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2024 Capitol Report: Week Four

2024 Capitol Report: Week Four

28 days down, 17 more to go!

Can you believe it? We’re officially past the halfway mark of the 2024 legislative session! Just like the halftime show at the Super Bowl, where Usher wowed us with his moves, we’ve wrapped up our own celebration with Transit Equity Day on the hill. With over 1,092 pieces of legislation on the table, it’s been a whirlwind of proposals and debates. HEAL Utah is keeping tabs on over 50 environmental bills, and we’ve got the highlights of the session – the touchdowns, the fumbles, and everything in between. 

 

 

And hey, if you’ve noticed a few Taylor Swift references along the way, you’re not alone – because what’s a legislative session without a little bit T-Swift?

The New

Here is a breakdown of the new pieces of legislation that HEAL Utah is watching and strategizing around.  

 

  • House Bill 502 Critical Infrastructure and Mining by Representative Snider, if passed, would Strip counties of the ability to regulate mining operations and allow for Parleys Canyon to be mined, among many other mining projects throughout the state.

  • Senate Bill 196 Great Salt Lake Amendments by Senator Blouin, if passed, would Assign duties to the commissioner for managing the Great Salt Lake, including creating a strategic health plan and coordinating with state agencies. It also requires a plan for maximizing water flow during wet years, emphasizing its significance in conserving the lake’s resources.

  • House Bill 473 School Transit Amendments by Representative Briscoe proposes  to create the Transit Access Pass for Students pilot grant program, which is a three-year pilot program to provide funding to schools to provide free public transit passes to the following: student, parent of a student, and LEA staff, including teachers. 

  • HB 434 Station Area Plan Amendments by Representative Abbott proposes changing the rules for Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) when reviewing station area plans. Now, they only need to give an objective opinion. Also, MPOs must let municipalities decide if the plan meets the legal requirements.

  • House Bill 353 Mining Operations Amendments by Representative Bolinder proposes changes in mining permit procedures, removing the requirement for public comment during permit amendments. HEAL Utah worries about this and other changes impacting judicial review, a crucial tool in challenging problematic mining permits.

  • House Bill 433 Brine Amendments by Representative Bolinder outlines regulations for extracting minerals from brine via deep well mining. It allows a board to designate certain areas for multiple mineral extraction, with a process for notification and permits. A study involving state agencies must be conducted and presented to an interim committee for approval, excluding salt cavern mining from these regulations.

  • Senate Bill 211Generational Water Infrastructure Amendments by Senator Adams proposes a council and an agent, funded with $4 million in taxpayer money, to advise Utah’s four largest water districts on long-term water infrastructure plans spanning 50-75 years. Their focus is on addressing future water demands, including projects like dams, pipelines, and negotiations for water imports. The bill also exempts the council and agent from certain transparency laws.

The Good: Movement on Bills HEAL Utah Supports

The Bad: Movement on bills HEAL Utah opposes

Looking Forward

  • Our team is gearing up for action alerts to help you take action and prevent our state from backing fossil fuels. Meanwhile, the Utah legislative body is considering legislation that could impact public participation in saving the Great Salt Lake and potentially give the green light to the Parelys Canyon Mine. Additionally, we’re pushing for net metering to strengthen our energy grid and improve air quality. It’s all hands on deck until March 1st.

Events/Community Lobbying

  • Get ready to test your legislative knowledge and spread some love! Join HEAL Utah this Thursday at 6:30 PM for our exciting Legislative Love Trivia night at HK Brewing. Learn more about our state’s legislative process, energy, and air quality while enjoying a drink with loved ones. It’s the perfect post-Valentine’s Day event. 
 

TAKE ACTION!

Image of HEAL Utah's Clean Air Now sign

Join the movement for cleaner air in Utah!

Our state’s air quality is at risk due to vehicle, building, and industrial emissions, along with the shrinking Great Salt Lake. But there’s hope! You can make a difference by taking action today. Together, we can tackle short-term respiratory problems and long-term chronic illnesses caused by poor air quality. HEAL is leading the way with advocacy for clean air policies, and we need your voice. Fill out our action alert now and reach out to lawmakers to prioritize measures like reducing vehicle and building emissions, enforcing stricter industrial regulations, and safeguarding the Great Salt Lake.

Image of renewable energy sources with HEAL Utah's Logo

Join us to shape Utah's clean energy future!

Our growing population demands a shift from fossil fuels to renewables, benefiting both the environment and our economy. Currently, 85% of our energy is fossil-based, posing health and climate risks. HEAL Utah advocates for renewable energy policies, job creation, and workforce training. Support our cause by filling out this alert to urge lawmakers to back renewables and build a cleaner, healthier Utah!

More ways to Take Action

For a detailed breakdown of ways to get involved during the legislative session, be sure to read our “TAKE ACTION DURING THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION” guide. It provides step-by-step guidance on how you can influence policies and support our mission.