Tuesday, February 22, 2011

2011 Session -- Week One

ULCT Week One Legislative Highlights and Recap (2011)

It was a very successful first week of the 2011 session for the ULCT. In addition to a great Local Officials’ Day Event, where over 750 local officials and youth city council members visited the capitol and met with their legislators, we were largely successful on all major issues that were being debated in standing committees and on the floor. Here is a quick recap of this week’s highlights.


· This week two of the major election modification bills (SB14 and SB18) passed out of the Senate and are on their way to the house. Both bills deal with the technical aspects of administering an election. The first bill allows for the cancellation of an election if the election is uncontested. There are still some minor “tweaks” that need to be made to SB14 to address timing concerns expressed by clerks and recorders, but the ULCT has been in contact with the sponsor and the Lt. Governors office and coordinated those changes to be made in the House. The second bill deals with contracting for election services and specifies that contracts for election administration must be cost based. This bill doesn’t appear to be of any major concern and should run smoothly.

Due to the departure of Rep. Frank, the bill dealing with moving the election dates for certain elections has been transferred to Sen. Hillyard for sponsorship. The ULCT will be working with Sen. Hillyard to ensure any change in election dates does not affect municipal elections.


· HB197 -- Regulation of Temporary Signs – The ULCT worked all week with the interested parties on this bill and it appears that it will likely be addressed during the interim where greater consideration to the nuances of regulation of speech/signage can be addressed. The bill was scheduled for a committee hearing during the first week, but was pulled from the agenda while we continue to work with the sponsor on the bill.

· HB78 -- Development Fees – This bill likely needs to be discussed with everyone. It appears there is some confusion over what the anticipated practical effect of this bill would be. The ULCT will be working with the sponsor to address the concerns that have been expressed about the potential negative impact to the current development fee structure.


· HR1 – 2/3rd vote on a tax or fee increase. This bill was successfully defeated in committee this week on a 7-7 vote. Because of the close nature of the vote, there may be some chance that the bill would come back for consideration. We will be keeping a close eye on this one to make sure it “stays in the grave”

· Energy Tax for Counties – It appears that SL County has found a sponsor for their energy tax authorization bill. This bill was strongly opposed by the policy committee and we will be working to ensure its defeat. We have already met with the sponsor, Sen. Jerry Stevenson and will be working with him to ensure our position is understood and addressed. In addition, this bill is being run while two other bills are being run to limit the county’s ability to impose the police fee. We will also be watching those bills to ensure that they don’t get amended to provide the energy tax as the alternative funding source for the police fee.


· HB70 -- Rep. Sandstrom’s bill is now public and available for review. It has not yet received the fiscal note, but will soon be given one and then sent to the committee for consideration. The bill has been amended a good deal since the original concept was aired, but it appears the agreement on an immigration policy is far from done. We will be watching this one closely as it is prepared for committee consideration.


· While some alcohol bills have been heard in committee (HB42), the major alcohol bill, Sen. Valentine’s bill, is still being prepared for committee consideration. We have been working diligently behind the scenes to aid in the creation and promotion of this bill. The one component of the bill that is still fairly controversial is the concept of allowing for the monetization and private sell of one’s license. This provision is still being debated heavily. We likely need to discuss our strategy on how to deal with this aspect of the bill.

Spice Ban

· HB23 --The spice ban bill was also debated in committee this week and passed out with a favorable recommendation. It appears that this bill is well on its way to passage.

Well that sums up some of the major topics for week one. As more unfolds, we will provide additional updates.

We hope this finds you well, and hope you have successfully survived the first week of the 2011 session.