When legislative bills are amended, some confusion and embarrassment may occur for organizations that had taken positions on the bills before they were amended.
Such was the case with the board of governors of the Salt Lake Area Chamber of Commerce concerning HB208. The bill originally called for establishment of the Great Salt Lake Authority, which would have power to tax and issue bonds for creation of Lake Wasatch on the eastern part of Great Salt Lake.The board voted to oppose the taxing and bonding power of the authority but called for extensive study before any work is done to create the lake. Sometime after the board voted, the bill was amended to eliminate the taxing and bonding powers.
But when lawmakers considered the bill, they had the impression the chamber was still opposed to HB208, said David Bird, chairman of the chamber's State Legislative Action Committee.
W. Mack Lawrence, board vice chairman, said, "We ended up sticking out like a sore thumb in our opposition to the bill after it was amended." Lawrence said a major chamber member threatened to withdraw because of the continued opposition.
Wm. James Mortimer, board chairman, said he also received several calls from chamber members objecting to the board's continued opposition to the bill after it was amended. Mortimer said that type of situation will have to be monitored more closely in the future.
Meanwhile, the Legislature sent the issue of creating Lake Wasatch to an interim committee for study.
Overall, Bird said the Legislature supported the chamber's position on several bills by passing the bills. Other bills on which the board took a position either didn't pass or were referred to a committee for study. In some instances no bills were introduced.