April 1, 2020 •

Utah Governor Plans to Call Special Legislative Session to Address COVID-19 Concerns

Gov. Gary Herbert - by Medill DC

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert announced March 31 he will call a special legislative session within two to three weeks to deal with growing COVID-19 concerns. Gov. Herbert said several items will be at issue during the special session. Items include […]

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert announced March 31 he will call a special legislative session within two to three weeks to deal with growing COVID-19 concerns.

Gov. Herbert said several items will be at issue during the special session.

Items include extending the state’s personal income tax filing deadline from April 15 to July 15, and potentially opening the state’s General and Education funds.

It is unclear whether Gov. Herbert will ask lawmakers to take steps dealing with the spring and summer election deadlines.

This does not affect lobbyist reporting.

When the special session is called, all restrictions on contributions from individuals, lobbyists, principals, and political committees will apply.

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March 16, 2020 •

Utah Democrats, GOP Cancel In-person State Conventions

Utah Capitol Building - Jkinsocal

The Utah Republican and Utah Democratic parties intend to cancel their in-person state conventions. Previously they were scheduled for April 25, and were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The decisions come after Gov. Gary Herbert announced that mass gatherings […]

The Utah Republican and Utah Democratic parties intend to cancel their in-person state conventions.

Previously they were scheduled for April 25, and were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The decisions come after Gov. Gary Herbert announced that mass gatherings of groups in the state will be limited to 100 people.

Both party leaders say they are restructuring their April 25 state conventions, but had little information about how the meetings will look.

Vetting and candidate voting traditionally associated with the state convention will still occur, but primarily in an online format.

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March 13, 2020 •

Utah Legislature Adjourns, Responds to COVID-19

Utah Capitol Building - Jkinsocal

In the final hours of the legislative session ending just before midnight on March 12, lawmakers pushed through a series of measures to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. The legislature extended the state of emergency for Utah to June 30, […]

In the final hours of the legislative session ending just before midnight on March 12, lawmakers pushed through a series of measures to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The legislature extended the state of emergency for Utah to June 30, and instituted a “no handshake” rule at the Capitol.

To help seniors who are highly susceptible to the novel coronavirus, $24 million was appropriated.

An additional $16 million was appropriated to the Utah Department of Health.

Finally, $4 million was passed for Utah’s Division of Emergency Management dealing with COVID-19.

Senate Majority Whip Dan Hemmert passed a resolution that allows lawmakers to meet remotely, using electronic communication methods.

House Bill 186, relating to lobbyist registration as a foreign agent, was introduced but not passed.

The bill would have required a foreign agent to register with the lieutenant governor prior to engaging in any lobbying activity.

In total, lawmakers passed 510 bills ranging from affordable housing and education to women’s rights and technology.

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February 13, 2020 •

Utah Congressional Vacancy Bill Progresses Over Objections

Utah Capitol Building - Jkinsocal

A compromise over filling congressional vacancies progressed on February 11, earning passage through the House on a party-line vote. House Bill 17 seeks to resolve years of dispute that began in 2017 with the resignation of former Rep. Jason Chaffetz. […]

A compromise over filling congressional vacancies progressed on February 11, earning passage through the House on a party-line vote.

House Bill 17 seeks to resolve years of dispute that began in 2017 with the resignation of former Rep. Jason Chaffetz. The state law was largely silent on the process for replacing members of Congress.

The legislative and executive branches have continued to disagree on the subject. Gov. Gary Herbert vetoed legislation last year that would have set a process for picking congressional replacements.

The current bill calls for the governor to issue a proclamation to schedule a primary and general election to fill a House vacancy.

Those elections generally would be held on the next municipal general election, a presidential primary or regular primary, or general election.

House Bill 17 is now in the Senate for consideration.

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January 20, 2020 •

Utah Agriculture Commissioner Resigns to Run for Congress

Kerry Gibson - State of Utah

Utah Agriculture and Food Commissioner Kerry Gibson has resigned from Gov. Gary Herbert’s cabinet to run for Utah’s 1st Congressional District. Kelly Pehrson was named the interim manager of the department. Heading into the November 3 election is incumbent Rob […]

Utah Agriculture and Food Commissioner Kerry Gibson has resigned from Gov. Gary Herbert’s cabinet to run for Utah’s 1st Congressional District.

Kelly Pehrson was named the interim manager of the department.

Heading into the November 3 election is incumbent Rob Bishop, who has served since 2003.

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December 19, 2019 •

Utah Lawmakers Adjourn Special Session, Pass Tax, Health Bills

Utah Capitol Building - Jkinsocal

The Utah Legislature approved a sweeping tax-change bill during the one-day special session on December 12. The bill cuts state income taxes and hikes the sales tax on food, gas, and a list of other services. The tax bill did […]

The Utah Legislature approved a sweeping tax-change bill during the one-day special session on December 12.

The bill cuts state income taxes and hikes the sales tax on food, gas, and a list of other services.

The tax bill did not reach a two-thirds majority in either the House or Senate, subjecting it to challenge by a citizen referendum on December 16.

In order to qualify, the referendum must collect more than 115,869 validated signatures across the state by January 21.

Lawmakers also passed a bill to fund behavioral health services, moving $3.9 million from unused appropriations to provide health treatment.

The behavioral health bill passed with no opposition.

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December 12, 2019 •

Utah Governor Calls Special Session

Utah Capitol Building - Jkinsocal

Gov. Gary Herbert called a special session of the Utah Legislature for December 12 to consider a massive tax reform plan. The special session comes a day after a divided legislative panel voted to advance a significant tax cut for […]

Gov. Gary Herbert called a special session of the Utah Legislature for December 12 to consider a massive tax reform plan.

The special session comes a day after a divided legislative panel voted to advance a significant tax cut for Utah residents.

In addition to the tax reform, the special session will include discussion of funding for behavioral health programs.

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September 24, 2019 •

Utah Special Session Ends

Utah Capitol Building - Jkinsocal

Gov. Gary Herbert has signed a series of bills bringing an end to the special legislative session. The governor signed two major bills making changes to the laws governing medical cannabis and beer. Lawmakers approved a change to allow grocery […]

Gov. Gary Herbert has signed a series of bills bringing an end to the special legislative session.

The governor signed two major bills making changes to the laws governing medical cannabis and beer.

Lawmakers approved a change to allow grocery and convenience stores a one-week grace period to purchase and store 4% beer before it can be sold to customers as the cap is lifted from 3.2% beer on Nov. 1.

Additionally, legislators passed changes to the state’s medical cannabis bill.

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September 19, 2019 •

State Representative Resigning from Utah House

Utah Rep. John Knotwell

Rep. John Knotwell will resign from the Utah House of Representatives, effective September 30. The District 52 representative will resign to focus on his employment that requires significant traveling and a busy schedule. The Salt Lake County Republican Party will […]

Rep. John Knotwell will resign from the Utah House of Representatives, effective September 30.

The District 52 representative will resign to focus on his employment that requires significant traveling and a busy schedule.

The Salt Lake County Republican Party will be responsible for filling the vacancy.

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September 10, 2019 •

Utah Governor Calls Special Legislative Session

Utah Capitol Building - Jkinsocal

Gov. Gary Herbert called for a special session of the Utah Legislature to convene on September 16. The session will focus on issues related to dispensing medical cannabis, appropriating census funding, and making several other technical adjustments. Legislators will have […]

Gov. Gary Herbert called for a special session of the Utah Legislature to convene on September 16.

The session will focus on issues related to dispensing medical cannabis, appropriating census funding, and making several other technical adjustments.

Legislators will have an opportunity to discuss and receive public comments on the issues, deliberate on matters, and take possible action.

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May 17, 2019 •

New Utah Lobbying Updates Effective

Utah Capitol Building - Jkinsocal

House Bill 64, implementing the Local Government and Board of Education Lobbyist Disclosure and Regulation Act became effective on May 14, 2019. Additionally, House Bill 147, making changes to the existing Lobbyist Disclosure Act became effective on the same day. […]

House Bill 64, implementing the Local Government and Board of Education Lobbyist Disclosure and Regulation Act became effective on May 14, 2019.

Additionally, House Bill 147, making changes to the existing Lobbyist Disclosure Act became effective on the same day.

The Lieutenant Governor’s Office has released additional guidance on the new rules.

Guidance includes how online registration and reporting will be accomplished for local lobbyists.

The guidance also discusses the shift to annual registration for state level lobbyists.

Previously registered lobbyists choosing to renew their license in 2020 and new registrations will be required to pay a $60 fee and obtain new badges.

The new requirements also include completion of a workplace harassment and discrimination training.

Current, active lobbyists are not required to complete the new training until the license is renewed.

The lieutenant governor has asked that questions be directed to lobbyists@utah.gov or 801-538-1041.

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April 5, 2019 •

Utah Campaign Finance Bills Signed

Last week, Gov. Gary Herbert signed six bills amending the state’s campaign finance laws. Updates include amended registration and reporting requirements for political action committees (PACs) and political issues committees (PICs). Additionally, updates modify provisions relating to the statement of […]

Last week, Gov. Gary Herbert signed six bills amending the state’s campaign finance laws.

Updates include amended registration and reporting requirements for political action committees (PACs) and political issues committees (PICs).

Additionally, updates modify provisions relating to the statement of organization and naming requirements of a PAC.

Other changes include a provision banning PICs from contributing to PACs and clarifications on how to dissolve a PAC.

Regarding electioneering communications, House Bill 319 requires a person making an expenditure for certain advertisements relating to a ballot proposition to disclose the person’s identity in the advertisement.

All bills take effect on May 13, 2019.

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April 5, 2019 •

Governor Signs Utah Lobbying Bills

In the 2019 legislative session, legislators passed House Bill 64 and Senate Bill 147 amending the state’s lobbying provisions. Both bills were signed by Gov. Gary Herbert this month. House Bill 64 creates disclosure requirements for lobbying local government and […]

In the 2019 legislative session, legislators passed House Bill 64 and Senate Bill 147 amending the state’s lobbying provisions. Both bills were signed by Gov. Gary Herbert this month.

House Bill 64 creates disclosure requirements for lobbying local government and board of education members.

The new requirements include quarterly reporting and prohibit expenditures by lobbyists and principals over $10. Not included in the $10 limit are expenditures for food, beverage, travel, lodging, or admission to or attendance at a tour or meeting.

Senate Bill 147 follows a national trend in modifying requirements for lobbyist ethics and harassment training and adds a due date for completion as well as penalties for non-completion.

Both bills go into effect on May 13, 2019, 60 days after the adjournment sine die of the legislature.

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November 21, 2018 •

Utah Special Session to be Held on December 3

The Utah Legislature will meet in a special session on December 3 to discuss the voter-approved medical marijuana ballot measure passed by a majority of voters this month. This week, Senate President Wayne Niederhauser said his fellow senators needed to […]

The Utah Legislature will meet in a special session on December 3 to discuss the voter-approved medical marijuana ballot measure passed by a majority of voters this month.

This week, Senate President Wayne Niederhauser said his fellow senators needed to attend the session and he could compel their presence if necessary.

Gov. Gary Herbert vowed to call a special session to discuss medical marijuana regardless of the outcome of the bill. Gov. Herbert has been working with legislators and the Mormon church to find a compromise and tweak legislation based on the passed measure.

A two-thirds majority vote is necessary to make the legislation effective.

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