Due to the sudden rush of pre-filed bills for the Legislature, the board of governors of the Salt Lake Area Chamber of Commerce already has taken a stand on some of them.
The board opposes mandatory rehabilitation for injured workers collecting workmen's compensation, opposes fees in lieu of taxes unless they are user fees, approves of optional forms of county government if the county's ability to tax isn't expanded and approves of some measures to help small business.Gary Fisher, chairman of the chamber's State Legislative Action Committee, said the bill requiring mandatory rehabilitation for injured workers is being pushed by the State Industrial Commission and labor unions but is opposed by the Utah Manufacturers Association.
Fisher said the committee believes it would be too costly to have mandatory rehabilitation for injured workers.
Last year, Fisher said, the chamber's board of governors opposed any attempt to impose fees in lieu of taxes. The committee opposes new fees that are "revenue enhancement" but doesn't oppose user fees imposed on groups receiving direct services from government.
HB9 was considered by the Legislature last January, but it wasn't passed because it gave too much authority to counties to impose taxes, Fisher said. The board likes the idea of optional forms of county government but doesn't want legislation that gives counties expanded taxing authority.
Dale Zabriskie, chairman of the chamber's Small Business Legislative Committee, presented at Tuesday's board meeting the draft of a regulatory flexibility law designed to define what is a small business and how to help them.
He said the idea of a regulatory flexibility law came from the White House Conference on Small Business and has been studied by the committee for more than one year.
The proposed bill would require state regulatory agencies, when formulating rules and regulations, to publish notice of and hold public meetings, allow small-business owners to testify at the hearing on the effect the regulations will have on small business and consider the impact the regulations will have on small businesses, perhaps exempting some businesses or adopting less stringent regulations.
Zabriskie said state agencies probably will oppose the proposed bill because the bureaucrats don't want to hold the hearings. He said several states have a similar law and Utah's proposed bill is patterned after an Iowa law that has been administered successfully for several years.
The proposed bill also contains a legal definition of a small business, a necessity because Utahns have been relying on the federal definition for many years. A small business, as outlined in the proposed bill, is not an affiliate or subsidiary of a larger business and either has 50 or fewer full-time employees or less than $1 million in gross sales annually.