Tom Smart, Deseret News
FILE - Rep. Mike Schultz, R-Hooper, at the Utah State Capitol, Friday, March 4, 2016, in Salt Lake City.

SALT LAKE CITY — A House panel pushed forward a bill Monday that would remove a four-year cap on employment contracts within a law passed last year restricting noncompete contracts in Utah's broadcast media.

The bill does not affect the one-year time limit on how long noncompete contracts can last under Utah law. But it does remove a provision that caps employment contracts at four years.

The bill would replace the cap instead with language stating a contract can be of "reasonable duration, based on the industry standards, the position, the broadcasting employee's experience, geography, and the parties' unique circumstances," according to the bill, HB199.

The House Business and Labor Committee unanimously voted to advance HB199 to the House floor after little debate.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Mike Schultz, R-Hooper, saw no opposition during Monday's committee discussion.

Noncompete contracts prevent employees from going to work for a competitor for a prescribed period of time. Utah law limits the time to one year.

The legislation passed last year focused solely on broadcast media — no other business — and restricts use of noncompete contracts to employees who make more than $47,500 a year. If an employee is fired for just cause or quits, the noncompete clause would be enforced. If the employer fires an employee without cause or doesn't renew the contract, it would not be enforced.

Shultz called it a "fairly simple change" to last year's legislation. He said he agreed to sponsor HB199 after hearing "concerns" about the four-year employment contract restriction.

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Shultz said he'd spoken with several members on both sides of the noncompete contract issue, and he said the changes were met with support.

Utah's major TV stations opposed last year's legislation, arguing they invest thousands of dollars promoting and developing their on-air personalities to build their brands.

Deseret Management Corp., which owns Bonneville International Corp., KSL, Deseret Digital Media and the Deseret News, uses noncompete agreements in some cases in its TV and radio properties.

HB199 now goes to the full House for consideration.