Free Enterprise

Utah’s Sandbox Continues to Improve

Utah’s regulatory sandbox movement has been a major advancement in state regulatory reform. A regulatory sandbox creates a safe-space for businesses to experiment with new and innovative ideas in the market without the burden of regulatory barriers for one year with a possible one year extension. The sandbox is designed for businesses with innovative products, services, or business models that don’t neatly fit into a single industry or regulatory rule.

Over the last couple years, Utah’s consolidated universal regulatory sandbox, formally called the Office of Regulatory Relief, has undergone various tweaks to create the best program possible. This year was no different, but the major amendment passed this year involved the power exerted by other state agencies over sandbox applications. 

Such authority was left in place, but an agency is now, with the passage of HB 91 sponsored by Representative Cory Maloy, agencies must provide a written reason for rejecting an applicant’s request for waiver. This would ensure that when applicants are rejected, the reasoning can be clearly understood and, if applicable, the regulation in question can be revised by the legislature.

The sandbox task force that deliberates over applications was reshaped this year as well, adjusting membership to better reflect the regulatory and industry landscape of applicants. 

Finally, when sandbox applicants make it into the sandbox, they are subject to quarterly reporting requirements. But now, agencies are also required to respond to quarterly reports. Such responses will enhance the collaboration between the sandbox, participants, agencies, and the legislature.