Booze bills pass as Utah lawmakers race to end legislative session

Posted at 11:02 AM, Mar 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-03 19:36:58-05

SALT LAKE CITY — With the current Utah legislative session set to end Friday, lawmakers were busy on the House and Senate floors with a variety of bills:


The legislature approved a bill to allow “Wine of the Month” club subscriptions in Utah, but there’s a catch: Residents still have to pay the state-mandated cost plus an 88% markup. On top of that, the wine must be picked it up at a local DABC store. The bill now goes to Gov. Spencer Cox for his signature or veto.


The omnibus liquor bill has cleared the Utah State Legislature, meaning some popular hard seltzers will get pulled from convenience store and grocery store shelves because they don’t meet Utah’s legal definition of beer. However, 10 bar licenses will be freed up under a re-working of hotel and resort licenses which will help alleviate a problem that even the DABC commission has complained about. The lack of bar licenses is something the legislature has refused to fix, even after complaints from businesses, the commission and the governor.


The legislature gave final approval to a food truck licensing bill that does a lot more than that. The bill also has a provision blocking enforcement of a noise ordinance tied to business licenses for ATV and OHV rental shops, which impacts the Grand County and Moab area. The bill was amended to preserve Moab’s noise ordinance and curfew, and blocks going after business licenses.


A big election security bill was approved by the legislature, putting security cameras on drop boxes, along with new rules for securing ballots and tabulation, as well as annual voter-tabulation audits. Lt. Governor Deidre Henderson, who has criticized other voting bills in the legislature, supports this one, which now heads to the governor’s desk.


The legislature approved a bill to try and reduce food insecurity in Utah. Senate minority whip Luz Escamilla’s bill sets up an office at Utah State University to address the problem of people not getting adequate access to food. It’s something that’s become a bigger issue during the COVID-19 pandemic.


For residents with an eviction in their past, the legislature is creating a path to wipe it from their records. Provo Rep. Marsha Judkins introduced a bill to allow for expungements which cleared the House and Senate and now goes to Gov. Cox for his signature or veto.


The legislature approved a bill giving 18% of sales tax revenue to the state to go towards improving outdoor recreation experiences. Paradise Rep. Casey Snider’s bill helps with infrastructure, which has been a particular strain on Utah with more and more people going outdoors during the pandemic.