The Highlights and Lowlights of the 2018 Legislative Session
Peggy Carrico
It was the usual roller coaster ride at the 2018 Utah Legislature.  At the end of 45 days and 821 numbered bills and resolutions,  a $17 billion budget was passed.  Our LWV Legislative Action Committee provided hundreds of hours of observation and reporting on committee meetings and sessions.   Here is a narrowed list of bills and resolutions the League followed this session and what happened.   
Representative Government
 
Bills we supported that passed:
  • HB141, Early Voting Amendments, (J. Westwood) legislation had required vote by mail counties to provide 8 days  in the 14 days prior to the election or none. Some counties chose to not offer early voting due to the cost. This amendment permits election officer to reduce early voting period to 4 days within 14 days of election.
  • HB218 S06, Amendments to Voter Registration, (R. Chavez-Houck), provides casting a provisional ballot on election, simplifies the process for an individual to register to vote when they apply for or renew their driver’s license or state identification, requires a county that conducts an election by absentee ballot to provide a certain number of polling places on the date of an election. 
  • HB281, Voter Eligibility Amendments, (J. Briscoe), Provides a 17 year old may register and vote in a primary election,  if they will be 18 on or before the date of general election.
  • HB355 S02, Municipal Alternatve Voting Methods Pilot Project, (M. Roberts) Creates pilot project for a municipality to conduct certain nonpartisan municipal races by instant runoff voting.
  • HCR12 S01, Concurrent Resolution Calling Upon Congress to Assure a Complete and Accurate 2020 Census, (R. Chavez-Houck) Directs congress to support adequate funding of the 2020 census]
  • HJR16 S03,  Joint Rules Resolution-Procedure Amendments, (J. Dunnigan), requires public posting of the number of bill files opened by each legislator 
  • SB74 S04, Voter Privacy Amendments, (K. Mayne) Removes day of birth from information available for release.
  • SB94 S02, Poll Watchers & Challenges to Voters, (M. Dayton). Codifies practice for poll watchers and challenges to voters. Bill had not been updated for twenty years.
  • SB137 S01, Amendments Relating to Government Records, (C. Bramble) Release of meeting records if in the public greater good.
  • SCR1 S03,  Concurrent Resolution Recommending Replacement of Statute of in United States Capitol, (T. Weiler), replaced statute with one of Martha Hughes Cannon.
Bills we supported that did not pass:
  • HB193, National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, (J. Peterson), provides that presidential electors are elected based on the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes nationally rather than the presidential candidate who receives the highest number of votes in the state
  • SB140, Limits on Political Campaign Contributions, (J. Dabakis), Corporations, Labor Organizations & PAC not make contributions >$100,000 to any one individual or organization, Individual may not make more than $50,000
Bills we opposed that passed:
  • SB234, Utah Inland Port Authority, (J. Stevenson) Takes authority away from Salt Lake City and creates development oversite committee.
Bills we opposed that failed:
  • HB471, Initiative Amendments, (B. Daw), Changes effective date to after next legislative session for any initiatives passed.
 
Social Policy
Bills we supported that passed:
    • HB12, Family Planning Services Amendments, (R. Ward), requires Medicaid program to reimburse providers separately for insertion of long-acting reversible contraception after childbirth; requires Division of Health Care Financing to apply for Medicaid waiver or state plan amendment to provide family planning services to certain low-income individuals.
    • HB42, Medicaid Waiver for Mental Health Crisis Services, (S. Eliason), Requires Department of Health to seek waiver to mental health crisis services.
    • HB139 S02, Telepsychiatric Consultation Amendments, (S. Eliason), Provides payment for telepsychiatric services addressing underserved areas.
    • HB293 S05, Tax Balancing Revisions, (G. Bradley), this compromise bill was worked out with Our Schools Now to increase funding for schools.
    • HB308 S01, Telehealth Mental Health Pilot Program, (K. Ivory), Requires Division of SA&MH to create a telehealth mental health pilot project grant program.
    • SB24, Local Government Indigent Defense Requirement (D. Thatcher), committee bill; requires local governments to include information regarding indigent legal defense of an indigent individual in ordinances with criminal penalties that include any possibility of imprisonment
    • SB119, Special Group License Plate Amendments,  (D. Henderson), creates a new recognition special group license plate to recognize and commemorate women’s suffrage.
    • SB162 S02, Intergenerational Poverty Matching - Education Savings Plan, (E. Vickers) Created Education Savings Matching Pilot Program to provide matching contributions to 529 accounts on behalf of children experiencing intergenerational poverty.
    • SB186 S01,Indigent Defense Amendments (T. Weiler / C. Hall), addresses membership, duties, powers of Utah Indigent Defense Commission.
    • SB205 S04, Incarceration Reports, (T. Weiler), Requires reports of in-custody death, treatment policies for withdrawal, medications not dispensed.
    • SCR3, Concurrent Resolution on the Importance of Civil Liberties for Students, (J. Dabakis) Encourages state institutions of higher education to defend the civil liberties of students and create an avenue of appeal
    • SCR11, Concurrent Resolution on Awareness and Treatment of Maternal Depression and Anxiety, (B. Zehnder), 
Bills we opposed that did not pass:
 
  • SB48, Medicaid Waiting Period Amendments, (A, Christansen), requires a five-year waiting period for legal immigrants to receive benefits through the Medicaid program or Children’s Health Insurance Program.
  • SB205 (S04), Down Syndrome Nondiscrimination Act, (K. Lisonbee), prohibits abortion of an unborn child because of Down syndrome
 
Bills we supported that did not pass:
 
  • SB47, Medicaid Expansion Amendments, (G. Davis), requires the Department of Health to amend the state Medicaid plan to expand Medicaid eligibility to the optional populations.
  • SB86, Victim Targeting Penalty Enhancements, (D. Thatcher), provides for an enhanced penalty for a criminal offense if the offender acted against an individual because of the offender’s perception of the individual's ancestry, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, national origin, race, religion, or sexual orientation
  • SB152 S01, Equal Compensation Study, (L. Escamilla) Requires Legislative Management Committee to procure creation of a study to analyze gender-based disparity.
  • SB213, Human Trafficking Prevention Training, (T. Weiler), Requires prevention course before issuance or renewal of a commercial driver license.
  • SJR9, Joint Resolution Ratifying the Equal Rites Amendment to the US Constitution, (J. Dabakis)
Bills we opposed that passed:
  • HB86 S01, Manslaughter Amendments, (M. McKell), expands the crime of manslaughter to include intentionally and knowingly providing another with the physical means to commit suicide, including a medical practitioner to knowingly provides a medication or procedure to aid an individual to commit suicide or attempt to commit suicide (Death with Dignity).
  • HB472, Medicaid Expansion Revisions, (R. Spendlove), Expands Medicaid but with limits if funding is exceeded, implements work requirement, defers responsibility to Department of Health
Natural Resources
Bills we supported that passed:
  • HB38, Fireworks Restrictions, (J. Dunnigan), amends dates when fireworks can be discharged, 2 days before an 1 day after July 4 and 24, and clarifies areas that may be prohibited.
  • HB101 S02, Air Quality Emissions Testing Amendments, (P. Arent), restricts authority of a county to exempt a motor vehicle from an emissions test.
  • HB331, Air Pollution Mitigation Education Program, (M. Kennedy/T. Weiler), Creates education program for ways to reduce air pollution form automobile
  • HB381 S01, Agricultural Water Optimization Fund, (T. Hawkes), Creates Agriculatural Water Optimatization Task Force
  • HCR7 S01, Concurrent Resolution on Environmental & Economic Stewardship, (R. Edwards), Encourages the responsible stewardship of natural resources and reduction of emissions through incentives and support of the growth in technologies and services that will enlarge the economy.
Bills we opposed that did not pass:
  • HB135 S02, Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Amendments, (M. Noel), removes cities ability to control water outside their city limits.
Bills we supported did not pass:
  • HB171 S01, Motor Vehicle Emission Amendments, (A. Romero), Requires reporting and defines fines for repeat offenders of emission standards.
  • HB211, Freight Switcher Emissions Mitigation (S. Handy/T. Weiler) Creates grants for the reduction of freight switcher locomotive emissions.
  • HB479, Zero Emission Vehicle Program (S. Eliason) Develop promotion program for zero emission vehicle
  • HCR1 S02, Concurrent Resolution on Global Warming and Climate Change, (R. Ward), acknowledges that average global temperature and average Utah temperature have increased substantially over recent decades, and that scientific consensus is that a substantial cause for these increases is human-caused emissions; and commits that the Legislature and Governor will base decisions regarding state energy policies on the best scientific evidence available and urges individuals and corporations to conserve energy
  • HCR9 S01, Concurrent Resolution Supporting Rural Development of Wind, Solar, and Geothermal Energy, (P. Arent) 
  • SB204 S02, Secondary Water Metering Requirements, (J. Anderegg) Requires meters for new service after 1/1/2020 and phases in others.
Bills we opposed that passed:
  • HB169 S01, Commercial Waste Fee Amendments, (J. Knotwell) Reduces annual fee paid for radio active waste treatment - a big savings for Energy Solutions