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Utah Legislature

The Utah Legislature is in session.  A record 1,122 bills have been drafted.  It has been said that the only thing more difficult for the legislature than not having enough money is to have too much.  With $517 million in surplus heading into the session, there is a long line of people with their hands out looking for money.  The total proposed budget is $14.8 billion.  

Among the highest priorities for both the Governor and the Legislature are two issues that are relevant to Epic and our clients:  Air Quality and water infrastructure. There will be a substantial number of bills on both of these topics this session and there could be significant changes coming, depending on the outcome of these bills.   

 

SB 28, for example seeks to mandate that all retail providers of water have a tiered pricing plan that encourages conservation.  This bill seeks to require increased cost for water as more water is used.  As currently drafted, it would fit all providers with more than 500 connections.  

SB 80 seeks a portion of the new transportation tax to fund water infrastructure projects.  The bill proposes that a 1/16% sales tax rate be redirected from the Transportation Fund to the new Water Infrastructure Restricted Account that was created last year.  The state has identified $33 billion in needed upgrades and this is the first of many proposals to address this need. 

The air quality bills will have one thing in common; They seek to reduce or eliminate the number of “red days” in Utah.  Expect increased monitoring, new compliance requirements, enforcement and new air quality rules to come out of this session.