Sunday, March 06, 2011

2011 Legislative Session (Week 6 Udpate)

Well, the week six may be redundant for all of you who are actively following the session through your local newspaper. Most of the issues we were dealing with in week six were covered extensively in the press….especially that little old lady GRAMA. So, lets launch right in to it.

Well she (GRAMA) dominated headlines this week as the Legislature looks to curtail “fishing expeditions” of public records by allowing for greater ability to charge for access to public records, and also deals with what constitutes a record…to exclude text messages and instate messaging. The reform quickly passed both the House and Senate and now sits on the Governor’s desk for signature. It was unveiled late last week and was passed in about 3 days. I think it is safe to say that the legislature is tired of the unwarranted voluminous GRAMA requests that are being made to both state and local governments.


After a long Friday evening the immigration discussion is finally starting to come together. It looks like the omnibus bill approach is likely as Sen. Bramble’s bill now contains elements of several house bills. The house debated Rep. Wright’s guest worker bill late in to Friday evening and passed it over to the Senate for consideration. The final week will be huge as the final pieces come together on immigration, but it looks like a guest worker program with a much-modified enforcement bill will be the net result of this year’s debate.

FILM ENTERPRISE ZONE (undoing local zoning)

This issues should have been dead twice, but nothing in the legislature is dead until the clock strikes midnight on the last day of the session. While we thought we had the bill dealt with in committee last week, it was successfully “lifted from the grave” and placed on the Senate reading calendar for additional consideration. We will continue to explain to the Senate our concerns regarding the provisions that allow for the disregard of local land use control to allow for a “film enterprise zone”. This is a huge issue for local governments, and it appears it will come down to the wire in the Senate. We will keep you updated on its fate/progress.

Well that about does it for the highlights. We will be providing daily updates for the last four days as the budget discussions start to come together and we have a better handle on the outlook for the 2011-12 state budget.

Hope all is well…only four days left.

Your ULCT Lobby Team

Saturday, March 05, 2011

2011 Legislative Session (Week 5 Udpate)

Week 5 Update
Utah League of Cities and Towns

While week five was fairly anti-climactic, the beginning of week six started with a bang.

Quickly to week five, we spent most of week five negotiating on issues that are to be discussed during this week. Two major issues, billboards and the ongoing saga of Salt Lake County issues were resolved to our liking during week five and were heard first thing Monday morning. On billboards, we successfully punted the contentious issues to the interim, where we will be discussing billboard illumination standards. In addition we were able to work with the interested parties to resolve disputes with the ReAL Salt Lake sign and Maverik Center sign… all in all a successful conclusion.

On the SL County issues, we discussed these during the last update (See week 4 update at and those bill were handled as described in that update.

Lastly, Jodi and I were able to successfully draft and amend the bill dealing with our regulatory authority over the use of knives. The bill will have an amendment drafted to allow us to use our criminal code to regulate and prosecute crimes that are committed where a knife is involved. Again another win for us.

Like I said, most of the fire is to come in week six and seven.

Because one of our cohorts did such a great job on his update (thanks Wilf Sommerkorn of SLC) I have taken the liberty to include his summary of some key land use bills that were discussed during Monday’s deliberation.

An eventful day for land use bills Monday.

SB243 on historic districts was substituted, then failed to pass out of committee on a tie vote, not sure what happens next with this.

Another boxcar gains language, SB293, which makes some modifications to the MIDA law, primarily over annexation procedures

SB231 on the film studio enterprise zone, was not voted on in committee yesterday due to procedural issues, but did have its hearing and will be voted on in committee this afternoon. Link to a news story below:

HB487 was amended (much better, thanks Jodi!) and voted out of committee favorably yesterday

I hope this update finds you all well.

Your ULCT Lobby Team