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SALT LAKE CITY — It can be hard to keep track of the comings and goings at the Utah State Capitol during the annual legislative session. Most Utahns just want to know one thing: How could lawmakers’ decisions affect me?
During the 2020 general session, KSL.com will be keeping an eye on bills that could someday make an impact on Utahns’ money and health. In our weekly legislative roundup, we’ll let you know the status of some noteworthy bills being considered.
The general session is rolling into Week 2. Here are some bills to keep an eye on:
Bills that could affect your money
What it says: This bill clarifies that, for Utahns purchasing an aircraft, mobile home, boat or vehicle on the internet, the location of the transaction is where they take possession of the vehicle. So, if you buy a boat from Michigan and have it delivered to Kanab, the transaction legally has taken place in Kanab.
The big picture: This bill is designed to clear up confusion about what jurisdiction is entitled to sales tax for online purchases.
“It’s about getting that sales tax to the right city or county,” says bill sponsor Rep. Norm Thurston, R-Provo. “Currently, the law doesn’t say, so the tax commission doesn’t really know what to do.”
Thurston’s bill has passed out of the House and is now being considered by the Senate.
What it says: This bill, from Rep. Jen Dailey-Provost, D-Salt Lake City, would repeal the state ban on municipalities enacting rent controls on private residential property.
The big picture: Recent reports show prices have spiked over 40% in Ogden and 28% in Salt Lake City over the past five years, according to KSL NewsRadio.
Dailey-Provost said cities and municipalities can propose rent control measures but can’t actually implement them without the approval of the state. Her bill doesn’t propose any kind of specific rent control plan.
While Dailey-Provost said she is opposed to large-scale rent controls, she argues that repealing the ban will give local entities more power to create targeted programs to help homeless and low-income populations.
“Personally, as a constituent, I would oppose my city from exploring options to implement broad sweeping rent controls,” Dailey-Provost said.
But cities should be able to “explore targeted specific tools,” she said. “And, right now, they can’t because that state law prohibits them from considering any of those tools.”
Bills that could affect your health
What it says: Employees were sometimes forced to lie in order to stay home with sick relatives if their employer offers only sick days and not other vacation time, bill sponsor Rep. Patrice Arent, D-Millcreek, says. This bill would allow employees to use sick days while they care for immediate family members.
The big picture: Arent says the bill is supported by the Salt Lake Chamber and she hopes it will gain bipartisan support. HB69 will be heard today in the House Business and Labor Committee.
What it says: This bill would create the Hepatitis C Outreach Pilot Program and appropriate $300,000 in grants to outreach organizations. Bill sponsor Rep. Steve Eliason, R-Sandy, says the bill would help stop the spread of the disease among Utah’s most vulnerable populations.
The big picture: Eliason says other states have significantly curtailed hepatitis C after similar pushes.
“The goal for this is to give out grants to nonprofits that are out there working on the front lines trying to prevent the spread of these diseases,” Eliason said.