Dear Business Community,
Week two of the legislative session moved quickly as legislators worked to get budgets in place and tackle some of the more difficult issues facing the state. This year those issues include many areas highlighted by the strains of the pandemic. As part of the pandemic response, the Salt Lake Chamber prioritized removing barriers to access to healthcare and mental health care — accordingly, two bills making mental health services more accessible, as well as remotely:
- H.B. 36, Telehealth Mental Health Program, sponsored by Rep. Ray Ward, will remove the sunset date for the current telehealth mental health pilot program.
- S.B. 41, Mental Health Access Amendments, sponsored by Sen. Luz Escamilla, will allow a diagnosis or treatment of a mental health condition to be done via telehealth services.
These bills are progressing through the process and we strongly support their passage.
Of concern, is H.B. 117, Vaccine Reporting Amendments, sponsored by Rep. Ray Ward, which previously focused on institutions of education — the bill has now been amended to prevent businesses from requiring a vaccination verification from the Utah Statewide Immunization Information System (USIIS) for any employee or a patron. There are no exceptions to this provision. It suggests that businesses can require verification from another source, and we are looking into what this could include. We will watch this bill closely and keep you informed of its progress.
Finally, the priority topic of addressing the onerous tangible personal property tax is again front and center. This week the Senate Tax and Revenue Committee, considered and debated S.B. 18, Property Tax Exemption Amendments, sponsored by Sen. Wayne Harper. 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. The Committee held this Priority Bill for the Chamber after a discussion about the potential loss of revenue to the counties. While we understand local government concerns regarding future revenue, on balance, the burden on small businesses has a much more significant impact. The Committee will reconsider this bill, so we encourage you to contact your legislators to let them know how this tax impacts your business.
Additionally, H.B. 82, Single-Family Housing Modifications, sponsored by Rep. Ray Ward, was considered by the House Business and Labor Committee. This bill 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 strategy identified by many of Utah’s cities and towns as a method on which they would like to focus their efforts. The bill had significant support from the Committee, but was held to make additional changes. Please contact your legislator to express your support.
While the Capitol is again open to the public, all aspects of the session are still accessible virtually. We encourage you to follow those issues of interest to your business at le.utah.gov.
Please let us know if you have questions or concerns.
Salt Lake Chamber Policy Team
During the legislative session, the Salt Lake Chamber Board of Directors 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.
- H.B. 36, Telehealth Mental Health Program, Sponsor: Rep. Ward
- H.B. 80, Data Security Amendments, Sponsor: Rep. Brooks
- H.B. 82, Single-Family Housing Modifications, Sponsor: Rep. Ward
- S.B. 18, Property Tax Exemption Amendments, Sponsor: Sen. Harper
- S.B. 41, Mental Health Access Amendments, Sponsor: Sen. Escamilla
2021 Legislative Watchlist
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. We encourage you to visit our online legislative watchlist and use the far right column to find bills relevant to your topic of interest and view bill status and description.
2021 Legislative Priorities
Chamber Policy Team
Please reach out to us if you have any questions.