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Day 39: AntiDiscrimination

March 8, 2013

For the first time in Utah, a proposed law protecting the rights of gays and lesbians passed out of committee:

SB0262 Employment and Housing Antidiscrimination Amendments (Urquhart) This bill modifies the Utah Antidiscrimination Act and the Utah Fair Housing Act to address discrimination, including discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

It was heard in Senate Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee. There was a great deal of debate. Those opposed focusing their arguments mostly on their belief that persons affected by this legislation are living an immoral life, and they should not be made a protected class. Those in favor focused well on restating that this bill is not meant to change minds but just to give protection in the workplace and housing. Unlike previous years there were very few personal stories of discrimination, instead the committee was given the results of a U of U study regarding that detailed personal stories.

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The following bills passed unanimously on the consent calendar:
SB 23S01 Lieutenant Governor Candidate Amendments (Knudson)
SB 50 Department of Transportation Liability Amendments (Hillyard)
HB 39S01 Substitute Candidate Amendments (Powell)
HB 334 Special Service District Reorganization (McCay)
HB 348 Local District Amendments (Ipson)
HB 211S02 Concealed Weapon Permit for Service Members (Peterson)
HB 226 Benefits While a Prisoner (Wilson)
HB 229 Criminal Identity Fraud Amendments (Oda)
SB 218 Receiving Centers Funding Amendments (Thatcher)
HB 86 Property Tax Rate Certification Date (Nelson)

These bills passed on 2nd or 3rd reading:

HB 212 Disease Testing for Public Safety Officers Amendments (Brown) Allows disease testing of a prisoner if an emergency services provider or volunteer comes in contact with bodily fluids of the prisoner.

HB 241 Underground Petroleum Storage Tank Financial Viability Study (Eliason) Requires the Department of Environmental Quality to study the financial viability of the Environmental Assurance Program and the Petroleum Storage Tank Trust Fund.

HB 224 Impact Fees Amendments (McCay) Numerous provisions governing certain entities that are required to comply with an impact fee facilities plan.

HB 99S02 Submitting Governmental Reports (Arent) Specifies that governmental reports shall be sent electronically unless a hard copy is specifically requested.

HB 217S02 State Fire Code Act Amendments (Dunnigan) Numerous amendments of the Fire Code.

HB 116 Sudden Cardiac Arrest Survival Act Amendments (Cunningham) Numerous provisions relating to ownership of or tampering with an AED.

HB 117 Regulation of Tattoo Industry (Stanard) Addresses identification, parental consent, etc. of a minor and protects businesses if ID is not valid.

HB 205 Contingency Plans for Political Subdivisions (Ivory) Requires a political subdivision that receives federal funds comprising 10% or more of the political subdivision’s annual budget to develop and publish a contingency plan describing how the political subdivision will operate in the event that the federal funds it receives are reduced.

HB 300 Retention of Sales and Use Tax Collections by Certain Remote Sellers (Eliason) Authorizes remote sellers who voluntarily collect a sales and use tax to retain 18% of sales and use taxes the remote sellers would otherwise remit to the State Tax Commission.

HB 204S05 Election Amendments (Eliason) Changes dates for submitting of absentee ballots to Thursday before Election Day. It was stated this was due to lack of Saturday mail delivery.

HB 92 Factual Innocence Assistance Amendments (Froerer) Provides that restitution for wrongful conviction may be paid to the spouse under certain conditions.

HB 142 Public Lands Policy Coordinating Office Amendments (Barrus) Requires a comprehensive study of public lands by the Public Lands Policy Coordinating Office and a recommendation as to the optimum use of public lands.

HB 108 Metal Theft Amendments (Draxler) Increases penalties for theft of regulated metal.

HB 135 Medical Malpractice (Sanpei) Amends malpractice actions or arbitration proceedings.

HB 129 Amendments to Powers, Functions, and Duties of Office of Legislative Fiscal Analyst (Wilson)
Authorizes the Office of Legislative Fiscal Analyst to develop a taxpayer receipt website that allows a taxpayer to view on the website an estimate of how the taxpayer’s tax dollars are expended for government purposes.

HB 278 Public Schools Seismic Studies (Froerer) Requires a school district to conduct or update a seismic safety evaluation of a school district building constructed before 1975 if the school district issues certain general obligation bonds on or after July 1, 2013; provides that a school district is not required to conduct or update a seismic safety evaluation of a building constructed before 1975 if a seismic safety evaluation was performed on the building within the 25-year period before the school district issues certain general obligation bonds; and provides that creation of a seismic safety evaluation of a school, or a list of schools needing seismic upgrades, shall not be construed as expanding or changing the state’s or a school district’s common law duty of care for liability purposes.

HB 72 Safe Drinking Water Disclosure Act (Barrus) Requires that label on bags must correctly disclose the fluoride as well as any other materials enclosed.

HB 230S01 Emergency Vehicle Operators Training Requirements (Froerer) Requires an annual emergency vehicle operator’s training course.

HB 246 Expanded Uses of School District Property Tax Revenue (Mciff)
Allows local school boards to use revenue collected from certain capital property tax levies for certain general fund purposes for fiscal year 2013-14; requires a local school board to notify taxpayers of certain uses of property tax revenue. Stated to be important to rural counties where schools are not expanding.

HB 292 Premium Assistance under Medicaid and CHIP (Sanpei) Directs the Utah Department of Health to seek to maximize the use of Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program funds for assistance in the purchase of private health insurance coverage for Medicaid-eligible and non-Medicaid-eligible individuals.

HB 209S02 Public Assistance Restrictions (Brown)
Prohibits recipient of public assistance from accessing or using that money at adult-entertainment, liquor stores, gaming establishments, etc. Required by federal law.

HB 194 State Employee Benefits Amendments (Dunnigan)
Closes an unfunded liability relating to use of sick leave upon retirement; changes to a 401(k) contribution.

HCR 7 Concurrent Resolution on Federal Designation of Critical Impact for Gunnison Sagegrouse (Noel)

HB 31 Enticing a Minor Amendments (Webb) Addresses a loophole by modifying definition of “text messaging”; and provides that the penalties for enticing a minor are based on the level of sexual conduct the actor solicits, seduces, lures, or entices, or attempts to solicit, seduce, lure, or entice a minor to engage in.

HB 105 Serious Youth Offender Amendments (Snow) Gives court greater discretion in transferring jurisdiction from juvenile court to district court.

HB 128 Drivers License Suspension Modifications (Sagers) Allows court to reduce the minimum sentence for DUI to 6 months rather than 2 years if offender is under 19 years of age.

HB 256 Reauthorization of Administrative Rules (Oda) Reauthorizes all state agency administrative rules (which are automatically sunsetted each year).

HB 280S01 County Government Reform (Brown) Authorizes voters to petition for and then vote on a repeal of a previously adopted optional plan to return the county’s form of government to the form the county operated under before the optional plan was adopted.

HB 352 County Government Amendments (Brown) Clarifies when county officials may organize or participate in fundraising for charities.
HB 173 Necessarily Existent Small Schools Funding Amendments (Powell) Provides that a portion of total necessarily existent small schools funding may be distributed in accordance with a formula that considers the tax effort of a local school board.

HB 154 Suicide Prevention Programs (Eliasson) Requires State Board of Education to designate a State Office of Education suicide prevention coordinator to oversee school district and charter school youth suicide prevention programs and other provisions.

HB 104 Wireless Call Location Information (Wheatley) Provides that mobile telecommunications services may (are not required to) provide call location information to law enforcement agencies and public safety communications centers in cases of emergency without a warrant if life is at stake. Issues were with “shall” and “may” language and breadth of the bill.

HB 147 Utah Marriage Commission (Christensen) Creates the Utah Marriage Commission with the Dept. of Health and established its duties.

Sometimes I try to have a little fun on the Senate floor:

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