Grass Roots
Committed to Promoting the Principles of Limited Government, Constitution, Representative Government,
Participatory Republic, Free Market Economy, Family and Separation of Powers

Legislative Updates - 9 February 2015

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Dear Friends:

First, here are some updates on bills mentioned in last week’s GrassRoots update:

HB54, “Public Education Increased Funding Program,” sponsored by Representative Draxler, was replaced by HB54Substitute, which would increase the income tax rate imposed on an individual's state taxable income from 5% to 5.5% (not as high as the increase to 6% proposed in the original HB54). HB54Substitute still would create the Pay for Performance Incentive Pay Program and the Digital Teaching and Learning Technology Program.

The revised Fiscal Note for HB54Substitute indicates that it would increase tax revenue by $107 million in FY2016 and by $430 million in FY2017.

HB54Substitute failed the House Education Committee 2-11 on February 2nd, and may be dead for the session.

GrassRoots still favors a “no” vote on HB54.

HB79, “Safety Belt Law Amendments,” sponsored by Representative Perry, was replaced by HB79 Substitute, which would still repeal the provision that provides that a state or local law enforcement officer may only enforce the safety belt restraint requirement as a secondary action in certain circumstances. This means that, under HB79Substitute, one could be “pulled over” for a seat belt violation. (Currently, those over 19 may only be cited for failure to wear a seat belt when being “pulled over” for something else.)

HB79Substitute passed the House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee 7-2 on February 6th, and awaits consideration by the full House of Representatives.

GrassRoots still favors a “no” vote on HB79Substitute.

SJR6, “Joint Resolution Urging Congress to Support Equity and Sales Tax Fairness,” sponsored by Senator Harper, would urge Congress to pass, without delay, federal legislation for the fair and constitutional collection of state and local sales and use taxes.

SJR6 passed the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee 4-0 on February 4th, and awaits consideration by the full Senate.

GrassRoots still favors a “no” vote on SJR6.

Here are some more bills that have caught our attention:

HB41Substitute, “Local Economic Development Amendments”, sponsored by Representative Snow and Senator Okerlund, would provide that community development project area plans are not subject to certain notice and public hearing requirements, if certain requirements are met, including that:

  • the community development and renewal agency and each taxing entity and public entity that will be affected by the tax increment incentive (special tax treatment) enter into an interlocal agreement; and
  • an industry or business entity receives a tax increment incentive (special tax treatment) only on a postperformance basis.

The apparent objective of this bill is to streamline/reduce the notice and public hearing requirements prerequisite to amending or adopting certain “community development project area plans” under which special tax treatment is given to (politically) favored businesses and industries.

HB41Substitute passed the House 62-7 on January 29th, and passed the Senate Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee 6-0 on February 3rd, and awaits consideration by the full Senate.

The proper role of government is not to favor politically connected businesses and industries in the marketplace, as happens with “tax increment incentives.” Some might call “tax increment incentives” an important part of “crony capitalism” wherein the “capitalists” with the best political connections are given the greatest advantages in the (manipulated) marketplace. HB41Substitute would appear to facilitate the creation of tax increment incentives. GrassRoots favors a “no” vote on HB41Substitute.

HB163, “Student Data Breach Requirements”, sponsored by Representative Knotwell, would require an “education entity” to “notify the parent or guardian of a student if there is a release of the student's personally identifiable student data due to a security breach.”

For the purposes of this bill, “education entity” means: (a) the State Board of Education; (b) a local school board or charter school governing board; (c) a school district; (d) a public school; or (e) the Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind.

HB163 passed House Education Committee 10-0 on February 4th, and awaits consideration by the full House of Representatives.

Where the government keeps confidential records on students, it should be respectful of the students’ privacy, and, where there is a security breach, the parents should be informed. GrassRoots favors a “yes” vote on HB163.

The next 2 bills relate to professional licensing requirements in Utah. We are usually against the imposition of licensing requirements by government. We believe that, subject to fundamental moral standards against fraud, theft, and other attacks on individual rights, the marketplace should be free from unwarranted regulations and invasions . . . and consenting individuals and groups should be free to associate and contract with one another as their own judgment indicates.

HB193, “Continuing Education for General Contractor Licensing”, sponsored by Representative Gibson, would end continuing education requirements for certain contractor licensees.

HB193 passed the House Business and Labor Committee 11-0 on February 4th, and awaits consideration by the full House of Representatives.

HB193 would be a welcome (even if small) loosening of government licensing requirements. GrassRoots favors a “yes” vote on HB193.

HB202, “Licensing of Midwives”, sponsored by Representative Moss, would make it “unlawful conduct for an individual who is not licensed under this chapter [the “Direct-entry Midwife Act”] to . . . fail to obtain from a client, prior to providing service to the client, the [required] informed consent form. . . .” The required “informed consent form” would have to:

  • state that: (a) “the individual is not licensed by the state”; (b) “the individual's education and qualifications have not been reviewed by the state”; (c) “the individual is not authorized to carry or administer prescription medications”; and (d) “the risk of harm or death to a mother or newborn may be greater because the individual is not licensed under this chapter”;
  • describe “the types of midwife licenses issued by the state and the minimum qualifications the state requires for an individual to obtain each type of midwife license”;
  • describe “the services the individual may legally provide to the client under state law”;
  • contain “a plan for transporting the client to the nearest hospital if a problem occurs during labor or childbirth”;
  • disclose “whether or not the individual is insured by an insurance policy that covers the practice of direct-entry midwifery”; and
  • be signed and dated by the client; or the client’s legal guardian.

The midwife would then be required to keep a copy of this consent form “for at least 10 years after the day on which the client gives birth.”

HB202 currently awaits consideration by the House Business and Labor Committee.

We believe that HB202 provides no more protection against fraud than is already provided by existing law. However, HB202 does create additional, unwarranted burdens for those who do not obtain a license from the state. GrassRoots favors a “no” vote on HB202.

If you have any questions about these bills, GrassRoots’ position on these bills, or related matters, please contact either of us or any other member of the Board of Utah GrassRoots.


Steve Stromness
Board Member, Bill Review Coordinator, Utah GrassRoots

Don Guymon
Chairman, Utah GrassRoots

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