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SALT LAKE CITY -- The mayor of Salt Lake City called lawmakers "hypocritical" for their attack on the city's new anti-idling ordinance. A bill is advancing on Utah's Capitol Hill that would take the teeth out of the law.
"I think that it is pretty hypocritical, really, for the state to say, ‘oh we don't want the federal government telling us what to do,' and then for the state to so easily just override a local issue," Mayor Ralph Becker told KSL Monday.
Rep. Wayne Harper, R-West Jordan, maintained his HB104 is designed to make Salt Lake's excessive idling ordinance -- and any others in the future like it -- more about education and less about enforcement.
Sometimes cities go through and step beyond the bounds and this time they crossed the bounds of constitutional property rights.
–Rep. Wayne Harper, R-West Jordan
The bill requires at least three warnings before a ticket and lowers ticket amounts to those written for parking violations -- all while protecting private property rights.
"We've reined it back and said you can have an education, but it's enforceable on public property or with the permission of private property owners on their property," Harper said.
As it stands now, the ordinance does allow parking enforcement officers to rove for excessive idlers and issue tickets ranging from $50 to $210, depending on the number of offenses and how quickly the citations are paid. City officials said the ordinance is complaint-driven, so only the worst offenders would be likely targets.
Really it makes us pretty frustrated when the Legislature shows up, thinks in 45 days they can make a decision that supersedes the work that we did.
–Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker
Harper initially wanted to scrap anti-idling ordinances altogether.
"Sometimes cities go through and step beyond the bounds and this time they crossed the bounds of constitutional property rights," Harper said.
Becker said the city felt blindsided by the recently-surfaced legislation, considering city officials have taken two years to get public comment and consult air-quality experts.
"Really it makes us pretty frustrated when the Legislature shows up, thinks in 45 days they can make a decision that supersedes the work that we did," Becker said.
HB104 cleared the House of Representatives last week.
Becker said he was uncertain of the measure's prospects for clearing the governor's desk, but said he hoped lawmakers would reconsider the legislation.