sales tax, but the cake that is sold is taxed. This ensures the cake is taxed once, not twice to avoid double taxation. Some businesses in Utah are still incurring a double tax, which ultimately, results in the consumer being double taxed. S.B. 93 Business Tax Amendments seeks to remedy this by exempting certain supplies and property used in a service business from incurring specific taxes. This practice is already standard for many businesses. S.B. 93 Business Tax Amendments passed the Senate and is with the House. You can listen to the senate discussion here.
Housing and Transit Reinvestment Zone Amendments
With Utah being one of the fastest-growing states in the nation, we need to innovatively integrate our housing and transportation. S.B. 140 Housing and Transit Reinvestment Zone Amendments, among other efforts, will allow housing and transit reinvestment zones around light rail and bus rapid transit facilities. This expands on legislation from previous years, which supported housing development around frontrunner stations. This bill will help communities tackle population growth challenges by expanding housing opportunities and maximizing transportation infrastructure. S.B. 140 passed in the Senate and will now be considered by the House. Listen to the Senate floor presentation here.
As a Legislature, we are committed to improving the community living experience for Utah homeowners. We regularly work with HOA residents and HOA management companies to update community association regulations. S.B. 152 Community Association Regulation Amendments continues this work by prohibiting an HOA a from restricting a homeowner from:
Displaying a religious or holiday decoration
Displaying a for-sale sign
Using less water on lawns during a drought
Installing or using electric vehicle charging systems in certain areas
Installing a solar energy system in certain situations.
Utah is leading the nation in economic performance and continues to exceed expectations. Though Utah’s economy is strong, there are significant factors, including decreased federal stimulus money, that may offset revenue gains.
Fiscally conservative policies and forward-thinking rainy-day funds enabled us to successfully navigate economic uncertainties, provide a $193 million tax cut and continue to fund education and social services at historic levels.
Updated budget estimates are $617 million in one-time and $429 million in ongoing money in the general fund, and $1.68 billion one-time and $1.07 billion ongoing in the education fund. Our strong economy is the reason for the increase in revenue though there is still economic uncertainty. As we work to balance the budget, I am committed to making smart financial decisions for our state that will benefit Utahns long-term.
Senator Ron Winterton
Utah Senate District 26