Honors Legislators Who Demonstrated Economic Leadership

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH (July 14, 2015) – Today, the Salt Lake Chamber, Utah’s largest and longest-standing business association announced the 2015 “Business Champion” awards. The award is the business community’s highest honor given to Legislators who stand for pro-Utah, pro-business and pro-economy legislation.

“We deeply appreciate the tireless efforts of our Legislature in making Utah the best state for business,” said Lane Beattie president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber. “The decisions made this year, specifically regarding transportation and education funding, will ensure our state’s economy continues to lead the nation for decades to come.”

Outgoing Chair of the Salt Lake Chamber Board of Governors, Terry Buckner, said, “This award is part of a continued effort to show our appreciation for courageous and thoughtful leaders. Earning this recognition was not an easy endeavor. Legislators were asked to make tough votes, this year, in order to put Utah’s future first.”

As Utah’s voice of business, the Salt Lake Chamber develops policies, positions, and advocates on major issues affecting Utah’s businesses and the state’s economy. During the legislative session, the Chamber’s Board of Governors’ designates the top legislation of the business community as priority votes. These priority votes determine which legislators receive recognition as “Business Champions.”

“Few states can trumpet the partnership we have between our elected leaders and business community in driving positive change and solving critical issues,” said Rich Walje, president and CEO, Gateway Project, PacifiCorp and Policy Chair, Salt Lake Chamber Executive Board. “We want to commend the Legislature for their economic leadership.”

In total, 14/17 Chamber positions (82%) were supported on floor votes and 12/15 (80%) of the Chamber’s supported priorities were successfully passed by both bodies and signed by Governor Herbert or successfully defeated.

The top priorities for the business community included a comprehensive transportation-funding package (HB362) and strategic investments in Utah’s education system. (SB 97, S117, HB 198, SB 116, SB 196, SB 232, SB 235) A Utah Foundation analysis regarding the impact of recent legislation on Utah’s tax burden, found that legislators chose to make critical investments in Utah’s future without adversely affecting the economy or placing an undue burden on Utah’s residents.

The following pieces of legislation were designated as Priority Votes for both Senate and House members:

  • HB 79 – Safety Belt Law Amendments (Passed)
  • SB 97 – Property Tax Equalization Amendments (Passed)
  • SB 117  – Interventions for Reading Difficulties Pilot Program (Passed)
  • SB 160 / HB 362 – Respective Bodies Proposals – Transportation Test Votes
  • HB 198 – Strengthening College and Career Readiness (Passed)
  • SB 116 – Public School Dropout Recovery (Passed)
  • SB 196 – Math Competency Initiative (Passed)
  • HB 362 – Transportation Infrastructure Funding (Passed)
  • SB 232 – Higher Education Performance Funding (Passed)
  • SB 235 – Education Modifications (School Turnaround and Leadership Act) (Passed)
  • HB 414 – Utah Broadband Outreach Center (Passed)
  • SB 296 – Antidiscrimination and Religious Freedom Amendments (Passed)

The following pieces of legislation, which did not receive a House Floor vote, were designated as Priority Votes for Senators.

  • SB 43 (Oppose) Closed Primary Amendments (Successfully Defeated)
  • SJR 5 – (Support) Proposal to Amend Utah Constitution – State Board of Education Changes (Failed)
  • SB 164 – Access to Health Care Amendments (Failed)

Lastly, the following pieces of legislation, which did not receive a Senate Floor vote, were designated as Priority Votes for Senators.

  • HB 331 – Professional Learning Grant Program (Failed)