House passes bill in response to revealing audit of USTAR

Published: Wednesday, March 12 2014 2:56 p.m. MDT

In response to a revealing audit of USTAR last year, the House and Senate have passed a bill that would set certain requirements for the Utah Science Technology and Research initiative governing authority.

Jordan Allred, Deseret News

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SALT LAKE CITY — In response to a revealing audit last year, the House and Senate have passed a bill that would set certain requirements for the Utah Science Technology and Research initiative governing authority.

The House passed SB62 with a 72-2 vote, and the bill will now be sent to the governor's office.

The legislative audit of USTAR, released in October, revealed lapses in oversight and said officials failed to accurately report jobs, revenue and return on investment.

USTAR was created eight years ago to bolster the state's economic development though university research and commercialization of technologies.

SB62 requires USTAR to lease buildings to state universities and to have written standards and expectations for technology outreach programs and research teams. The bill also requires USTAR to provide a detailed report and audit annually.

"All in all, I think this bill that we have addresses a lot of problems that we found with USTAR — not that there won’t be more tweaking down the road — but I think we’re in a pretty good place with this bill," said Rep. Jim Bird, R-West Jordan, the bill's House sponsor.

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