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 - 12 February 2024

<< All 2024 updates

Dear Friends:

This is GrassRoots’ 4th legislative update of this year’s General Session of the Utah State Legislature. At this time (4 weeks into the session), there are about 800 numbered bills for this session on the Utah Legislature website. Here are some bills and issues that we consider to be noteworthy.

Bills catching our attention this week:

*HB112, “Sex Education Instruction Amendments”, sponsored by Representative Jimenez, would remove human sexuality from the definition of sex education instruction.

HB112 awaits consideration by the House Education Committee, and is currently scheduled to be Item 9 on the agenda of the Monday, February 12th, 8:00 AM meeting of that committee at 120 Senate Building.

The definition of sex education instruction already in Utah Code includes (and HB112 leaves in place) course material that provides instruction to a student about human reproduction, reproductive anatomy, pregnancy, childbirth, and sexually transmitted diseases. If we have a government school system that teaches students about various elements of human reproduction, it does not follow that we need the system to get involved in discussion (or even advocacy) of various doctrines about human sexuality. GrassRoots favors a “yes” vote on HB112.

*HB323, “Motor Vehicle Safety Inspection Modifications”, sponsored by Representative Lisonbee, would enact a provision allowing a peace officer to stop a vehicle for improper window tinting only if the peace officer has stopped the vehicle for a violation of another offense.

HB323 passed the House Judiciary Committee 5-4 on Feb 9th, and awaits consideration by the full House.

In our judgment, window-tinting should not be considered probable cause for a peace officer to stop a vehicle. GrassRoots favors a “yes” vote on HB323.

*HB348, “Specie Legal Tender Amendments”, sponsored by Representative Ivory, would:

  • exempt certain budget reserve funds from the State Money Management Act;
  • expand the definition of "specie legal tender" to include gold or silver coin or bullion not issued by the United States;
  • clarify that specie legal tender may be used for the issuance or repayment of debt obligations;
  • require the state treasurer to create a framework allowing for the use of electronic currencies backed by specie legal tender within the state;
  • clarify that any electronic currency approved for use by the state treasurer is legal tender in the state;
  • establish standards and requirements regarding the administration and utilization of electronic currencies approved for use by the state treasurer;
  • allow the state treasurer to consult with public or private entities and impose fees in creating the framework for electronic currencies;
  • require the state treasurer to report annually to the Legislature regarding the framework for electronic currencies; and
  • authorize the state treasurer to invest certain budget reserve funds in specie legal tender.

HB348 awaits consideration by the House Revenue and Taxation Committee.

The United States Constitution specifies that “No State shall . . . make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts. . .” (Article I, Section 10). After years of monopoly of Federal Reserve Notes as legal tender in our state, and with increased money-printing and inflation by the Federal Reserve, the necessity of sound, constitutional money is more apparent than ever. GrassRoots welcomes the proposal to expand the recognition of gold and silver as money in Utah.

We are still studying HB348, considering whether it appears to invest the Treasurer (in the executive branch) with any powers that are legislative in their nature. (Specifically, we are questioning whether the Treasurer approving a given electronic currency as legal tender is properly a legislative power or an executive power.) If so, this would appear to be a violation of the principle of Separation of Legislative and Executive Powers.

GrassRoots takes no position on HB348 at this time.

*SB170, “Clean Truck Incentive Program”, sponsored by Senator Ipson, would:

  • create a grant program within the Division of Air Quality for eligible purchasers of clean trucks;
  • direct the division to provide grants from the Environmental Mitigation and Response Fund;
  • allow the division to replenish the Environmental Mitigation and Response Fund with money from federal programs;
  • outline the incentives available to eligible purchasers through the program;
  • require the division to coordinate with the Department of Transportation in using federal funds for the program; and
  • require the division to make a recommendation to the Air Quality Board relating to the regulation of medium or heavy duty vehicles.

SB170’s fiscal note indicates that the bill would result in increasing government spending by $2 million in Fiscal Year (FY) 2024, $6.4 million in FY2025, and $4.3 million in FY2026.

SB170 awaits consideration by the Senate Transportation, Public Utilities, Energy, and Technology Committee.

SB170 appears to be an unwarranted interference by government in favor of electric vehicles and against internal combustion engine vehicles. GrassRoots favors a “no” vote on SB170.

Updated status on bills covered in past weekly updates:

*HB68Substitute, “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. Additional coverage of the original version of HB68 may be found in our update of January 22nd.

Since our last update on HB68, it failed the House 29-41 on January 22nd. Then a motion for the House to reconsider HB68 passed on Jan 23rd. Finally (in its journey through the House, any way), on January 24th, HB68 was amended, and the amended version passed the House 58-13. In our estimation, however, the amendment to HB68 on January 24th did not substantially address our concerns with the bill.

HB68 then proceeded to the Senate, where it was assigned to the Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement, and Criminal Justice Committee, and was replaced by HB68Substitute on January 31st. HB68Substitute is currently scheduled for further consideration as Item 2 on the agenda of the Monday, February 12th, 8:00 AM meeting of that committee at 210 Senate Building.

Our concerns expressed in our update of January 22nd still remain with the current First Substitute version of the bill. We do not believe that the bill makes clear that the punishment is only meant for instances of the firearm being used as part of the commission of the crime and of the firearm being possessed on the perpetrator during the violation.

We are concerned about deletion of wording from pre-existing Utah Code about the firearm being “on the person or in the person's immediate possession during the commission or in furtherance of the offense” (see lines 62-67 and lines 370-375 of the bill). The new language (“used or possessed a firearm . . . during the commission or furtherance of the violation” (see lines 69-72 and lines 377-380 of the bill) is more loose. Could we see this leading to a court enhancing a crime penalty merely because the violator happened to own a firearm for self-defense at the time of the violation?

GrassRoots still favors a “no” vote on HB68Substitute.

*HB164, “Digital Currency Modifications”, sponsored by Representative Clancy and Senator Kennedy, would exclude certain digital currencies, including Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) from the definition of legal tender in the state of Utah. Additional coverage of HB164 may be found in our updates of January 29th and February 5th.

HB164 passed the House 68-0 on January 30th, and the Senate 27-1 on Feb 9th, and awaits action by the Governor.

It is necessary and proper for our state to resist measures to eliminate privacy in our monetary transactions. GrassRoots would favor the Governor signing HB164.

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”.

Do you want to read and follow legislation yourself? Go to and click on “2024 General Session Page” then click on “2024 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.

Website management by Doran Barton. Design by Doran Barton & David Baker