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Utah Legislature begins 2021 General Session

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Bills to watch 

Skyler Beltran | Lehi Free Press 

The 2021 Utah Legislative General Session began on Tuesday. The 45-day session is sure to bring long days and exhaustion to Utah’s legislators, who will pass hundreds of new bills between now and March. Visit www.le.utah.gov to view filed bills and their status throughout the legislative process.

The following are some bills of particular interest to watch as the session progresses.  

1. H.B. 160 Distracted Driver Amendments 

Sponsored by Carol Moss (D)

This bill amends provisions related to the use of a handheld wireless communication devices while operating a motor vehicle. This bill would prohibit the use of handheld wireless communication devices whiles operating a moving motor vehicle. 

2. H.B. 169 Disaster Response And Recovery Act Amendments 

Sponsored by Brady Brammer (R)

This bill amends the Disaster Response and Recovery Act to allow the Legislature or a legislative body of a political subdivision to limit certain emergency powers during a state of emergency. It would allow the Legislature, by joint resolution, to limit certain emergency powers during a declared state of emergency, including powers exercised by the Division of Emergency Management; the governor; and the chief executive officer of a political subdivision of the state. 

3. H.B. 68 Rental Expenses Disclosure Requirements 

Sponsored by Marsha Judkins (R)

This bill amends an owner’s duties under the Utah Fit Premises Act. Requires an owner of a residential rental unit to make expense-related disclosures to a potential renter before accepting an application fee or any other payment; prohibits an owner from charging a renter under a rental agreement a fee, tax, assessment, or other cost that is not disclosed in the rental agreement, except under certain conditions.

4. H.B. 61 Concealed Carry Exemption During State of Emergency 

Sponsored by Lehi Representative Cory Maloy (R)

This bill suspends the requirement to have a concealed carry permit to carry a firearm during a declared state of emergency. Suspends the requirement to have a concealed carry permit if: the person may lawfully possess a firearm; and a state of emergency has been declared locally or statewide.

5. H.B. 60 Conceal Carry Firearms Amendment 

Sponsored by Walt Brooks (R)

This bill modifies provisions related to carrying a concealed firearm. Provides that an individual who is 21 years old or older, and may lawfully possess a firearm, may carry a concealed firearm in a public area without a permit.

6. H.B. 159 Higher Education Speech 

Sponsored by Jordan Teuscher (R)

This bill enacts provisions related to discriminatory harassment and expression at an institution of higher education. Enacts provisions related to discriminatory harassment at an institution of higher education, including provisions that: prohibit an institution from punishing certain acts of speech that do not constitute discriminatory harassment; and create a cause of action related to discriminatory harassment at an institution of higher education; and enacts provisions related to the free expression of policies of an institution of higher education.

7. H.B. 84 Use Of Force Reporting Requirements 

Sponsored by Angela Romero (D)

This bill requires local law enforcement agencies to collect and submit data on the use of force to the Bureau of Criminal Identification. Adds the use of force to the data required to be sent to the Bureau of Criminal Identification; specifies that the information shall be submitted in accordance with Federal Bureau of Investigation standards.

8. H.B. 139 Competency Based Hiring Amendments 

Sponsored by Norm Thurston (R)

This bill amends provisions related to hiring principles for certain state and local government employees. Precludes certain state and local government entities from requiring a minimum educational requirement for employment, except where educational qualifications are legally required to perform the duties of the position; requires certain state and local government entities to: consider comparable experience or ability as equal to education when determining a candidate’s satisfaction of minimum qualifications, with specific exceptions; and ensure that job descriptions and job postings are based on the skills and competencies required to perform each job.

9. H.B. 116 Student Attendance Amendment 

Sponsored by Adam Robertson (R)

This bill addresses school absences for mental or physical illness. Prohibits requiring documentation from a medical professional for an absence due to mental or physical illness.

10. S.B. 74 Price Control Repeal

Sponsored by Lehi Senator Jake Anderegg 

This bill repeals the Price Controls During Emergencies Act. 

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