Cigarette vending machines will be outlawed except in bars and private workplaces, senators decided Tuesday.
The bill had already passed the House and now goes to the governor.The new law will increase the penalty for selling cigarettes to a minor, anyone under the age of 19, outlaw smoking in schools and day-care centers during the hours children are present and stop vending machine sales except in private clubs, beer bars or private work places where minors aren't normally found.
"This is not a moral issue," said Sen. Winn Richards, D-Ogden, a physician. "It is a health issue. Studies show that 60 percent of smokers started when they were under age."
The bill had been amended in committee to delay the banning of cigarette machines for two years. But senators decided not to wait, and the ban will take effect this year.
"I hate cigarette smoking as much as anyone," said Sen. Glade Nielsen, R-Roy. "But this bill sends the wrong message to Utah visitors - we're inhospitable. That gives us a bad national image. You won't even be able to buy cigarettes from a machine in the airport or in restaurants."
But Richards said restaurants and other locations can still sell cigarettes, and thus be responsible for checking identification on younger buyers.
(BU) A CONTROVERSIAL HOUSE BILL banning surrogate par-enting except for "altruistic" reasons was amended by the Senate to clarify the term meant that a woman cannot carry a baby for profit or gain. The House agreed to the amendment and the bill now goes to the governor for his signature.
(BU) SENATORS ALSO GAVE preliminary approval to a bill requiring hospitals to give patients detailed bills but only after amending the bill so the patient must ask for such a bill.
Currently, most hospitals don't provide a detailed bill to the patient but send coded bills to the patient's insurance company.
"I asked for my bill once, and I couldn't understand it at all it was so technical," said Sen. Chuck Peterson, R-Provo. He and others said such a detailed bill will only mean more work for hospital administrators and doctors and they must explain the bills.
But Sen. Haven Barlow, R-Layton, said no one would accept a bill from his auto mechanic that didn't list all the work and parts. "Why should you accept the same from a hospital when it deals with your health?"
(BU) WARNING THE STATE could be facing a crises on the scale of the failed thrifts, the House voted 46-19 to create a state insurance fund to pay for cleanups of leaking underground fuel storage tanks.
Under the provisions of SB189, gasoline station owners can buy into the $1 million fund for $250 per fuel tank. That would insure them against the costs of cleanups, as well as pay damages up to $300,000 to injured third parties.
The bill is designed to help independent station owners, particularly those in rural Utah who can't afford self-insurance.
(BU) A $20 MILLION SUPERFUND for hazardous-waste cleanup was approved by the Senate on Tuesday and now goes to the governor.
Originally, Gov. Norm Bangerter wanted $400,000 for such a fund. But as more surplus was found, lawmakers decided to put more than $3 million into the fund. The federal government matches 9-1, so about $20 million will become available to clean up toxic-waste sites.
(BU) AND LAWMAKERS WANT the cost of dumping hazardous waste in Utah to go up. SB125, which now has been approved by the House, raises the price of disposing of a ton of toxic waste from $6 to $8 for Utah companies and from $9 to $20 for out-of-state firms.
By charging the same prices as Idaho and Nevada, officials hope to curb the flow of hazardous waste to the state and raise additional money to deal with the problems the materials cause.
"The message we're trying to send is that we do not want to become the hazardous-waste capital of the West," said House Majority Leader Craig Moody, R-Sandy.