Monday, February 15, 2010

Half Way There

So, we are officially half way through the 2010 session and we are faring very well. Here is a quick recap of several major items.

  • Billboards: All "anti-regulation" legislation affecting billboards has been successfully shelved for 2010. We intend to work on these issues extensively through out the summer.
  • Eminent Domain: There has only been one major eminent domain bill that is making progress this year. All other bills have been successfully sidelined. The one bill, SB81 has been amended substantially. What originally started as a bill that would allow for prevailing party attorneys fees in condemnation cases has now morphed into a bill that facilitates condemnation settlement by allowing both parties to submit preferred offers and only if the courts determine that a settlement is outside of the range of both offers is there liability for attorney's fees. In those circumstances, fees are capped at $50K.
  • Anti-Trust: Our proactive bill to clarify the municipal exemption from anti-trust litigation is moving well. Is is scheduled to come out of committee and go before the Senate this week. No major road blocks are foreseen.
  • Retirement: The two major retirement bills, SB43 and SB63, have both passed out of committee favorably. The first, SB43, restricts "double-dipping", whereas the second makes major cost-saving changes to the current retirement system by changing the benefit structure for new employees hired after July 2011. Both are now before the Senate and we anticipate passage of both.
  • Land-Use/Impact Fees: We have fared very well this year on this front, successfully amending or stopping bills that would hamper our cities ability to regulate land use or utilize impact fees
  • Water: It has been a fairly quiet year for water bills this year. Our only major bill, which allows for a municipal/domestic preference in water rights during times of shortage is scheduled for committee this week and should go well. It was slow out of the gate so we will be sure to keep a close eye on this bill and keep you apprised of any changes.
So, what to expect for this week. It is a huge week this week, as budget numbers come out on Wednesday and will largely shape the remainder of the session. As soon as they are out we will let you know what they look like.

Please contact the ULCT with any questions you may have on local government issues (

Your ULCT Lobby Team

Friday, February 05, 2010

2 Weeks Down and Major Progress Made

So we are two weeks in to the 2010 legislative session in Utah and things are going well for municipal government. Here is a quick recap of some of the major events for week 2.

  1. We have come to terms on HB102 Impact Fee Amendments. With a substantial substitution the bill is a major improvement on the original. We have maintained the integrity of impact fees for school facilities and have simply provided for a mechanism for appropriate credits toward impact fees for improvements made by school districts. -- MAJOR WIN FOR US
  2. We have a settlement on all four pieces of billboard legislation. All of the legislation was aimed at limiting a cities ability to regulate billboards. We successfully negotiated to stop all legislation regarding billboards in the 2010 session and force them to interim study during the 2011 interim period
  3. Housing Regulation -- Several of our cities had concerns with a state preemption on housing regulation and interactions between landlords and renters. We have successfully amended the bill to create a baseline standard for "Fit Premises" and have still allowed for local autonomy to create additional local ordinances governing fit premise.
  4. Eminent Domain -- We are still negotiating on major eminent domain legislation that would award prevailing parties attorneys fees to litigants in certain circumstances. Hopefully we will have this issue resolved this week.

So, as you can tell from the quick and dirty breakdown, we had a great week. Thanks for all of the support of our member cities.

For more information please feel free to call.


Your ULCT Lobby Team

Utah League of Cities and Towns