By Rep. Carl Albrecht
March 14 is the last day of the legislative session. It has been an honor to represent you through the process as we have considered some bills on Utah’s biggest issues.
Last Tuesday night, a resolution, SJR 9, came from the Senate to the House. This resolution called for Utah to join about a dozen other states in calling for a Constitutional Convention to amend the Constitution, as allowed by Article V of the United States Constitution. After much debate, it passed through the House with a vote of 42-32. This week, the Tax Reform Bill, HB 411, was also supposed to be heard. This bill would have lowered the sales and income tax rate and started taxing services. The House decided on Thursday to hold this bill for now to study further. It will possibly be heard in a special session later this summer.
Last week, I had the opportunity to meet and speak with four elementary and middle schools that came up from my district. They were able to take tours of the capitol and be recognized on the House and Senate floors. I also met with descendants of Golden Spike workers from Tabiona and Monroe, led by Ms. Kimberly Quarrell, who came up to honor her great-great-great grandfather who worked on the railroad. Thank you all for coming up to visit the Capitol. Last week, I also participated in the last Rural Caucus of the session. Here, we heard about topics like the effect of legislation on Rural Utah, the 2020 Census and public lands.
Four of my bills have passed both the House and the Senate and three are still being debated. They are listed below.
HB 78 – Federal Designations
This bill requires a governmental entity that is advocating for a federal designation within the state to bring the proposal to the Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Interim Committee for review and legislative approval. This bill passed through the House last Monday and headed to the Senate. I presented it to the Senate Natural Resources committee on Thursday, where it passed with a favorable recommendation. It will be heard in the Senate this week.
HB 110 – Rural Economic Development Incentives
This bill is an amendment to 2018’s HB 390, which authorized a rural employment expansion grant to businesses for the creation of new jobs in fourth, fifth or sixth class counties. HB 110 will raise the maximum total incentive amount a business can apply for from $25,000 to $250,000 to allow and encourage businesses to hire more employees. This bill has been passed by both the House and the Senate and gone to the Governor.
HB 125 – Quantity Impairment Modifications
This bill makes a one-word change to code dealing with water diversion applications, a bill approved by the State Water Task Force. This bill has passed through the House and the Senate and has gone to the Governor.
HB 175 – Transportation of Veterans to Memorials Support Special Group License Plate
This bill creates a special group license plate to support programs to transport veterans to Washington D.C. to visit veterans’ memorials with the Honor Flight Program. This bill has passed through the House and the Senate and gone to the Governor.
HB 220 – Radioactive Waste Amendment
This bill would allow low-level radioactive waste to be classified at the time of acceptance. Before any waste is received, it would have to receive approval from the Division of Waste Management and Radiation Control (DWMRC). This bill has passed through the House and the Senate and is now on the Governor’s desk.
HB 296 – Rural Online Working Hubs
This bill creates a grant program that provide resources to rural counties and qualified non-profits to develop co-working and innovation center facilities. The facilities will allow those rural areas to access broadband infrastructure, hardware, specialty facilities and workspaces that are necessary to become fully engaged in the online workplace. I presented this bill to the Senate Economic Development Committee on Tuesday, where it passed through favorably. It is now on the Senate Floor. Senator Okerlund is the floor sponsor of this bill in the Senate.
HB 384 – Search and Rescue Amendments
This bill modifies the makeup of the Search and Rescue Advisory Board. It reduces the number of volunteers on the board from three to two and increases the number of sheriffs to three. This bill passed through the House on Wednesday and is now headed to a Senate committee on Monday.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me. It is important to me to know what my constituents think about the issues facing Utah. As always, it is an honor to represent you in the House.
Representative Carl Albrecht
Intern to Representative Albrecht