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?
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
- HB 11 Water Efficient Landscaping Requirements: Restricts lawn use on new government builds within the Great Salt Lake Basin. Passed Senate Floor—Heading to the Gov.
- HB 65 Active Transportation and Canal Trail Amendments: Requires canal trail development and preservation. Held at the House Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Committee.
- HB 126 Emissions Regulation Amendments: Restricts high NOx emissions vehicles in certain counties. Held at the House Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Committee.
- HB 279 Air Quality Amendments: Mandates air pollutant reductions by 2033. Introduced: The House Rules Committee has yet to be assigned to a standing committee.
- HB 85 Electric Bike Amendments: Clarifies regulations for electric bicycles. Passed both House and Senate Floor—Sent to Governor.
- HB 109 Safe School Route Evaluations: Requires infrastructure recommendations in child access routing plans. Failed recommendation at the House Transportation Committee.
- SB 142 Lawn Equipment Tax Credits: Creates tax credits for electric-powered lawn equipment. Has not been recommended by the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee.
- HB 154 Bicycle Amendments: Modifies regulations for cyclists. Passed House Floor—Sent to Senate Transportation Committee.
- SB 118 Water Efficiency Amendments: Provides incentives for water-efficient landscaping. Passed Senate Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Committee—sent to Senate Floor.
- HB 449 Pedestrian Safety and Facilities Act Modifications: Enhances pedestrian and bicyclist safety guidelines. Passed House Transportation Committee—sent to House Floor.
- HB 448: State Water Program Reporting Requirements: Addresses reporting requirements and collaborations for water optimization efforts. Assigned to House Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Committee
- SB 170 Clean Truck Incentive Program: Establishes a zero-emission truck exchange grant program. Assigned to Senate Transportation, Public Utilities, Energy, and Technology Committee.
- SB 196 Great Salt Lake Amendments: Assigns duties for managing the Great Salt Lake. Assigned to Senate Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Committee.
- HB 117 Wind Energy Facility Siting Modifications: Requires new wind energy facilities to go through a certain military clearance process. Passed Senate Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Committee—sent to Senate Floor.
- HB 107: Recycling Facility Transparency Amendments: Defines a recycling facility and requires political subdivisions to publish data about the collection of recyclable materials. Passed both House and Senate Floor— Sent to Governor
The Bad: Movement on bills HEAL Utah opposes
- SB 57 Utah Constitutional Sovereignty Act: Enables Utah to challenge federal regulations infringing on state sovereignty. Governor signed into law.
- SB 172 Protection Areas Revisions: Allows for the construction of Parley’s Canyon Mine. Was unassigned from the Senate Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee and sent back to the Senate Rules Committee.
- SB 155 Road Usage Charge Program Amendments: Weakens the Road Usage Charge Program. Passed Senate—sent to House Rules.
- S.B. 156: Tax Modifications: New tax rate for specific uncontained and unprocessed class A radioactive waste. Passed Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee— sent to Senate Floor
- HB 241: Clean Energy Amendments: Changes the term ‘renewable’ to ‘clean’ as it relates to the generation of energy. Passed Senate Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Committee— sent to Senate Floor
- HB 373 Environmental Quality Amendments: Makes changes to the Air Quality Advisory Board. Passed House Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Committee—sent to House Floor.
- HB 502 Critical Infrastructure and Mining: Strips counties of the ability to regulate mining operations. Introduced: House Rules Committee.
- SB 75 Mineral Amendments: Makes changes to tax credits and requests federal consultation regarding mineral deposits. Passed Senate Floor—sent to House Rules Committee.
- SB 120 Intermountain Power Agency Modifications: Modifies the board membership of the Intermountain Power Agency. Introduced: Senate Rules Committee.
- HB 407 Eminent Domain Modifications: Blocks eminent domain rights for mining activities. Passed House Government Operations Committee—sent to House Floor.
- HB 191 Electrical Energy Amendments: Sets conditions for early retirement of electrical generation facilities. Passed Senate Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Committee—sent to Senate Floor.
- 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.
- 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.
- We’re thrilled to extend an invitation to our upcoming Days on the Hill, where you’ll gain invaluable insights into the legislative process and get hands-on experience lobbying for clean air, clean energy, and community protection from toxic waste! Here’s a quick rundown of the events awaiting you.
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.
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.