2021 Bills

HB 217: Creating a Legal Structure to Encourage Innovation

To track the status of this bill, find it on our Legislation Tracker. Click here to contact the sponsor of the bill to share your thoughts, or click here to email your Senator and Representative about it.

Libertas Institute supports this bill

Staff review of this legislation finds that it aligns with our principles and should therefore be passed into law.

The coronavirus pandemic had a significant impact on the state’s economy. Throughout the course of the pandemic federal, state, and local governments have waived over 800 different regulations that were a burden to businesses. In the months that have passed since many of the regulations have been waived, no harms have occurred to consumers, begging the question of why the regulations were ever in place to begin with. 

As the state looks to recover from the pandemic, it needs to do everything in its power to position businesses to get back on their feet and be successful moving forward. Regulatory reform can offer a promising avenue to explore, as regulations impose numerous costs to both businesses and consumers alike. The reality is there are likely thousands of more regulations across a variety of industries that are equally as burdensome to business, and which are discouraging (if not prohibiting) innovation that could help the economy recover more quickly.

Traditionally, states are reactive in nature to regulatory reform, responding during an economic downturn or emergency. Considering the rapid pace at which businesses have to adapt, coupled with the advancement of technology, the state needs to become more proactive and embrace dynamic regulatory reform, bringing the rules from decades ago to match the present world we live in. 

Representative Cory Maloy is running House Bill 217, which would create a first-in-the-nation all-inclusive regulatory sandbox program. The purpose of the program is to allow for a temporary suspension of enforcement of certain rules against businesses for a limited period of time to find a more tailored set of rules more suited to the product in question. Regulatory sandboxes can serve as an effective tool to allow existing businesses to succeed and to incubate new firms over the coming years. 

This is a bill that would make Utah a highly attractive option to businesses that are looking to relocate from higher regulatory regimes, and provides a much-needed boon to the already promising start-up culture in Utah. 

To learn more about regulatory sandboxes, read our policy brief. Be sure to also explore our dedicated webpage on regulatory sandboxes, which serves as an information center for all of our work on the topic.