2012 Utah Legislative Session Wrapup


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Presented in Salt Lake City, this lecture offered participants an overview of the legislation and appropriations that were passed during the General Session of the 2012 Utah Legislature.

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2012 Utah Legislative Session Wrapup

  1. 1. S A L T L A K E C I T Y | R E N O | B O I S E | L A S V E G A S | P A R S O N S B E H L E . C O M2012 Utah Legislative Wrap-upMike BaileyShelly Cordon TeuscherParsons Behle & LatimerMarch 29, 2012 4811-0339-3039
  2. 2. Goals of Today’s Presentation Educate you Alert you to issues that may affect your business Arm you for discussions at backyard barbecues • 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
  3. 3. Outline of PresentationI. Utah Legislature 101II. 2012 Session Review (using themes)III. Protecting your Business by Playing an Active RolePlease ask questions throughout
  4. 4. Composition of LegislatureRepublicans (80) Democrats (24)
  5. 5. Turnover Since Last Session Sen. Dan Liljenquist was replaced by Sen. Todd Weiler (Lawyer) Sen. Chris Buttars was replaced by Sen. Aaron Osmond (CEO, Investor Education) Sen. Dennis Stowell was replaced by Sen. Casey Anderson (Social Service Worker) Rep. David Clark was replaced by Rep. Lowry Snow (Lawyer) Rep. Julie Fisher was replaced by Rep. Stewart Barlow (Physician) Rep. Jackie Biskupski was replaced by Rep. Brian Doughty (Self- employed, ACME Material Handling) Rep. Carl Wimmer was replaced by Dan McCay (Attorney) Rep. Holly Richardson was replaced by Rep. Craig Frank (Businessman)
  6. 6. 2012 Legislative Session Mood was calmer than some years – This is an election year No new taxes, again! No bonding Some squabbling between Senate & House – Senate has fewer members (29, compared to 75) but passed almost as many bills (209, compared to 269)
  7. 7. It was a Very Busy Session 891 bills were numbered; 764 bills were introduced; 478 bills passed The Governor vetoed 2 bills (HB363 (Sex education) and HB414) 72% of the bills were not written & introduced until after the first day The legislators admitted in the press that they cannot keep track of it all Especially the bills in the last few days of the Session
  8. 8. Comparing Bill Passage Over Time 2011 2012 782 764 504 478 Bills Bills Bills Bills Introduced Passed (62%) Introduced Passed (64%)
  9. 9. 2012 Bill Passage By The NumbersRepublican - sponsored bills that passed Democrat - (414) sponsored bills that passed (64)
  10. 10. 2012 Bill Passage By The Numbers Most Prolific Legislators – Republican Senator Curt Bramble (20 out of 26 for 76.9%) – Democrat Senator Ben McAdams (9 out of 15 for 60%)
  11. 11. 2012 Bill Passage By The Numbers 78% 56% 56% 55% Senate Senate House House Republicans Democrats Republicans Democrats
  12. 12. Session’s Broad Themes Local Government Energy Environmental Boards States’ Rights Budget Health Insurance Mandates The Sexy Stuff (always at the end)
  13. 13. Local Government Legislature has mixed feelings about local control but mostly let cities have the reins – Allowed local anti-idling ordinances – Did not prohibit cities from regulating electronic billboards – Did create state ethics committee to hear local ethics issues
  14. 14. Energy Renewable Energy – Allowed businesses to buy “green energy” directly from renewable energy producers Alternative Energy – Existing incentive changed to tax credit – Available to renewable, oil shale, nuclear Energy Infrastructure Uintah Basin Energy Zone
  15. 15. Environmental Boards Adjudication – Permit challenges will be less of a circus – Boards won’t hear appeals of permits – ALJ will hear appeals, Executive Director to make decision Membership – Changing an attempt to make boards more technical and effective
  16. 16. States’ Rights Federal Lands: Sagebrush Rebellion 2.0 – Demanding the federal government turn over lands to state – Lands could be opened up to mining, drilling and grazing Health Care Compact – Asking federal government to cede control of health care programs – Would use “block grant” money from federal government
  17. 17. Budget Budget was $13 billion Had $440 million more to spend – Funded growth in education – State employees - 1% raise – Used mortgage settlement money – More into rainy day fund than required - $11 million – Did not borrow for roads
  18. 18. Health Insurance Mandates Health Insurance Mandates – Important because if passed before 2014, become set in stone for state under federal health care reform – Many bills this session – Only autism pilot project passed • To serve 350 kids at a cost of $30,000 annually • “Back-door mandate”
  19. 19. E-Verify Governor Herbert wanted teeth put in the law – Disappointed it didn’t happen – Will pursue it next year – Bill would have: • Suspended business licenses for violations • Applied to all businesses • Applied to hiring of independent contractors
  20. 20. Other Issues Ag-gag bill Employer premium reduction for wellness programs Open carry law did not pass Alcohol – tinkered with commission Car inspections less frequent Unemployment insurance top rate reduced 2%
  21. 21. Sexy Issues Immigration – Stepped back from the brink (Sandstrom lost voice vote) Tanning Beds – Not for minors Hookah and e-cigarettes – Outlaw them Sex Education – Don’t ask, don’t tell
  22. 22. Protecting Your Business Get in the Game – Stay apprised of any developments – If you see an issue of concern, what can you do about it? – Contact your legislator (le.state.ut.us) – Contact us. We can help
  23. 23. Protecting Your Business 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 We help clients get what they need to protect their businesses
  24. 24. Protecting Your Business Legislature has study committees that meet monthly Master study list gives some idea of issues to be studied
  25. 25. New Faces are Coming in 2013 Numerous legislators are running for other seats – Rep. Chris Herrod (US Senate) – Rep. Stephen Sandstrom (US House-4th District) – Rep. Ken Sumsion (Utah Governor) – Sen. Ross Romero (SL County Mayor) – Sen. Ben McAdams (SL County Mayor) (didn’t have to resign or choose which race to enter) Tea Party may lead to losses by incumbents – (maybe not – “Hatch Factor” – we’ll see on April 21) Redistricting just occurred – Many incumbents will be running in districts that are substantially different from the last election
  26. 26. New Faces are Coming in 2013 Retirements – Senate President Michael Waddoups – House Minority Leader David Litvack – Senate Minority Whip Karen Morgan – Rep. Todd Kiser – Rep. John Dougall – There may be others that have not announced their retirements
  27. 27. Likely Study Issues E-Verify Alcohol Employment Discrimination Product Liability Subcontractors Water CO2 Emissions Encouraging Manufacturing
  28. 28. More Study Topics Privatization Government Competition with Private Sector Agency Retention of Fines and Forfeitures Coal and other severance taxes – Impact on utility rates Telecommunications Taxation Other Issues?
  29. 29. Task Forces Economic Development – To include air quality issues Health System Reform Veterans Reintegration
  30. 30. Don’t Hesitate to Call We’re here to help – never be reluctant to call – About tanning beds… – or sex education… – or even hookah and e-cigarettes Thank you