The 2014 Utah Legislature: What Happened in 2014 and How to Protect Your Interests in 2015

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  • 1. THE 2014 UTAH LEGISLATURE: WHAT HAPPENED IN 2014 AND HOW TO PROTECT YOUR INTERESTS IN 2015 Mike Bailey Salt Lake City April 18, 2014 4850-4250-9850 parsonsbehle.com Presented to the Real Estate Mastermind Group
  • 2. 2  Inform you  Alert you to issues that may affect your business  Arm you for discussions at backyard barbeques  This presentation is a source of general information for clients and friends of Parsons Behle & Latimer. Its content should not be construed as legal advice and attendees should not act upon the information in the presentation without consulting legal counsel. Goals of Today’s Presentation
  • 3. 3 I. Utah Legislature by the Numbers II. 2014 Session Review (using themes) III. Protecting your Business by Playing an Active Role Please ask questions throughout Outline of Presentation
  • 4. 4 61 24 14 5 2014 House and Senate Composition Republicans Republicans DemocratsDemocrats House Senate
  • 5. 5  President Wayne Niederhauser (Real Estate Broker / Developer)  Senator Mark Madsen (Real Estate Developer)  Representative Brad Wilson (Destination Homes)  Representative Curt Webb (Title Insurance)  Representative Roger Barrus (Facility Construction / Property Development)  Representative Jack Draxler (Real Estate Appraiser) Many Legislators Work in the Real Estate Industry
  • 6. 6  Representative Gage Froerer (Real Estate Brokerage & Property Management)  Representative Greg Hughes (Construction / Property Management)  Representative Keith Grover (“Real Estate”)  Representative Jeremy Peterson (Real Estate Broker)  Representative Dixon Pitcher (Real Estate Broker, CRS; Land Developer) Many Legislators Work in the Real Estate Industry
  • 7. 7  Large Number of Freshmen in the House – 20 of 75 in the House were in their second year – 11 more beginning their second term  “Slow and steady” meant many bills were not heard  Mood was serious  Media focused on the “easy” issues 2014 Legislative Session
  • 8. 8 782 764 748 786 504 478 524 484 Comparing Bill Passage Over Time Bills Introduced Bills Introduced Bills Passed (64%) Bills Passed (62%) 2011 2012 2013 Bills Introduced Bills Passed (70%) 2014 Bills Introduced Bills Passed (62%)
  • 9. 9 478 524 484 183 203 217 Even More Bills Passed in the Final Two Days Bills Passed Bills Passed Last 2 days (39%) Last 2 days (38%) 2012 2013 Bills Passed Last 2 days (45%) 2014
  • 10. 10 2014 Bill Passage By The Numbers Republican - sponsored bills that passed (89%) Democrat - sponsored bills that passed (11%) 2012: 87% Republican 13% Democrat 2013: 94% Republican 6% Democrat
  • 11. 11  Most Prolific Legislators Highest bill passage percentage (minimum 10 bills) – Sen. Lyle Hillyard (17 for 17) – Sen. Ralph Okerlund (13 for 13) – Rep. Mel Brown (12 for 12) – Rep. Jim Dunnigan (12 for 12) Most bills passed – Sen. Curt Bramble (19 for 26) • Including SB 54 – “Count my Vote” Most bills introduced – Sen. Curt Bramble 26 (19 for 26) – Rep. Kraig Powell 20 (6 for 20) – Sen. Todd Weiler 19 (14 for 19) 2014 Bill Passage By The Numbers
  • 12. 12 78% 73% 76% 56% 73% 56% Senate Sponsored v. House Sponsored Passage Rates (Republicans only) Senate Senate HouseHouse 2012 2013 Senate House 2014
  • 13. 13 Big-Time Changes in the Legislature  Speaker is done – Speaker vs. Governor  Senate Majority Leader may be stepping down  House Minority Leader is done  Lots of Democrats are done – In Senate (Senators Jones & Robles) – In House (Representatives Cosgrove, Seelig, Fisher, Hemingway)
  • 14. 14 The Session’s Broad Themes Issues Headed Our Way Interesting Heavily debated & usually received media attention Ordinary Expected, not surprising
  • 15. 15 Interesting Issues These bills were heavily debated and usually received media attention
  • 16. 16 Air Quality – The People Spoke  Air Quality has Been an Issue for a Few Years but This Year was Different  Session Started With Two Bangs and a lot of Inversions – First, the Governor discussed Tier III Fuels in his State of the State – Second, there was a clean air rally which had 4000 attendees – Parking was awful
  • 17. 17 Air Quality – The People Spoke
  • 18. 18 And Air Quality Did OK  Legislators put their money where their mouth was: – Enhanced funding for DAQ – Grant programs for wood-burning stoves – Replacing dirty diesel school buses  Not everything passed: – Quarter-cent sales tax hike – State vs. federal regulation
  • 19. 19 “No more stringent”  Utah law says environmental regulations can be no more stringent than corresponding federal regulations (except if a certain finding is made) – David Bird drafted  Protects business and industry  Environmentalists: “Chills” new ideas  Two bills in play: – Bill to eliminate protection – DIED – Bill to modify restriction – DIED
  • 20. 20 Anti-Discrimination  State lawsuit in process  No consideration of anti-discrimination law – Activist pressure  No anti-gay marriage bills allowed either
  • 21. 21 Count My Vote  CMV organizers gathered 100,000+ signatures  Pressure on legislature  Compromise – SB 54  There is already talk of amending the law
  • 22. 22 SB 54 (Bramble)  Dual route to the ballot: – Convention: Same as now – Signatures • 28,000 for statewide office • 2,000 for state Senate seats • 1,000 for state House seats – Parties must have open primaries – May be a moderating factor  Several legislators may pay the price
  • 23. 23  It was a tale of two bills – SB 211 sponsored by Sen. Margaret Dayton – HB 49 sponsored by Rep. Kay McIff  SB 211 restored the power of the state water engineer  HB 49 modified the procedure for filing a change application  Both bills died on the boards Water
  • 24. 24 Health Care  Autism Mandate – “Every Decade we Pass a Mandate – This is That Mandate” – Compromise was struck • Would not affect many large employers • Diagnosis and Treatment 2-9 years old • Applied Behavior Analysis • Treatment Plan and Treatment Review  Cannabis Oil
  • 25. 25 Fun, Odd or Silly Issues Likely to Land a Legislator on “Jon Stewart’s Daily Show”  No feral cats, no state gun  We did get a new state tree (Quaking Aspen instead of Colorado Blue Spruce) but we didn’t replace Iowa and New Hampshire as the state with the earliest presidential primary  Cities can’t ban specific breeds of dogs – pit bulls are safe  It was a very serious session with few distractions
  • 26. 26  HB 16 (Webb) Wrongful Lien Amendments  HB 332 S 01 (Froerer) Real Estate Amendments  SB 20 (Harper) Trustee’s Sale for Rental Property – Sunset Act Amendments  SB 109 S 02 (Osmond) Radon Awareness Campaign Some Real Estate – Related Bills That Passed
  • 27. 27  SB 130 (Harper) Trust Deed Foreclosure Amendments  SB 147 S 04 (Jones) Residential Rental Amendments  SB 189 (Weiler) Residence Lien Restriction Amendments Some Real Estate – Related Bills That Passed
  • 28. 28 Ordinary Things that were expected or not surprising
  • 29. 29  Abolished PRADA board & created a commission (7 legislators, 2 non-legislators)  Provides for RFPs  Group to work quickly – hope to get done as soon as practicable Prison Relocation
  • 30. 30 Gas Tax  Persuasive case by Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce and local government that more revenues are needed  Early push to allow 10 cent local option tax faded  Three bills in play: – Raise tax by 7.5 cents, phased in – DOA – Decrease the gas tax, increase the sales tax, but “not a tax increase” – DIED, killed by sponsor’s own committee. – Change the way it’s calculated; may have raised tax over time – DIED
  • 31. 31 Education Funding  Public education – Funded new students – 2.5% increase in per-pupil spending  High-quality preschool – Funding by private investors  Higher education – 11.2% increase  STEM  Speaker’s $300 million initiative fell short
  • 32. 32 Issues That May Be Headed Our Way
  • 33. 33  Title and Escrow Insurance Related Amendments  Uniformity of Healthcare Practice Acts (DOPL)  Non Profit Organizations & Tax Issues  Competency Based Education  Privatizing State Golf Courses  Cyber Bullying Master Study Resolution
  • 34. 34  Air Quality  Drone Technology  DUI Standards  Water Issues  Daylight Savings Time  Minimum Wage Master Study Resolution
  • 35. 35 How To Succeed  Relationships with legislators  Relationships with lobbyists  Strategic alliances  Work with trade associations  Take reasonable positions  Be ever-vigilant
  • 36. 36  We strategize with clients  We monitor the Legislative Session  We draft legislation  We help get bills passed  We help get bills killed  We seek appropriations  We help with incentive packages What We Do
  • 37. 37  We help with cities, counties, mayors, city councils, county councils and county commissions  We help clients get whatever they need to protect their businesses (no request is too difficult) What We Do
  • 38. 38 A Few Case Studies  “Four Bill Lift” – Five-mile buffer zone requirement – DIED – Bill to give DEQ authority to prohibit incineration if they decided there was a better technology – DIED – Bill to require two-mile buffer zone for new plants only – PASSED with our amendments – Resolution giving plant permission to move to Tooele County – PASSED
  • 39. 39 Solar Production Tax Credit  Production Tax Credit in place since 2007 for other renewables  Solar projects more economically viable than they were  One bill in play: – Provide tax credit for solar - PASSED
  • 40. 40 Access to Voter Registration Data  Utvoters.com  Two bills in play: – Bill that would have made voter registrations private – DIED – Bill that makes voter registrations private except for certain purposes – PASSED once amended to allow Lexis Nexis to access data
  • 41. 41 Some other successes  Stopped automatic indexing of gas tax  Crafted compromise on “no more stringent” bill  Killed bill that would have increased car insurance rates
  • 42. 42  Get in the Game – Stay apprised of any developments • Legislature has study committees that meet monthly • Master study list gives some idea of issues to be studied – As we saw this session, reading the newspaper is not enough – If you see an issue of concern, what can you do about it? – Contact us. We can help Protecting Your Business
  • 43. 43  Be vigilant – stay informed  Think of ways that legislation can help your business – No request is too crazy / it is almost never too late  We’re here to help – feel free to call – regarding business issues… – or even the state tree Takeaways
  • 44. 44  Mike Bailey direct: (801) 536-6777 cell: (801) 201-0115 email: mbailey@parsonsbehle.com twitter: @utahcounselor Thank you