We are more than halfway through the 7-week Legislative Session and so far the legislature has released about 600 bills.
Several issues stand out as top priorities for the Salt Lake Chamber, one of which is housing affordability. It is a critical factor in the economic well-being of all Utahns, the businesses that employ them, and the communities they live in. More specifically, the business community believes housing affordability is an important factor in attracting and retaining employees. Workers who struggle to find housing may be more likely to leave their jobs and move to another area where it is more affordable. This can result in increased turnover, recruitment costs, and a less stable workforce for businesses.
That’s why it is so important for the Chamber to address this issue and work with local governments, non-profits, and other stakeholders to promote policies and initiatives that increase the availability of affordable housing.
A few of the housing bills we are tracking introduced by the Commission on Housing Affordability (CHA) are:
- HB 364, Housing Affordability Amendments, sponsored by Rep. Stephen Whyte
- This bill is a cooperative bill from the CHA and was created with input from numerous partners. The bill makes changes to the Moderate Income Housing Plan, and also creates the Housing Support Grant Program, which will fund affordable housing units for households whose income is less than 30% of the local area median Income.
- SB 174, Local Land Use and Development Revisions, sponsored by Sen. Lincoln Fillmore
- This bill assesses a fee to a municipality that has not submitted a Moderate Income Housing Plan, or whose plan is not in compliance, and includes a garage as an internal accessory dwelling unit (IADU) if it shares a wall with the primary residence. The bill also prohibits cities from prohibiting newly constructed IADUs and makes municipalities’ subdivision review and approval administrative, instead of legislative.
- HB 406, Land Use, Development, and Management Act Modifications, sponsored by Rep. Stephen Whyte
- This bill clarifies provisions related to annexation and the exclusion of rural real property from the annexed area unless the property owner has signed the petition for annexation. It gives the property owner preference if there are multiple property annexation petitions. The bill also makes changes to development agreements, as well as temporary land use applications.
Other notable bills include:
- HB 131, Vaccine Passport Prohibition, sponsored by Rep. Walt Brooks
- Last year, the Chamber took a stance against HB 60 Vaccine Passport Amendments, citing concerns about creating a protected class and government overreach into the working operations of businesses. However, after working with the bill’s sponsor and the removal of the protected class language, and some carve-outs for those working in health care, the Chamber has decided to take a neutral stance on the bill in 2023. We understand that this is a complex issue and that our members may have varying opinions on the matter. Our goal is to provide a platform for all voices to be heard, while also protecting the rights and interests of our members.
- SB 185, Transportation Amendments, sponsored by Sen. Wayne Harper
- This bill creates the Active Transportation Investment Fund, as included in the Utah Trails Network Proposal from Governor Cox. Transfers funds from the Transportation Infrastructure Fund into the Active Transportation Fund. These funds will be used for the planning, design, construction, maintenance, reconstruction, etc. of paved trails. Active transportation, including walking, cycling, and public transit, plays a crucial role in supporting economic development and promoting the growth of businesses. By investing in active transportation infrastructure and programs, the state has an opportunity to create a more livable and accessible community, reduce traffic congestion and air pollution, improve public health, and stimulate economic growth.
As we enter the last remaining weeks of the session, we wanted to take a moment to thank you for your input and engagement. Your voices have been heard and have helped to shape our legislative agenda and advocacy efforts. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or comments regarding legislation.
The Salt Lake Chamber Policy Team