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2024 Capitol Report: Week Two

2024 Capitol Report: Week Two

14 days down, 31 more to go!

This week is Energy Week up on Capitol Hill, and we’re keeping a close eye on over 12 energy-related bills as they move through the legislative process. Many of these bills, along with others on our radar, will be discussed in committee meetings. These meetings are where lawmakers from all over Utah gather to talk about these bills and decide whether they move forward. Below, you’ll find this week’s schedule for these committee meetings. It’s important to stay informed and engaged with us as we work on energy policy in our state.

The New

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

 

House Bill 374 STATE ENERGY POLICY AMENDMENTS, would modify Utah’s energy policy and establish priorities for investment and importance to the state. Our team is currently watching this piece of legislation for possible issues.

 

House Bill 373 ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY AMENDMENTS, makes changes to the Air Quality Advisory Board, giving more power to the Coordination Council and adding members from the manufacturing and fuels industries. Our team is currently watching this legislation and is looking into the potential harms of including industry in the board. 

 

House Bill 214 ELECTION MODIFICATIONS, would Update the rule for valid mailed ballots. The election office would need to have received the ballot before the polls close on election day, instead of requiring a clear postmark before election day. Our team is opposing this legislation as it would create a barrier for civic engagement. 

 

House Bill 215 HOME SOLAR ENERGY AMENDMENTS, would modify the Residential Solar Energy Disclosure Act by allowing customers to cancel a solar agreement within 15 days after receiving their second monthly electricity bill following solar installation and requiring solar companies to inform customers of this right. Our team is currently watching this bill as it would be a new safeguard for low-income homeowners. 

 

House Bill 109 SAFE SCHOOL ROUTE EVALUATIONS, would mandate that a school traffic safety committee must suggest infrastructure improvements in child access plans submitted to the Department of Transportation and local highway authorities. HEAL Utah supports this bill as it would help make safer routes for students, in turn lowering dependence on vehicle drop-off and pickups.

 

Senate Bill 120 INTERMOUNTAIN POWER AGENCY MODIFICATIONS, would modify the board members of the Intermountain Power Agency: the Utah Legislature would hold 4 of the 7 seats, 2 would come from local power entities, and 1 would be appointed by the governor. Our team is opposing this as we worry about the potential overreach of important decisions to reduce fossil fuels. 

 

Senate Bill 118, WATER EFFICIENCY AMENDMENTS, Would provide incentives through grant opportunities for new residential developments if developers use water-efficient landscaping. HEAL Utah supports this bill as it will help conserve water and in theory, help bring more water to the Great Salt Lake.

The Good: Movement on Bills HEAL Utah Supports

House Bill 11, Water Efficient Landscaping Requirements, would restrict the use of lawn or turf in new governmental builds within the GSL basin. This bill passed the House and is now on its way to the Senate Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Committee. TAKE ACTION Contact members of the committee and ask them to vote in favor of this bill.

 

House Bill 279, Air Quality Amendments, would mandate 50% reductions in air pollutants, including fine particulate matter, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxide, in the Wasatch Front area by 2033, and would require state agencies to create emissions reduction plans. HEAL Utah supports this bill as a way to create achievable plans to reduce air pollution in the state. TAKE ACTION: Currently, this bill is still stuck in the House Rules Committee. We encourage you to contact members of the committee and urge them to push this bill forward. 

 

House Bill 85, Electric Bike Amendments, aims to clarify the regulations regarding electric bicycles. The bill proposes that electric bicycles should have cranks installed when they are originally made, and it also emphasizes that electric-assisted bicycles are not the same as mopeds or motorcycles. HEAL Utah, supports this bill as it will help regulate the use of electric bicycles and reduce vehicle emissions. This bill is currently scheduled to be discussed at the Senate Business and Labor Committee.  

 

Senate Bill 142, Lawn Equipment Tax Credits, would Create a 30% tax credit on retail sale of electric-powered lawn equipment for residential and commercial use. This bill is currently scheduled to be discussed at the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee.  

The Bad: Movement on bills HEAL Utah opposes

Senate Bill 57, Utah Constitutional Sovereignty Act, Attempts to bypass federal regulations, with disastrous implications for air quality, such as the EPA’s Ozone Transport Rule. This bill passed the House Floor and is on its way to the Senate. TAKE ACTION! Contact the Senate Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Committee and ask them to VOTE NO. 

 

Senate Bill 75, Mineral Amendments, Adds “critical mineral deposit”, changes tax credit limits for mining exploration, and requests federal consultation regarding critical mineral deposits. This bill passed the Senate Floor and is on its way to the House Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Committee. TAKE ACTION! Contact committee members and ask them to “Amend to include community consultation with prior and continued consent on mining projects to receive the tax credit.”

 

Senate Bill 120, Intermountain Power Agency Modifications, would modify the Intermountain Power Agency’s board: the Utah Legislature would hold 4 of the 7 seats, 2 would come from local power entities, and the governor would appoint 1. Currently, the Senate has not assigned this to a committee. 

 

House Bill 241, Clean Energy Amendments, adds nuclear and coal bed methane etc. to the definition of “clean energy”. HEAL Utah opposes this bill and encourages you to contact the House Floor to vote NO on this bill. 

Looking Forward

This week HEAL Utah’s community lobbying team will be prioritizing bills that we are in support of helping them move forward. HEAL’s policy team will be focusing in on legislation that we oppose, and look for ways to amend or fully stop these pieces of legislation.  We are also preparing for an influx of public hearings for bills that we are monitoring, making sure to listen in and help community members provide public comments.

Events/Community Lobbying

Join us tomorrow, Tuesday, January 30, virtually at 10 AM, or in person at the Utah State Capitol for our second community lobbying training! Get a quick breakdown of the legislation we are tracking, tour the capitol, and get a chance to speak face-to-face with your lawmakers. (It’s not as scary as it sounds!)

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.