Our 2021 General Legislative Session concluded and over 500 bills were passed this year. We also passed a budget, which is the most important work that we do every year. This newsletter is a summary of some of the legislation that passed regarding business, transportation and water.
To help our Utah businesses thrive and allow for more innovation, we passed H.B. 217 Regulatory Sandbox Program Amendments, which creates a "sandbox" program where companies can suspend certain regulations for a limited period of time while they test new ideas. This allows companies to see if their ideas work before enacting regulations. It is important to note that H.B. 217 does not suspend regulations pertaining to public health and safety measures.
Electronic Free Speech
Over the past year, there have been concerns regarding the unfair censorship of individuals online. The Utah Senate sees the dangers of these practices within Big Tech and took action by passing S.B. 228 Electronic Free Speech Amendments, which increases transparency within social media corporations to protect users from unequal censorship. Under this bill, social media organizations must notify users anytime their content is censored. Once notified, users can appeal the moderation and provide evidence in opposition to the censorship. Additionally, this bill requires social media companies to release a complete list of moderation practices, allowing individuals to make informed decisions and holding organizations accountable for unfair practices. Unfortunately this bill was vetoed by the governor.
In an effort to better meet the needs of our growing state, H.B. 433 Amendments Related to Infrastructure Funding, establishes $264 million in bonding for public transportation and transit. This funding will go towards projects like double tracking the front runner. The bill also creates a dedicated revenue stream to fund transit solutions in cottonwood canyons.
H.B. 18 Driver Education Amendments, extends the term of a learner permit from one year to 18 months. This change does not prevent youth from getting their license upon turning 16. In addition, this bill removes the required six observation hours for driver education observation for 15-17-year-olds.
As the second driest state in the nation, water conservation and the Colorado River are priorities to Utah lawmakers. H.B. 297 Colorado River Amendments has been created to preserve, conserve and protect Utah’s legal share of the Colorado River that was guaranteed in the Colorado River Compact nearly 100 years ago.
Approximately 60 percent of Utah’s population relies on the Colorado River for their drinking water, but despite being the most reliable water source in the western United States, Utah currently uses only 54 percent of what was allocated to the state in the Colorado River Compact. H.B. 151 State Infrastructure Bank Amendments, allows the state infrastructure bank fund to be used for public water and sewer infrastructure projects.
Along with Utah’s management of big water projects, it is important that individuals do what they can to conserve the water we’ve been allocated for household use and irrigation. S.B. 199 Water Amendments, creates a grant program to help small secondary water retailers install secondary water meters and directs the Legislative Water Development Commission to support the development of a unified, statewide water strategy to promote water conservation and efficiency.
I Look Forward to Hearing From You!
I'll try to continually keep you informed about my work on the Hill – likewise, please keep in touch – I’d love to hear your insights and opinions.
I can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You’re also welcome to join me at the Capitol and if you’d like to meet with me in person outside of interim or the legislative session, you can reach Jason Gould at email@example.com. He’ll help us get in touch.
I’m truly grateful for the opportunity you’ve given me to serve in this capacity. We live in a unique and special place. Thank you for all you do to make Utah the best state in the nation – and thanks for paying attention.
Until next time,
Senator Dan McCay
Utah Senate District 11