We’re closing in on the final few days of the 2017 General Legislative Session, and well, it can’t come soon enough! The major issues are all coming to a head. As such, we’ve decided to give you a brief summary of the outstanding pieces of the session.

Budget: Legislators finalized aspects of the budget this week, including various funding requests from the appropriations committees. It is expected that education will again receive significant new funds, with a large commitment of funding above growth. Bills funding remaining fiscal notes will also be finalized on the last couple days of the session.

Alcohol: The long-awaited alcohol reform bill, H.B. 442, was released and has passed its first committee. The business community recognizes the complexity of this issue and greatly appreciates the efforts of Rep. Wilson and Sen. Stevenson along with other stakeholders to develop good alcohol policy that strikes a needed balance for our state. We also appreciate the sponsors’ willingness to listen to concerns and work with stakeholders, and know this collaboration will continue in the future as the bill is implemented.

As this is a complicated issue, we urge business owners to review the bill and reach out in a timely fashion as there are many moving parts, often not covered in the media.

Bonding: It is expected that a $1 billion bond for state transportation facilities ($250 million/year for four years) will move forward in the final days. We have played a constructive role on this issue to date, seeking to protect the existing prioritization process set by the Utah Transportation Commission and Utah’s Unified Long-Range Transportation Plan, to determine the projects that advance.

Non-Compete Agreements: Last week, it was announced in conjunction with our comprehensive research on non-compete agreements that no legislative action would be undertaken this session. A summary of this decision and the research can be found here. We want to share our deep appreciation to all of our partners and business leaders who have worked tirelessly on this issue. In the months following the session, we will be working with stakeholders to further find common ground on this important issue.

Tax Reform: The elephant in the room at this point is the long-awaited overarching tax reform package. As you may recall, our President and CEO, Lane Beattie called for tax reform to be the central focus of the session in early February. This blog post from our Policy Director, Michael Parker, MPP covers the basic elements of tax reform and the many moving pieces that are already advancing through the process.

To be clear, this is a significant policy decision in a very limited amount of time. We are watching these fluid developments carefully. As such, we have remained in near constant communication with the House and Senate leadership teams and the Governor, to ensure that these reforms meet today’s needs, make our state more competitive and create greater equity and efficiency.

Priority Bills: A total of 19 bills have been designated as “Priority Votes” used for our Business Champions Awards. These largely reflect our priority list released in conjunction with the 2017 Public Policy Guide in early January. In addition to these bills, here is a brief summary of our overall efforts:

  • 241 bills on our watch lists
  • 68 bills we are supporting
  • 10 bills we are opposing

As the session comes to a close, your voice as business leaders are more important than ever. We urge your continued engagement in these final days and will be updating you daily on the major issues as they progress.

Priority Votes

During the legislative session, the Salt Lake Chamber Executive Board designates top priorities of the business community as Priority Votes. The Chamber’s Priority Votes are considered the most critical bills during the legislative session and are used to determine the Chamber’s Business Champion Awards. Below are the most recently declared priority votes.

Most Recent Priority Votes:

Bill Number Bill Title Sponsor
H.B. 168   Kindergarten Supplemental Enrichment Program Rep. Snow
S.B. 276 Transportation Funding Modifications Sen. Van Tassell Support
S.B. 204 Public-Private Partnerships Sen. Okerlund Support
S.B. 110 Sales Tax Collection Amendments Sen. Bramble Support
H.B. 392 Air Quality Policy Advisory Board Rep. Hawkes Oppose

View Full List of Priority Votes

Bills Worth Watching

Each week, the Chamber’s policy team tracks relevant bills by subject so you can stay up to date on legislation that impacts you and your business.

2016-17 Non-Compete Study Results

Last session the Utah Legislature passed H.B. 251, statutorily limiting the effect of employer-employee, non-compete agreements to a one-year period following separation, and changing provisions related to legal remedies. During the debate and since that time, it has become evident that we need better information around this complex issue. Additionally, significant concern from the business community across the state has prompted a push for further research into how Utah employers are affected by this new legislation, how employer-employee non-compete agreements are used in our state, and whether additional revisions of the law are warranted, unnecessary or would be supported.
In stakeholder discussions and negotiations, the concept for a balanced and fair research study became obvious. In order to conduct this research, the Salt Lake Chamber worked with the Utah Legislature, the Labor and Employment Section of the Utah State Bar, industry associations, and chambers across the state for a comprehensive, fair, and impartial study of employer and employee perspectives on this issue. This study, conducted by Cicero, has sought to identify what the key issues concerning non-compete agreements are to better inform policymakers and business leaders.