The state's new $12 billion annual budget takes effect today, and along with the start of the fiscal year a number of other finance-related laws take effect as well.
One new law that doesn't have anything to do with state spending is a motorcycle license requirement for those under 19 years of age.
Rep. Paul Neuenschwander, R-Bountiful, sponsor of HB72, said it will have no effect on riders 19 or older. But for younger riders, many of whom may be getting their first motorcycle license, the new law is aimed at getting them better trained and, hopefully, more likely to avoid often-deadly motorcycle accidents.
Neuenschwander said statistics show approximately 143,000 Utahns have held motorcycle licenses over the past 15 years.
About 25,000 of those riders have gone through the state-operated two-day motorcycle safety training course. And among those 25,000 riders, only three have been killed in motorcycle accidents. Two of those were former Utahns who died riding out of state.
But among the other 118,000 licensed riders who did not take the state course, 339 have been killed in motorcycle accidents.
"That's something like one death in 8,300 riders for state-trained riders compared to one in 340 fatalities for the others a big difference," said Neuenschwander.
The new law doesn't require current adult riders to do anything new or different, although it likely would be a good idea for them to take the two-day state safety course, as well. When current riders renew their drivers' licenses, the new car/motorcycle license will look different from just a car license.
"We want to cut down on these (motorcycle) fatalities. This new law has nothing to do with wearing helmets we knew we couldn't get a (mandatory) helmet (wearing law) through the Legislature," said Neuenschwander. "But we do want to get good training the state course has been certified by a national motorcycle safety group for younger riders."
In fact, HB74 doesn't even mandate that young riders get the state training it just gives a big incentive to do so. If a young rider doesn't get the training, he can only get a motorcycle learning permit, good for several months, which restricts the time of day he can ride and won't allow a passenger to ride with him. A state-trained youth can get a motorcycle license upon being certified as taking the class and passing the motorcycle driving test.
Among the other new laws that take effect today:
• Delta Air Lines gets a new tax incentive aimed at keeping the airline's Western hub at the Salt Lake City International Airport.
• The state is authorized to bond for millions of dollars in new road projects.
• Several new education and scholarship programs begin.
• A new tax is placed on some kinds of chewing tobacco.
• New penalties are in effect for not properly securing a load on the highways. This is an attempt not only to reduce littering but to prevent dropping of dangerous materials that may cause accidents.
• The Legislature's first step to "equalize" the costs of public school construction takes place in Salt Lake County.
• State employees get their annual pay raise, this year about 3 percent.• State Auditor Austin Johnson gets a big pay raise. His pay is now set at 95 percent of the governor's pay, giving him this year a raise of $18,405. The governor, attorney general and state treasurer also get pay raises, though much smaller about the same 3 percent as other state employees.
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