Here’s the big issues coming up in the Utah State Legislature

Posted at 12:14 PM, Dec 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-12 14:14:15-05

SALT LAKE CITY — Medical marijuana, air quality, health care, elections, water and energy. Those are some of the big topics coming up in next year’s session of the Utah State Legislature.

The Legislative Management Committee met on Monday to hear from interim committees, which have been studying various issues in preparation for the 2017 legislative session. Each committee presented a report outlining big issues they believe need to be addressed by the full legislature.

The Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Interim Committee noted in its report that Tier 3 gasoline standards and energy efficient tax credits will be big topics. Government Operations recommends a look at how political candidates are nominated, as well as a review of same-day voter registration.

Medical marijuana will be one of the biggest issues the Utah State Legislature will deal with. However, the Health & Human Services Interim Committee could not reach consensus on it. That means all the bills will likely be considered, instead of a recommended piece of legislation. The committee also could not reach consensus on particular legislation dealing with opioid misuse.

Legislation will be proposed to create a “statewide crisis line” for mental health services using 3-1-1. There’s also going to be bills that would increase the availability of affordable housing and a bill that phases out solar tax credits. Liquor policy will get a review, although the Business and Labor Interim Committee was not specific about it (expect legislation on funding the DABC) in Monday’s report. Marriage licenses will also go up $20 under a proposed bill, but you’d get a rebate if you attend premarital counseling offered through the state.

Some items may come up, but so far their committees haven’t recommended bills, including: death penalty repeal, private security work by off-duty cops, and anti-pornography issues (including an Internet filtering bill).

According to figures provided by the Utah State Senate, there are 976 bills drafted, which is 73 more than this time last year. The bill requests appears poised to top last year’s record of more than 1,400 bills introduced in the 45-day legislative session.

Meanwhile, lawmakers may get a little bit of extra pay for the work they do. A legislative committee voted Monday to ultimately move toward adding compensation for lawmakers for up to 10 days of training. Currently, legislators make $273 per day while in session or attending an interim committee meeting, but do not get paid for drafting legislation, research or some required training.

Read the Legislative Management Committee’s report here: