Grass Roots
Committed to Promoting the Principles of Limited Government, Constitution, Representative Government,
Participatory Republic, Free Market Economy, Family and Separation of Powers

Legislative Updates - 22 January 2024

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Dear Friends:

This is GrassRoots’ first legislative update of this year’s General Session of the Utah State Legislature. We hope to be sending weekly updates on legislative happenings during the session, and will be concentrating on bills that we find to be friendly to the principles of limited, constitutional government on one hand, or, on the other hand, friendly to big, intrusive government. As you may know, the principles of GrassRoots are summarized as Limited Government, Constitution, Representative Government, Free Market Economy, Participatory Republic, Family, and Separation of Powers.

We would encourage and challenge you, if you see one or more bills that interest you, contact your representative and/or senator about it/them. We think they usually hear enough from paid lobbyists (some would say more than enough), but they may not hear enough from you.

At this time (one week into the session), there are about 500 numbered bills for this session on the Utah Legislature website, maybe about half of the bills that will be numbered by the end of the session which, under the Utah Constitution, will go for 45 days. Here are some bills and issues that we consider to be noteworthy.

Bills relating to home-schooling, home-based education entities, and micro-education entities

At GrassRoots, we believe that parents naturally have stewardship over their children’s education and other aspects of their upbringing. Society and government should be careful not to interfere with this sacred stewardship with any unwarranted regulation. With compulsory school attendance laws, many states, including Utah, have historically done much to infringe on that stewardship. Following is some description of a couple bills relating to this issue.

*SB13, “Education Entity Amendments”, sponsored by Senator Fillmore and Representative Gricius, would:

  • define "home-based education entity" to mean “an individual or association of individuals that, for compensation, provides kindergarten through grade 12 education services to 16 or fewer students from an individual's residential dwelling, accessory dwelling unit, or residential property”;
  • define “micro-education entity” to mean “a person or association of persons that, for compensation, provides kindergarten through grade 12 education services to 100 students or fewer”;
  • require a county and municipality to consider a home-based education entity and micro-education entity as a permitted use in all zoning districts within a county and municipality;
  • identify the occupancy requirements to which a micro-education entity is subject;
  • require a local school board to excuse a student who attends a home-based education entity or micro-education entity under certain circumstances;
  • provide that an instructor of a school-age child who attends a home-based education entity or micro-education entity is solely responsible for instruction, materials, and evaluation;
  • prohibit a local school board from requiring a home-based education entity or micro-education entity to provide teaching credentials, submit to inspection, and conduct testing;
  • prevent government entities from regulating home-based education entity and micro-education entity food preparation and distribution under certain circumstances;
  • allow a student who attends a home-based education entity or micro-education entity to participate in extracurricular activities in a public school; and
  • exempt a student who attends a home-based education entity or micro-education entity from immunization requirements.

SB13 passed the Senate Education Committee 5-0 on January 19th, and awaits consideration by the full Senate.

As parents pursue the best educational options for their children (sometimes outside the government school system), they, and those with whom they work, should be free from unwarranted regulation. We believe SB13 to be a good step in that direction. GrassRoots tentatively favors a “yes” vote on SB13.

*SB56, “Home School Amendments”, sponsored by Senator Grover, would remove the notary requirement on a home school affidavit.

SB56 passed the Senate Education Committee 5-0 on January 19th, and awaits consideration by full Senate.

When home-schooling parents file their signed affidavit of intention to home-school their child, this should be made as easy as reasonably possible. The current notary requirement is unwarranted, and the removal of this requirement would be a welcome change. GrassRoots favors a “yes” vote on SB56.

Other bills catching our attention

*HB68, “Firearm Modifications”, sponsored by Representative Stoddard and Senator Grover, would require a court to sentence individuals who use or possess a firearm while distributing drugs to an indeterminate prison term.

HB68 passed the House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee 7-2 on January 18th, and awaits consideration by the full House.

Libertas Institute expresses the following concerns about HB68: “This bill makes it a felony for a gun owner to be ‘an unlawful user of a controlled substance.’ So, for example, if you’re using your spouse’s prescription drug without a prescription of your own, then your otherwise lawful gun ownership turns you into an immediate felon.

“There’s no due process. You don’t first get charged with a drug crime, and only then are you on notice against having a gun. The very fact that you have a gun while also breaking a completely separate law brands you as a de facto felon. . . .

“This is a horribly punitive approach to the issue of illegal drugs. Countless Utahns own firearms for lawful self-defense while also choosing, for various reasons, to disobey the . . . drug laws currently in place. These people should not be classified as felons outright, and they should not be mandatorily sent to prison.” (Additional Libertas Institute commentary on HB68 may be found at .)

At Utah GrassRoots, we share many of these concerns. Is our objective to toss more gun-owners in jail? With this newly-mandatory prison time (at least 1 year), HB68 is likely to result in prison time that is either unjustified or disproportionate to the committed offense. GrassRoots favors a “no” vote on HB68.

Side-note: When we see bills like this, and reminders of other problematic code on the books, we are reminded of the continuing need for respect and recognition of jury authority to acquit a defendant when that best serves justice. Our government pays substantial respect to the idea of prosecutorial discretion; we rarely-if-ever impeach an Attorney General for failure to prosecute every single code violation that comes to their attention. Should we not also pay similar (or even greater) respect to jury discretion?

*HB182, “Student Survey Amendments”, sponsored by Representative Lisonbee, would require a local education agency to:

  • update policies to require parental consent for any non-academic survey given to a student;
  • obtain the parental consent annually in writing; and
  • obtain new parental consent from parents of a transferring student.

HB182 awaits consideration by the House Education Committee.

We are concerned about the administration of various surveys to students in government schools. When and if such surveys are conducted, we should consider it essential for students not to participate in the absence of parental consent. GrassRoots favors a “yes” vote on HB182.

*SB73, “State Food Supply Amendments”, sponsored by Senator Winterton, would:

  • define “local food” to mean “an agricultural product or livestock that is: (a) produced, processed, and distributed for sale or consumption within the state; and (b) sold to an end consumer within the state.”
  • provide that local food is exempt from regulation by the federal government;
  • place restrictions on state regulation of local food; and
  • limit rulemaking authority in relation to local food.

    SB73 awaits consideration by the Senate Business and Labor Committee.

    SB73 is a good (even if small) step toward a Free Market Economy, and of resistance against national government regulation of intrastate commerce. GrassRoots favors a “yes” vote on SB73.

    *SCR3, “Concurrent Resolution Supporting Major League Baseball in Utah”, sponsored by Senator Fillmore and Representative Wilcox, would express “the strong support from the Legislature and the Governor to bring Major League Baseball to the great state of Utah.”

    SCR3 passed the Senate Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee 6-0 on January 18th, and awaits consideration by the full Senate, and is currently on the Senate’s Time Certain Calendar, scheduled to be considered on Tuesday, January 23rd at 11:20am.

    GrassRoots has taken no position for or against a Major League Baseball franchise coming to Utah. And what harm can a non-binding resolution cause? On the other hand, we are concerned about the advancement of another crony-capitalist Public Private Partnership, possible taxpayer subsidies, and favoritism of one business over another. If market participants (freely and without tax subsidies or government favoritism) bring a franchise to Utah, so be it. But we are concerned about government encouragement of the idea. GrassRoots tentatively favors a “no” vote on SCR3.

    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.


    Steve Stromness
    Vice-Chairman, Bill Review Coordinator, Utah GrassRoots

    Don Guymon
    Chairman, Utah GrassRoots

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

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    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.

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