The first week of the 2022 Utah Legislative Session kicked off for the second full year under the shadow of the pandemic. However, representatives and senators were back in the Capitol complex ready to engage the people’s work with virtual available for full participation.
Our team is actively engaged on the Hill and if you would like to meet with us at anytime feel free to let us know. Those interested can follow along online at le.utah.gov or email us at email@example.com for emerging concerns or to request policy support.
Lawmakers had a busy week with bills moving across legislative bodies and discussed appropriations reviewed for budget concerns and federal dollars usage. Speaker Wilson began the week with an honest assessment of the collective fatigue by healthcare professionals and disagreements surfaced on sweeping mandates.
Capping off the end of a short week was Governor Cox’s soaring speech with his goals for the state and a spirit of hope pledging to tackle big things that matter. The Legislature introduced the following bills that the Chamber feels are important and worth spotlighting:
- HB 36, Commission on Housing Affordability Amendments, sponsored by Rep. Steve Waldrip, is a Priority Bill for the Chamber. This bill will create a permanent subcommittee on Housing Affordability under the new Unified Economic Opportunity Commission. The housing gap remains large and efforts to respond are a Chamber priority focus.
- SB 89, Water Amendments, sponsored by Sen. Jani Iwamoto, modifies provisions regarding the Division of Water Resources water conservation plan to include reduction goals, rate structures to encourage more efficient use. This legislative session will have a focus on water preservation, replenishment, and efficient usage—each are goals supported by the Chamber to keep Utah vibrant and growing for years to come.
- SB 42, Higher Education Performance Funding Goals, sponsored by Sen. Ann Millner, creates a requirement for the Utah System of Higher Education to create a 5-year plan that helps to increase Utah high school graduates by 3%, a cohort earning degrees to increase 3% and high-yielding award cohorts to increase by 3%. Increasing standards for education will support workforce development of talent and is a key priority for the Chamber.
- HB 100, Emergency Preparedness Amendments, sponsored by Rep. Clare Collard, will create the Office of Earthquake Preparedness and Response within the Department of Public Safety, Division of Emergency Management. This bill supports maintaining critical infrastructure and will support mitigation efforts against earthquakes. The Chamber supports infrastructure maintenance and efforts to secure transportation, commerce, and emergency services from natural disasters.
The Salt Lake Chamber public policy team looks forward to advocating for business needs and priorities during the legislative session. We will send Business Watch each Friday and other pertinent updates as they develop. Continue to monitor the legislative watchlist for a comprehensive view into our efforts to act as the Voice of Business!
We Stand as the Voice of Business,
The Salt Lake Chamber Policy Team