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Special legislative session yields 4 non-prison-related bills

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Special legislative session yields 4 non-prison-related bills

By Katie McKellar | Posted - Aug. 23, 2015 at 10:45 a.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY — While Wednesday's special session of the Utah Legislature focused on the relocation of the Utah State Prison, lawmakers also passed four other bills.

SB1001 amended provisions related to a credit against or a refund of an overpayment of corporate franchise or income taxes.

Gov. Gary Herbert vetoed the original version of the bill, SB94, because the effective date of the bill meant the cost of implementation was not funded and not prioritized as part of the budget process.

The tax policy also is intended to be retroactive to January 2015, but the effective date is not until 2017, so the bill creates inconsistency and "needlessly complicates its implementation," Herbert said.

SB1001 made technical changes to address the governor's concerns, and it will take effect upon approval by the governor.

"The governor was wise in his decision," said the bill's sponsor, Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper. "It would have required the tax commission to hold refunds for a year or a year and a half for people who had those refunds owed to them."

Upon the governor's approval, the bill will equalize refunds to have the same window of statute of limitations as government deficiencies.

"So if you owe the government money, you have the same window of liability as when the government owes you money," Stephenson said.

SB1002 amends statutory qualifications for the Medicaid inspector general.

It strikes from the law's code that the person appointed as inspector general "be a certified public accountant or a certified internal auditor," as well as have at least seven years' experience.

The previous Medicaid inspector general's term expired the end of last year, and the governor's office has not yet found an applicant to fill the role, said Sen. Deidre Henderson, R-Spanish Fork, the bill's sponsor.

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Some of the current law's requirements "arbitrarily screen out otherwise qualified people," Henderson said.

"(This will ensure) we have a robust pool of applicants and get the very best qualified person by casting this net a little wider," she said.

SB1003 makes technical changes to provisions regarding criminal offenses and criminal penalties that were amended by HB348, the criminal justice reform bill.

It amends the bill's language regarding the penalty for failing to provide notice regarding damage to an unattended vehicle. In HB348's terminology, it had inadvertently changed the penalty of two other offenses, including offenses for leaving the scene in the event of bodily injury or death, to a class C misdemeanor.

"That was not the intent," said Sen. Stuart Adams, R-Layton.

The bill corrects the language to only change the penalty for failing to provide notice regarding damage to an unattended vehicle from a class B misdemeanor to a class C misdemeanor.

The bill also amend technical definitions related to a person convicted of certain controlled substances.

HB1001 makes technical changes to HB401, which the Legislature passed during the 2015 session clarifying law language that a particular statute is a statute of limitations rather than a statute of repose.

The Legislature passed HB401 because federal judges are asking the Utah Supreme Court to clarify the meaning of statute of limitations in its code, which could have implications for counties' claims to roads crossing federal lands.

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Katie McKellar

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