Silas Walker, Deseret News
FILE - The Capitol in Salt Lake City is pictured on Friday, Jan. 25, 2019.

SALT LAKE CITY — A proposal aiming to eliminate a long-running state program to support innovation companies found approval in a House committee hearing Monday.

SB212, sponsored by Sen. Scott Sandall, R-Tremonton, proposes to dismantle the Utah Science, Technology and Research Initiative, known as USTAR, while salvaging a few of the agency's programs under the umbrella of the Governor's Office of Economic Development.

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Efforts to save the agency via a competing bill were abandoned earlier in the session.

Former Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. announced the creation of the research initiative in 2005. The new program, Huntsman said, was designed to leverage Utah's homegrown scientific innovation into a powerful economic catalyst that would make the state a "haven" for forward-thinking researchers and create a system of returns that would expand with each year.

SB212 now moves to the House for further consideration.