Legislative Updates - 8 February 2021

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Dear Friends:

This is GrassRoots’ 3rd legislative update of this year’s General Session of the Utah State Legislature.

At this time (3 weeks into the session), there are about 530 numbered bills for this session on the Utah Legislature website. Here are some bills and issues that we consider to be noteworthy.

A bill catching our attention this week

HB117Sub3, “Vaccine Reporting Requirements”, sponsored by Representative Ward and Senator McKell, would:

  • prohibit a business from requiring a vaccination verification from the Utah Statewide Immunization Information System (USIIS) before providing services, but does not prohibit a business from requiring a vaccination verification by other means (see lines 45-51 of the bill);
  • require a vaccine provider to report vaccine information to USIIS;
  • allow an individual to opt out of having vaccine information shared with the USIIS by submitting an “opt out form”;
  • require the Department of Health to assist a vaccine provider with providing vaccine information to USIIS; and
  • direct the Department of Health to make rules for determining: “(a) the relevant vaccine information a vaccine provider is required to report to USIIS; (b) based on the amount of vaccines a vaccine provider delivers, how often a vaccine provider shall report to USIIS; and (c) the methods a vaccine provider may use to transmit the information” (see lines 83-88).

HB117Sub3 passed the House 65-8 on January 28th, and awaits action by the Senate.

Should the Surveillance State encourage, or even require, doctors and health professionals to share information on their patients with the State? In the absence of a search warrant based on Probable Cause, we would think not.

Also we would discourage delegating administrative rule-making power to the Department of Health, where the rules are of a legislative nature (see Utah State Constitution, Article V, Section 1, and the discussion of Separation of Powers in our weekly legislative update of January 25th).

GrassRoots favors a “no” vote on HB117Sub3.

Updated status

HB60Sub3, “Conceal Carry Firearms Amendments”, replaced HB60Sub2, and would:

  • provide that an individual who is 21 years old or older, and may lawfully possess a firearm, may carry a concealed firearm in a public area without a permit;
  • provide for the transfer of unused funds in the Concealed Weapons Account to the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health for suicide prevention efforts; and
  • create the Suicide Prevention and Education Fund within the division for suicide prevention efforts.

Coverage of previous versions of HB60 may be found in our updates of January 25th and February 1st.

HB60Sub3 passed the Senate 22-6 on February 5th, and is on the House Concurrence Calendar. (A different version of HB60 passed the House previously, but, for a bill to pass the Legislature, the same version of the bill must pass both House and Senate.)

Current code makes the carrying of a concealed firearm in a public area, without a permit, a class B misdemeanor, making possible a penalty of up to 6 months imprisonment. We believe 6 months in the slammer for the exercise of natural rights of self-defense is a bad idea. HB60Sub3 at least partially addresses this problem. GrassRoots favors a “yes” vote on HB60Sub3.

HB116, “Student Attendance Amendments”, sponsored by Representative Robertson and Senator Fillmore, would prohibit a local school board, charter school governing board, or school district from requiring documentation from a medical professional for an absence due to mental or physical illness. Additional coverage of HB116 may be found in our update of January 25th.

HB116 passed the House Education Committee 14-0 on January 29th, and passed the House 48-22 on February 5th, and now awaits action by the Senate.

Parents should be assumed competent to excuse their children’s absences from school, and should not have to spend money on a medical professional to confirm that their child is ill. GrassRoots still favors a “yes” vote on HB116.

SB12, “Reauthorization of Administrative Rules”, sponsored by Senator Anderegg and Representative Brammer, states: “All rules of Utah state agencies are reauthorized.” Additional coverage of SB12, along with discussion of the principle of Separation of Powers, may be found in our update of January 25th.

SB12 passed the Senate 28-0 on February 3rd, and awaits consideration by the House Government Operations Committee.

To the extent that any administrative rule made by executive branch bureaucrats is legislative in its nature, this would seem to be contrary to the intent and letter of Utah State Constitution, Article V, Section 1.

GrassRoots still favors a “no” vote on SB12.

If you have any questions about these bills, GrassRoots’ position on these bills, or related matters, please contact either of us or any other member of the Board of Utah GrassRoots.

Sincerely,

Steve Stromness
Vice-Chairman, Bill Review Coordinator, Utah GrassRoots
steven.stromness@gmail.com
435-637-5248

Don Guymon
Chairman, Utah GrassRoots
donguymon@gmail.com
801-574-9461

PS Do you want to contact a legislator? Go to le.utah.gov and click on “Legislators”.

Do you want to read and follow legislation yourself? Go to le.utah.gov and click on “2020 General Session Page” then click on “2020 Bills”.

Do you have other questions about how to effectively participate in the political process? Please contact us, and we will try to help as appropriate.

Do you have friends that would appreciate this legislative update? Please feel free to forward it to them.

Would you like to help us with review of legislation in a small or large way? Consider taking a special look at bills sponsored by your own representative or senator. Please contact us with your findings and/or with any questions we might be able to help you with.