SENATOR SANDALL: WEEK FIVE OF OUR LEGISLATIVE SESSION

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

With Week 5 of the 2020 Legislative Session over, we are now more than two-thirds of the way done! We have passed a total of 156 bills and they just keep on coming. With than many bills, it can be easy to lose track. Click here to learn more about what has passed and what is still in the works. There are even tools that will help you track a bill’s progress from start to finish. I greatly appreciate the input that you provide. If you have questions or concerns about bills that you see, make sure you contact me and tell me what’s on your mind.

This is my friend and colleague Representative Patrice Arent
Safe Haven

Almost 20 years ago, Representative Patrice Arent sponsored a “Safe Haven” bill allowing a birth mother to anonymously relinquish a newborn baby within 72 hours of birth. Since this law passed, at least 42 babies have been saved. Earlier this session Representative Arent reached out and asked if I would be the floor sponsor for her bill,  H.B. 97Newborn Safe Haven Amendments. I was so flattered by the opportunity and have been genuinely honored to work with Patrice who is a longtime friend and colleague of mine. I’m proud to sponsor this bill and am hopeful to see it pass the Senate and be put into practice. We as a community must spread the word and educate others on the good that this bill can do for mothers and their children.

HB 97 extends the time frame for relinquishing a baby from 72 hours to 30 days. Though the existing law is believed to have saved many lives, Representative Arent and I believe 72 hours may not be enough time for parents to know if they have the ability to adequately care for a child. The bill also asks for a $50,000 appropriation to educate women about options available to them. The bill passed unanimously in the House and is on its second reading in the Senate.

Listen to the bill presentation on the Senate floor here.

In the News: Salt Lake Tribune |

It’s always fun to see students from Tremonton up here at the Capitol! Meeting with this group of kids from Alice C. Harris Intermediate School was especially enjoyable because I got to spend time with the kids and grandkids of some close family friends. We spent time chatting about their families and experiences up here at the Capitol, went on a tour of the Senate and House chambers, then snapped a few pictures on the Supreme Court steps.
This Friday, Senator Hillyard and I spent some time with a group of educators from our district. The teachers came from Logan, Hyrum, and other areas throughout Cache County. We discussed current legislation affecting education and chatted about how we as legislators can make sure to continue to be allies for schools and educators. Later that morning during floor time I was even able to bring two of the teachers we had met with out onto the Senate floor to talk and watch the lawmaking process.

S.B. 259, Electric Vehicle Charging Network

In the 2019 General Session, the Legislature requested a road map to improve and bring awareness to air quality. The final report, “The Utah roadmap: positive solutions on climate and air quality,” by Kem C. Garner Policy Institute and the University of Utah, presents seven strategies to combat the ongoing air quality issues, including making Utah a “market-based electric vehicle state.” H.B. 259, Electric Vehicle Charging Network, aims to implement this strategy and address other benefits and hurdles of electric vehicle (EV) use in Utah.
Utah’s current market doesn’t provide EV infrastructure to drivers and tourists traveling through our state. Develop EV infrastructure resources such as rest-area charging stations would provide a market solution to EV. We would eventually pass ownership and management of this infrastructure to the private sector — as we have done with other energy needs.

We will also work with Utah auto dealers to increase the zero-emissions vehicle supply. Surveys indicate many more Utahns would purchase electric vehicles if recharging stations were readily accessible throughout the state. Utah is ready for this transition to begin. Over time it will significantly reduce tailpipe emissions, help improve air quality and protect our environment.

S.B. 259 passed the Senate Transportation, Public Utilities, Energy and Technology Committee.

You can listen to the committee presentation here.

In the News: KSL | Deseret News | Salt Lake Tribune

S.B. 143, Fiscal Impact Initiatives

Last year we passed S.B. 151Initiative Procedure Amendments, which transferred responsibility for writing fiscal impact estimates from the Governor’s Office of Management to the Office of the Legislative Fiscal Analyst (LFA). This year, S.B. 143, Fiscal Impact Initiatives, addresses initial fiscal impact estimates associated with initiative petitions. For example, if a proposed law would increase taxes, we would require an estimate to clearly show the projected tax rate changes. The bill does not alter the initiative process but simply gives the LFA a better way to provide transparency with fiscal impact estimates. This bill passed in the Senate and will be sent to the House for consideration.

You can listen to the floor presentation here.

S.B. 147, School Internship Safety Agreements

Currently, companies who provide internships for high school students are required to have their employees undergo and pass background checks. While intended to provide safe environments for high school students, this requirement has led some employers to stop providing internship opportunities. The process is expensive for companies and “positive” backgrounds do not necessarily guarantee safe environments for students. S.B. 147School Internship Safety Amendments, requires that employers enter into an “internship safety agreement” with the school in lieu of the background check. By requiring compliance with workplace laws and prohibiting other potentially unsafe situations, S.B. 147 makes it easier for employers to provide internships for high school students while still ensuring student safety.

You can listen to the floor presentation here.

In the News: KSL

H.B. 134, Raw Milk Products Amendments

Currently, the state of Utah allows licensed dairies that have passed certain requirements, such as safety inspections, to sell raw milk. H.B. 134, Raw Milk Products Amendments, would allow licensed diaries to also sell raw cream and butter products. This bill passed Senate Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Committee with a favorable recommendation and received support from a number of Utah’s farm and dairy groups.

You can listen to the committee presentation here.

S.B. 74Family Planning Services Amendments

S.B. 74Family Planning Services Amendments, aims to reduce unintended pregnancies and prevent abortions and miscarriages. This bill would allow the state to apply for an automatic pre-approved federal Medicaid waiver, and provide family planning services for individuals who do not qualify for traditional Medicaid and have a household income at or below 250 percent of the federal poverty level. This bill also has economic benefits: the state will receive a 90/10 match of federal dollars. Before the bill’s passage, an amendment was included to exclude anyone 18 and under from these services. This bill passed the Senate and will now be considered in the House.

You can listen to the floor presentation here.

In the News: Salt Lake Tribune | Deseret News | KSL

Managing Wildlife Populations

Utah has many unique and highly acclaimed outdoor attractions! With popular recreation opportunities and beautiful scenery, we are so lucky to live here. Another natural resource we treasure is our state’s wildlife. Did you know that when mule deer populations decline, predator populations can remain large for up to eight years? This unfavorable ratio puts the mule deer population in crisis. In an effort to better preserve our wildlife populations, H.B. 125 Division of Wildlife Resources Amendments, permits the Director of the Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) to proactively manage predator populations when there is evidence of a related wildlife population decline. Until now, predator management has only been sanctioned after a population decline has taken place. This bill allows the DWR to take preventive measures before a crisis has set in, and before there is any danger of wildlife extinction. This bill passed in both the House and Senate and will be sent to the Governor for his consideration.

You can listen to the Senate floor debate here.

Better Boundaries Compromise

For the last two years, the Legislature has worked on negotiations with Better Boundaries, the organization that sponsored Proposition 4 in 2018. Some provisions included in the original proposition were unconstitutional, and all sides understood the need to address this by making adjustments. Through continued collaboration throughout this legislative session between the lawmakers and Better Boundaries produced an amicable and promising compromise this week. S.B. 200Redistricting Amendments, preserves the core intent of Prop 4, including much of the original language, while resolving the constitutional roadblocks. Under this bill, there will still be an independent redistricting commission responsible for drafting maps for congressional, state legislative and school board districts. Utah Legislature allocated $1 million to fund the independent redistricting commission’s efforts so it can hire its staff and purchase software and equipment. This bill still allows the independent commission to create maps and publicly submit maps for consideration, keeping the public informed and involved in the process. While the Legislature is not constitutionally obligated to accept all proposals, lawmakers and representatives of Better Boundaries believe this will make redistricting more transparent and fair.

You can watch the press conference announcing the compromise on our Utah Senate Facebook page here.

Small Business Job Creation Tax Credit

Utah has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation. While a low unemployment rate is good for our state, some Utahns are still unemployed. S.B. 123Small Business Job Creation Tax Credit Act, provides a tax incentive to companies that create good jobs with wages at or above the county living wage in rural and underserved areas of the state. This program provides a post-performance incentive for businesses creating jobs for the workers that need it most. Employers receiving this incentive must prioritize employment for disadvantaged populations: seniors, veterans, the disabled, former inmates and individuals previously on a Utah state welfare program. In addition, participating companies must create and staff a minimum number of these ongoing high-quality jobs or pay the incentive back to the state. This bill passed with unanimous support in the Senate and will now be considered by the House.

You can listen to the Senate floor debate here.

Abortion Prohibition

Life is precious. S.B. 174Abortion Prohibition Amendments, which was heard in committee this week, would ban all elective abortions in the state of Utah other than rare circumstances involving rape, incest, the possible death of the mother’s life, or a lethal birth defect (as diagnosed by two physicians). This bill contains a contingency clause: it only goes into effect if and when the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. In the future, if that case is ever overturned, the language will be sent to the Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel to ensure the statute would pass constitutional muster. If, at that point, legal counsel determines the statute is constitutional, the law would then go into effect. The bill passed out of the Senate Health and Human Services Standing Committee and will now be considered on the Senate floor.
Listen to the committee presentation here.

In the News: Deseret News | ABC4

E-Cigarettes

The rising use of e-cigarettes, especially among Utah’s youth, has caused great concern among parents, teachers and physicians. Data indicates alarming levels of participation from youth 12-18, who easily become addicted due to the high nicotine content. The Legislature has made significant efforts during this session to protect Utah’s youth from the dangerous consequences of vaping. S.B. 37Electronic Cigarette and Other Nicotine Product Amendments, is designed to create new restrictions and also tax vaping products at a higher level, similar to tobacco products. The bill creates more severe criminal penalties for selling to minors and prohibits certain discounts and giveaways associated with vaping products.

The new tax on vaping products is expected to collect around $18 million during its first year of implementation and will largely be used to fund efforts to prevent vaping and drug use among Utah’s youth. The bill passed out of committee and will go to the Senate floor for consideration.

Listen to the bill presentation here.

In the News: Salt Lake Tribune |

I Look Forward to Hearing from You!

Connect with the Utah Senate for updates wherever you live on social media. We’re on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and all sorts of other sites. Feel free to visit our new website for updates, articles, and information: https://senate.utah.gov/.

I’ll try to continually keep you informed about my work on the Hill – likewise, please keep in touch – I’d love to hear your insights and opinions.

I can also be reached by email at ssandall@le.utah.gov. My mobile phone number is (435) 279-7551. You’re also welcome to join me at the Capitol.

If you’d like to meet with me in person during the interim or the legislative session, you can reach Jason Gould at jgould@le.utah.gov. He’ll help us get in touch.

I’m truly grateful for the opportunity you’ve given me to serve in this capacity. We live in a unique and special place. Thank you for all you do to make Utah the best state in the nation – and thanks for paying attention.

Until next time,

Scott Sandall
Senate District 17