SALT LAKE CITY — With just eight full days of work to go, Utah's lawmakers are planning more debate time, with an extra floor session scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Tuesday evening.
And there are still plenty of issues to be heard in committees. The House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee is looking at HB217, which prohibits carrying a dangerous weapon within 500 feet of an elementary or secondary school. The bill makes an exception for having a weapon inside a business or residence that is within the 500 feet as well as for people dropping off students.
Other issues discussed at the Statehouse during the day include:
- The Senate gave final approval Tuesday to a hate crimes bill.
- Utah lawmakers are propelling a legislative proposal aiming to put computer science on par with other core public school study topics.
- The Senate Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee is taking up HB296, which seeks $2 million to creates the Rural Coworking and Innovation Center Grant Program under the Governor's Office of Economic Development.
- The House Judiciary Committee will again discuss HB399, which prohibits the practice of conversion therapy upon minors.
- There's going to be a $75 million cut in the state sales tax rate in the massive tax reform bill that's still waiting for a vote in the House, House Speaker Brad Wilson said Tuesday.
- Senate Business and Labor Committee is considering HB274, which would pull e-cigarettes from convenience stores and move them to tobacco specialty stores in order to keep the flavored nicotine devices out of the hands of teens.
- The House Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee is scheduled to hear HB433, which would further expand the power of the newly created Inland Port Authority Board that is overseeing development on a large swath of land in Salt Lake City's northwest quadrant.
- The Utah House of Representatives in a late 42-32 vote Tuesday night gave final approval to a joint resolution calling for a convention to consider amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The resolution, which does not need approval from Gov. Gary Herbert, adds Utah to the list of states seeking to convene a convention to propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution to address what the resolution's House sponsor, Rep. Merrill Nelson, called a "broken" federal government.
Here's what happened on March 4, the 35th day of the 2019 session:
- After nearly an hour of sometimes emotional debate, the Senate gave initial approval to a hate crimes bill. The 19-9 vote for SB103 advances the bill to a final vote in the Senate, as soon as Tuesday.
- A bill banning doctors from performing pelvic examinations on anesthetized patients without their consent passed the Senate unanimously and now goes the House.
- The House passed three bills changing the voter initiative process and, according to some legislators, making it more difficult.