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SALT LAKE CITY — Food trucks were parked at the base of Capitol steps, serving lunch to the state lawmakers who would soon decide their regulatory fate.
SB250, sponsored by Sen. Deidre Henderson, R-Spanish Fork, calls for uniform regulations for food trucks throughout the state, preventing owners from having to obtain multiple licenses to operate their mobile businesses.
Food truck operators can face as much as $8,000 in fees to meet health, safety and fire standards from the various cities and counties throughout the state.
"As they cross city lines and cross county lines, these different regulations start applying differently. These regulations vary so much from city to city," Rep. Kim Coleman, R-West Jordan, told the House Political Subdivisions Committee on Friday.
The committee voted 9-1 to send SB250 to the full House for consideration. The bill previously passed the Senate with a 23-1 vote.
Coleman, the bill's House sponsor, said the various licenses and fees can be expensive, and the cost is difficult for the small-business owners to anticipate
Fire marshals, restaurant associations, health departments and the Utah League of Cities and Towns were consulted in the process of crafting the bill, she said.
"The stories that we heard from these food trucks are heart-wrenching," said Connor Boyack, of the Libertas Institute. "The amount of regulations that they have to wade through and the duplicative fees have put some truck owners out of business."
Rep. Jim Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville, raised the question of whether food truck operators would pay varying business fees and taxes to operate in multiple locations.
"I really wonder if these trucks really do make the effort to send the money where it is supposed to go," Dunnigan said.
Boyack said the tax issue is "bifurcated" and separate from those the bill seeks to address. Food trucks, he said, currently pay taxes to the places they are originally licensed.
Rep. Logan Wilde, R-Croydon, said it would be "premature" to discuss the policy before handling the tax issues.
"If we do not know where the tax money is supposed to be going, why are we setting up this policy?" asked Wilde, who cast the dissenting vote.