Dear Business Community,
The first week of the 2021 Utah Legislative Session was unlike any that we have seen before. With unprecedented health and security concerns, the Capitol was nothing like the hive of activity we are accustomed to. Despite the fact that the building was not open to the public, the work of the Legislature went forward in a format that provided the opportunity for all to participate.
This year, more than ever, the Legislature’s work is accessible virtually. We encourage you to follow those issues you are interested in and participate in the process at le.utah.gov. If you have questions about how to do that, please contact us.
Throughout the session, we will work closely with the Legislature and Governor Cox to pass legislation and policies that will not only help Utah recover from the economic and health effects of the pandemic, but also ensure that we stay on the path to economic success that, as a business community, we have come to rely on.
This week, the Legislature’s work was focused primarily on budget issues as they worked to get base budgets in place. Early in the pandemic, the Legislature undertook the difficult task of making precautionary budget cuts—because the economy has weathered the strains better than we had could have predicted, the state now finds itself with a significant amount of one-time money. They plan to dedicate this money to one-time projects to bolster Utah’s infrastructure and address other projects that have been out of reach in other years. We look forward to working with the Legislature in this process.
In addition to the budget work, the Legislature introduced the following bills that are important to the Chamber:
H.B. 80, Data Security Amendments, sponsored by Rep. Walt Brooks, is a Priority Bill for the Chamber. This bill creates an affirmative defense for business to causes of action that arise out of a data breach involving personal information, restricted information, or both personal information and restricted information for entities that implement a well-written cybersecurity policy based on best practices.
H.B. 82, Single-Family Housing Modifications, sponsored by Rep. Ray Ward. This bill is another Priority Bill for the Chamber and requires municipalities and counties to allow for qualifying accessory dwelling units (ADUs). As we look towards the ability to address the state’s housing crisis, accommodating ADUs is a practical step and is one method identified by many of Utah’s cities and towns as a method on which they would like to focus their efforts.
H.B. 217, Regulatory Sandbox Program Amendments, sponsored by Rep. Cory Maloy creates a regulatory relief office within GOED and creates the General Regulatory Sandbox Program to identify state laws or regulations that could be waived or suspended and will help identify those regulations that may be unnecessary and unduly burdensome.
S.B. 32, Employee Status Amendments, sponsored by Sen. Curt Bramble specifies that a remote-service contractor is not an employee of a marketplace company, if under the agreement between the contractor and the marketplace company all of the work the remote-service contractor performs under the agreement is on a per-job or per-transaction basis; and the contractor receives payment on an hourly, per-job, or per-transaction basis, and the company does not prescribe the specific hours or location of the contractor’s works.
S.B. 18, Property Tax Exemption Amendments, sponsored by Sen. Wayne Harper, is another Priority Bill for the Chamber. The bill allows for the value of qualifying exempt revenue to be included in the calculation of the certified tax rate and exempts the first $50,000 of a taxpayer’s taxable tangible personal property within a county from taxation.
As the Salt Lake Chamber’s public policy team, we look forward to the opportunity to work with you through the session and represent you on Utah’s Capitol Hill. Business Watch weekly legislative updates will be sent every Friday, as will other updates as needed. You will be able to review bills of interest to the business community and the Chamber’s positions on those bills through our legislative watchlist. Here you will be able to monitor any issues that may be of interest to you and your business.
To quote Governor Cox, “Let’s Go!”
Salt Lake Chamber Policy Team