Hundreds of new Utah laws take effect today — what changes for you?

Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson, center left, and Gov.
Spencer J. Cox, center right, sign SB127 during a ceremonial
signing with Sen. Mike McKell, bill sponsor, Rep. Brady Brammer,
floor sponsor, and Paris Hilton in the rotunda of the Capitol in
Salt Lake City on Tuesday, April 6, 2021. SB127 increases
transparency in Utah’s congregate care programs.

(Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)



SALT LAKE CITY — From police reform to pandemic response, the changes to Utah policies made by lawmakers during the annual legislative session that ended in March will begin on Wednesday.

Here's a look at the impact some of the 502 bills passed by the 2021 Legislature could have on your life.

Our safety

  • Utahns will no longer need to acquire a permit to carry a concealed weapon under HB60, but permits will still be needed for traveling to states with permit reciprocity agreements. HB216 allows residents under age 21 to apply for and carry a concealed weapon with a provisional permit.
  • A slew of bills related to police officers and their use of force will also become law: SB106 will establish more uniform use-of-force standards across the state. SB157 implements a program to assist cities and counties to establish citizen advisory boards. SB13 seeks to ensure a police officer can't skirt an internal investigation simply by jumping to a new police department.
  • Law enforcement and peace officers will be required to go through training to familiarize them with autism spectrum disorder and other mental disorders under HB334.
  • Lawful permanent residents of the U.S. who have lived in the country for at least five years and who have legal authorization to work here can now qualify to serve as a police officer or dispatcher through SB102.
  • SB34 places limitations on the circumstances when government entities may use image databases for facial recognition comparisons.
  • For juvenile, nonrepeat sexual offenders charged in district court, SB50 lets them stay off the sexual offender registry and receive a sentence consistent with what would be made in juvenile court.
  • Gang enhancements will be limited to only apply to crimes committed by three or more people instead of two under SB51.
  • After noting a rise in first responders suffering mental health effects due to their jobs, the Legislature passed HB248, which will pay for new programs geared to first responders throughout the state.
  • In DUI accidents involving serious injury or death, HB47, also known as "Sarah's Bill," allows courts to refuse releasing a suspect on bail if the court finds they will be a danger to the community if released.
  • Those who commit domestic violence and already have two previous domestic violence convictions within the last 10 years will see enhanced penalties due to SB64.
  • Those convicted of homicide who have not cooperated in the recovery of the victim's remains will be denied parole under SB124.
  • HB26 makes a 24/7 sobriety pilot program permanent for first-time DUI offenders and allows them to avoid suspension of their driver's license.
  • Prompted by outrage when it was discovered an officer shared intimate images of slain University of Utah student Lauren McCluskey after her death, HB147 allows revenge porn charges to be brought in cases where a law enforcement officer shared images inappropriately, even if the victim has died.

With well over a thousand gun enthusiasts in attendance at the South Towne Expo Center during the 2013 Rocky Mountain Gun Show, weapons were well-displayed for potential buyers, Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013.
With well over a thousand gun enthusiasts in attendance at the South Towne Expo Center during the 2013 Rocky Mountain Gun Show, weapons were well-displayed for potential buyers, Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013. (Photo: Ben Brewer, Deseret News, File)

Our community

  • For those looking to rent out part of their homes or property for a little extra cash, HB82 removes some zoning regulations on accessory dwelling units while allowing cities and towns to retain some oversight.
  • In the midst of an affordable housing crisis, SB164 seeks to allow the state to conduct a surplus property inventory across counties and determine areas with the potential to serve as sites for affordable housing projects.
  • The goal of SB31 is to prevent condominium or homeowners associations from prohibiting homeowners from installing security cameras on their property.
  • The state is reorganizing its homelessness resources model through HB347, which creates a central leader on the issue and a new Utah Homelessness Council.
  • SB122 creates an equal parent time schedule in child custody law that outlines when a court should order such a schedule.
  • A city or county will no longer be allowed to limit the connection or reconnection of public energy utilities to a private household under HB17.
  • Cyclists can treat stop signs as yield signs under HB142, as long as they don't see any immediate danger to themselves or others.
  • Prompted by members of the Native American community who expressed frustration at place names like Squaw Peak, SB10 creates a streamlined process for changing the names of places with names considered offensive by members of the Native American community.
  • Utah will gain two new state parks under HB257 — Utahraptor State Park in Grand County and Lost Creek State Park in Morgan County.
  • Through HB341, a committee of southern Utah Native American tribes will be established to look into the creation of a visitors center at Bears Ears National Monument to offset visitation impacts.

Construction continues on Capitol Homes Apartments, a mixed-income, mixed-use development at 1749 S. State in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020.
Construction continues on Capitol Homes Apartments, a mixed-income, mixed-use development at 1749 S. State in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020. (Photo: Kristin Murphy, Deseret News, File)

Our health

  • In an effort to allow more resources to respond to future health emergencies, SB27 expands the scope of physician assistants to let them practice without the supervision of a physician after meeting certain experience requirements. Likewise, SB28 allows P.A.s to independently offer mental health therapy after meeting certain criteria.
  • SB41 requires a health benefit plan to reimburse for telehealth services for a mental health condition if the same service is covered for in-person visits.
  • Two bills seek to change the way first responders approach mental health crises: SB47 will start the process to standardize crisis intervention training for law enforcement across the state, as agencies each have their own versions of it, while SB53 creates a path for EMTs to become trained and certified to respond to mental health emergencies.
  • Under SB63, spouses who serve as caregivers to a partner with a physical or intellectual disability could get reimbursed by Medicaid.
  • Biological fathers will need to pay 50% of a pregnant mother's out-of-pocket medical bills and insurance premiums if she requests it through HB113.
  • County jails will need to provide female inmates the birth control they were on before their incarceration under HB102, which remains in place through a pilot program until 2022.
  • To remove what lawmakers described as "bottlenecks" in the state medical marijuana program, SB170 allows any doctor to recommend medical marijuana to up to 15 patients without becoming a qualified medical provider in the Utah Medical Cannabis Program. SB192 makes dozens of administrative changes to the medical marijuana law.
  • SB189 modifies penalties for selling a tobacco product, electronic cigarette product or a nicotine product to an individual who is younger than 21 years old and makes other changes to laws affecting tobacco stores.
  • For young patients on Medicaid who have cancer or other diseases that affect fertility, HB192 will let them access fertility preservation treatments.

Hope Clinic physician assistant Matt Pierce examines patient Luis Hualinga at the clinic in Midvale on Jan. 6, 2021.
Hope Clinic physician assistant Matt Pierce examines patient Luis Hualinga at the clinic in Midvale on Jan. 6, 2021. (Photo: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News, File)

Our government

  • Prompted by leaders' response to the ongoing pandemic, SB195 restricts Utah gubernatorial, mayoral and local health department powers to issue prolonged emergency orders.
  • If a city wants to try out new voting methods, HB75 allows them to use ranked-choice voting methods and lets cities contract with other counties in the state to run the elections if their own counties refuse or don't have the resources to do so.
  • Utah can now review any presidential executive orders through HB415, which authorizes the attorney general or governor to declare them unconstitutional.
  • In an effort to increase transparency in elections, HB173 will require elections officials to disclose how many ballots they have counted in their results updates, and approximately how many still need to be counted. HB12 streamlines the process to remove deceased Utahns from the voting registry.
  • HB70 will allow registered voters in Utah to receive a text message or email, if they request it, when their ballot has arrived at the elections office.
  • After a debate about whether Utah's current state flag needs a revamp, SB48 creates a task force to look into a new state flag design.
  • HB170 allows residents to request either an email or physical mail, reminding them to renew their vehicle registration.
  • To protect Utah's interests in the Colorado River, HB297 creates the Colorado River Authority of Utah Act as the West grows drier due to environment and population growth.

Cherry blossoms frame the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Monday, April 4, 2021.
Cherry blossoms frame the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Monday, April 4, 2021. (Photo: Annie Barker, Deseret News)

Our schools

  • After a year of on-and-off school closures caused by COVID-19, SB107 calls on health departments to do more to support schools' "test to stay" efforts rather than shifting entire schools to online learning when COVID-19 cases mount.
  • With the proliferation of schools going virtual due to the pandemic, HB38 requires the Utah Education and Telehealth Network to block pornographic and obscene material from public schools' digital resources.
  • Mental health days will become excused school absences through HB81, and HB116 prohibits a school from requiring documentation from a doctor or medical professional to excuse the child due to mental or physical illness.
  • A process to potentially change the name of Dixie State University in St. George begins through HB278.
  • For youth seeking educational alternatives, HB391 creates an apprenticeship program that gives the option of choosing full-time employment, starting college or a combination of both.
  • If a local school allows therapy animals, HB426 requires leaders at that school to implement plans for handling animals.

Third grader Lilly Kinikini keeps socially distanced in class at Washington Elementary School in Salt Lake City on March 19, 2021.
Third grader Lilly Kinikini keeps socially distanced in class at Washington Elementary School in Salt Lake City on March 19, 2021. (Photo: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News, File)

Our businesses

  • HB217 creates a "sandbox" for new businesses that removes outdated regulations for a year as businesses work with regulatory officials.
  • A bill that sparked heated debate, SB87 allows businesses that only dry, style, arrange, dress, curl, hot iron, shampoo or condition hair to practice without a cosmetology license if they get a safety permit. Returning to some of the controversy surrounding hair braiding in Utah several years ago, HB126 lets those without cosmetology licenses apply wefts without glue or tape.
  • HB404 creates the Utah Immigration Assistance Center as a part of the Governor's Office of Economic Development to help businesses coordinate foreign labor.
  • The goal of SB147 is to make sure all commercial egg-laying hens in Utah are cage-free by 2025.
  • As "microenterprise kitchens" — run by people who prepare and deliver food from their own home around their communities — have become more popular, HB94 requires those small-business owners to obtain a license and undergo a yearly inspection to ensure they follow health guidelines.
  • After some private sellers were cited during the pandemic for violating a law that prohibits price inflation during emergencies, SB86 limits the scope of price controls.
  • SB167 seeks to invigorate the economy by driving film projects like the show "Yellowstone" back into Utah through increased economic incentives with $8,393,700 in tax credit certificates this year from the governor's office.

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