Libertas Legislation Tracker

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The following bills are included in this year's Legislative Tracker. Below each bill's title and number is our summary and explanation of why we support or oppose the bill.

Recognizing Apprenticeships (HB 22) Support

This bill expands PRIME Scholarship eligibility to include youth apprenticeships.

Libertas supports this bill. Learning takes place in many ways and in many places. Recognizing youth apprenticeships and including them in eligibility for scholarships honors the value of non-traditional learning.

Help for Farmers and Agritourism (HB 31) Support

This bill helps farmers who want to engage in agritourism (corn mazes, educational tours etc.) by clarifying they are not liable for injuries or illnesses related to inherent risks of being on a farm.

Libertas supports this bill. The clarifications in the bill will help farmers and community members alike benefit from agritourism related activities.

Recognizing Out of State Licenses For Social Work (HB 44) Support

This bill would allow Utah to recognize out-of-state licenses for social workers.

Libertas supports this bill. Utah should recognize occupational licenses from any jurisdiction that has similar education and experience requirements.

International Licensing Amendments (HB 58) Support

This bill makes it easier to get an occupational license for those who meet the requirements outside of Utah.

Libertas supports this bill. People who are licensed in other jurisdictions or have the necessary experience to obtain a license in Utah should be able to get one without the unnecessary red tape.

Mandatory Prison for Drug Distribution with a Firearm (HB 68) Oppose

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.

Libertas Institute opposes this bill. 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 arcane and inhumane drug laws currently in place. These people should not be classified as felons outright, and they should not be mandatorily sent to prison.

Film Susbsidies for Rural Projects (HB 78) Oppose

This bill would repeal the sunset date for film tax credits available for rural productions.

Libertas opposes this bill. Utah's long history in the film industry has to do with its uniqueness, not bribing entertainment studios to come here. Time after time, studies have shown that picking winners and losers with taxpayer dollars is a loser for the vast majority of taxpayers.

Streamlining Utah’s Regulatory Sandbox (HB 91) Support

This bill improves Utah’s regulatory sandbox by streamlining applications, restructuring the sandbox advisory committee, and requiring agencies to suggest regulatory reform.

Libertas supports this bill. Streamlining Utah’s regulatory sandbox will improve participation and enhance the sandbox’s ability to identify and cut unnecessary red tape.

Requiring DCFS to Obtain a Warrant (HB 93) Support

This bill makes sure that social workers are explicitly required to adhere to constitutional protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.

Libertas Institute supports this bill. Child welfare agencies conduct warrantless searches on the homes of nearly 3.5 million children per year. And only in about five percent of these cases do inspectors even find any evidence of abuse. There is no social worker exception to the Constitution’s requirement for judicial oversight and a warrant before government agents may enter a person’s home without their informed consent. To that end, this bill makes it more explicit so there is no room for doubt that a warrant is required in these cases.

Liability of Relatives Amendments (HB 95) Support

This bill would protect individuals from being held liable for the debts of family members.

When a debt is taken on by an individual or a married couple, their families members should not be held responsible for a debt they had nothing to do with.

Human Trafficking Expungements Amendments (HB 133) Support

This bill addresses the expungement of offenses for human trafficking victims.

Libertas supports this bill. Victims of human trafficking must have a clear path towards a new future when they are freed from the clutches of those who enslaved them.

Expanding Telehealth to Veterinarians (HB 145) Support

This bill authorizes veterinarians to engage in telehealth practices, including an exclusively electronic relationship, with limitations on controlled substance prescriptions.

Libertas supports this bill. Telehealth prohibitions generally in medical fields are unnecessary for the protection of the health and safety of society, including animals.

Repeal of Criminal Defamation (HB 158) Support

This bill removes criminal penalties for defamation, upholding your 1st Amendment rights.

Libertas supports this bill. While you can still be held civilly liable, the government should not be able to punish you for your free speech. As we have seen many times, the government is not infallible in labeling statements as false.

Protecting Digital Currencies from Government Expansion (HB 164) Support

Excludes Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC) from the definition of money recognized by the state. This bill would exclude CBDC from the recognized definition of money, preventing CBDC from disrupting financial institutions and creating a workaround for financial privacy.

Libertas supports this bill.

Allowing Referendum on Taxes Imposed by Schools (HB 173) Support

This bill allows citizens to pursue a referendum on taxes imposed by local school boards.

Libertas supports this bill. Citizens can pursue a referendum on every other elected body in the state with the power to levy taxes, including the legislature. This gives Utah taxpayers the same right when dealing with local school boards.

More Regulations For Short-term Rental Operators (HB 180) Oppose

This bill would add additional regulations and permitting requirements for short-term rental operators — even for jurisdictions who may not want to impose them.

Libertas opposes this bill. From the perspective of freedom and property rights, the bill does not enhance anyone's right operate to operate a short-term rental, but instead only features additional regulation.

Building Permit Stability Act (No Building Permit Takesies Backsies) (HB 188) Support

This bill codifies that cities and counties cannot change building permit requirements after a permit has been issued.

Libertas supports this bill. Once someone has gone through the many steps involved in obtaining a building permit, the permit requirements shouldn't change after the fact.

Involuntary Committment Amendments (HB 203) Support

The bill amends the criteria for involuntary civil commitment in Utah. It allows for court-ordered commitment of individuals who have been charged with a crime, are found incompetent to proceed due to mental illness, exhibit persistent unawareness of their mental illness, or unreasonably refuse mental health treatment.

Libertas Institute supports this bill. It enhances individual liberty by providing a legal framework to address situations where an individual's mental illness poses a danger to themselves or others, thus safeguarding the rights and safety of individuals within the community while minimizing government intervention in mental health matters.

Punitive Penalty Enhancement for False Statements (HB 211) Oppose

This bill enhances any underlying crime by one degree if a suspect falsely says they have ingested drugs after arrest. When suspects do this, law enforcement must take the suspect to the hospital to be medically cleared prior to booking, wasting law enforcement and hospital resources and taxpayer dollars.

Libertas opposes this bill. While we sympathize with the problem, enhancing penalties is unlikely to deter this behavior.

Eliminating Minimum Time Requirements for Professional Training (HB 216) Support

This bill removes arbitrary educational and experience requirements for certain professions.

Libertas supports this bill. Professional licensing schemes often have arbitrary barriers to entry, especially around the time needed to complete training. Fast and motivated learners should be encouraged, not held back.

More Freedom to Design Your Own Buildings (HB 237) Support

This bill requires cities and counties, if they are going to regulate the aesthetics of a building, to write the regulation into their land use regulations.

Libertas supports this bill. The design of a building should be determined by the property owner and architects of their choice, not the government. This bill would help those building in locations where regulations on aesthetics are present.

Training State Employees to Avoid Cyber Attacks (HB 239) Support

This bill would prepare state employees to handle the ever-growing threat of cyberattacks that target critical infrastructure and citizen’s personal information.

Libertas supports this bill. It is a common sense step to enhance the state’s cyber resilience against ever-growing threats to critical infrastructure and personal information.

Inmate Amendments (HB 248) Support

These bills help inmates take advantage of the educational opportunities afforded to them while in custody.

Libertas supports this bill. If we want to reduce recidivism, those in custody should be given the opportunity to choose a new path. Some of the responsibility lies with those who put them there to help forge a better future for them and society.

Destabilizing Funding for the Statewide Online Education Program (HB 263) Oppose

This bill targets the funding of the statewide online education program that is accessed by many private and homeschooled students across the state.

Libertas Institute opposes this bill. This bill could remove funding that was specifically designated for private and homeschool students, disrupting an important aspect of many student's education plan.

Sentencing Modifications for Certain DUI Offenses (HB 273) Oppose

This bill modifies provisions related to negligently operating a vehicle resulting in death. It renames the offense and creates a sentencing guideline for automobile homicide.

Libertas opposes this bill, as these guidelines and limitations on alternative sentencing options could lead to unjust outcomes and undermine the principle of proportionality in punishment.

Inmate Education Amendments (HB 278) Support

These bills help inmates take advantage of the educational opportunities afforded to them while in custody.

Libertas supports this bill. If we want to reduce recidivism, those in custody should be given the opportunity to choose a new path. Some of the responsibility lies with those who put them there to help forge a better future for them and society.

Utah Office of Regulatory Relief Amendments (HB 282) Support

This bill would direct Utah’s Regulatory Sandbox to actively review laws and regulations and recommend areas ripe for reform.

Libertas supports this bill. It would expand the function of the Regulatory Sandbox to go beyond waivers and begin recommending areas ripe for reform to the legislature.

Initiative Amendments (HB 284) Support

This bill makes it more difficult for any tax increase proposed via ballot initiative to pass by raising the threshold to pass from 50 percent to 60 percent.

Libertas Institute supports this bill. If a new tax increase is being proposed via ballot initiative, applying a higher threshold is appropriate.

Reasonable Limits on Public Labor Unions (HB 285) Support

This bill requires public labor unions to recertify every 3 years and prevents salary deductions of public employees directly to labor unions.

Libertas supports this bill. Requiring recertification every three years shows that the public employee labor union represents a majority of employees. Preventing salary deductions for labor unions makes sure their members understand what they are paying for.

Expanding The Teacher Pool (HB 310) Support

This bill recognizes degrees from non-accredited colleges and universities and expands the pool of eligible teachers in Utah.

Libertas supports this bill. The accreditation process creates one type of teacher program in colleges and universities and is an unnecessary step to find quality teachers.

Motor Vehicle Safety Inspection Modifications (HB 323) Support

This bill would deny law enforcement the ability to make a traffic stop solely to check the window tinting of a vehicle.

The level of window tinting on a vehicle does not solely affect a driver's ability to operate a vehicle safely. So unless they are stopped for doing something else wrong, they are free to go about their business.

Higher Threshold for Property Tax Increases (HB 354) Support

This bill would make any proposed property tax increases for the next three years go to the voters for approval.

Libertas supports this bill. Property tax increases are sometimes linked to spending beyond the needs of the residents and government's proper role. The requirement that a proposed tax increase goes to the voters will increase transparency and garner more support before going into effect.

Pregnant and Postpartum Inmate Amendments (HB 358) Support

This bill would require any pregnant or postpartum inmates to enter community-based programming instead of a prison nursery.

Libertas supports this bill. Allowing pregnant women and new mothers to receive care outside of a correctional facility is better for the mothers, the children, and will probably save the taxpayers money.

Honoring Homeschool High School Learning (HB 391) Support

This bill provides a method for homeschool families to easily transfer back into a public school if they choose.

Libertas supports this bill. Some school districts in Utah do not recognize non-traditional credits, forcing some students to retake unnecessary classes if they choose to return to public school. This bill solves that problem and creates a method to receive credit for their learning.

Improving Teacher Incentives (HB 431) Support

This bill creates teacher salaries outside of the traditional steps and lanes, allowing for pay based upon merit.

Libertas supports this bill. Providing innovative teachers a path to pay outside of the traditional pay scale incentivizes teachers to try new things to improve the education for public school students.

Preventing Being Charged Twice for Juveniles (HB 459) Support

This bill eliminates courts from punishing a juvenile in both juvenile and adult law for the same act.

Libertas Institute supports this bill. No one should be punished twice for the same crime.

Social Media Regulation Amendments (HB 464) Oppose

This bill would create private action lawsuits against social media companies with teen users, which creates a Constitutionally suspect requirement for companies to engage in age verification for all users.

Libertas Institute opposes this bill. This bill creates legal liability for all social media companies with teens on their site, which will force companies to verify age to minimize legal risk. Such verification, as a result of regulation, likely violates the First Amendment.

Removing Barriers for Trades Workers (HB 483) Support

This bill increases the amount of work a trades person can do before they need to obtain a license from $3,000 to $35,000 a job.

Libertas supports this bill. By increasing the threshold before a trades person needs to obtain a license, customers will have more options for certain kinds of home repairs and construction.

Raising the Privacy Bar for Government Entities (HB 491) Support

HB 491 creates a Privacy Ombudsman, elevates the Personal Privacy Oversight Committee (renaming it the Utah Privacy Commission), brings teeth with a Utah Privacy Governing Board that includes important elected officials, and moves government entities to not only comply with the laws that already exist, but raise the standards by 2027.

Libertas Institute supports this bill. Privacy and data in our new economy do not have to be mutually exclusive. By getting the guardrails in place and right early on, we will be prepared when far more sensitive data becomes available as we move into a world more connected to biometric information.

Removing Income Tax for Minors (HB 510) Support

This bill would remove Utah's 4.65% income tax for minors who earn money via W-2 work.

Libertas supports this bill. The bill brings relief to the most hard-working of Utah's youth. This bill will help them keep more of their money in their pockets.

Utah Fits All Scholarship Clarification (HB 529) Support

This bill clarifies various provisions of the Utah Fits All Scholarship and expands eligibility to military families and foster families that have initiated the adoption process.

Libertas supports this bill. Foster families should have access to this fund, especially after they have initiated the adoption process. Expanding this to military families is also a generous offer.

Restrictions on Traffic Ticket Quotas (HB 547) Support

This bill would abolish the use of quotas as a tool for peace officer evaluation and would prohibit police stations from mandating arrest, stop, citation, or other quotas.

Libertas Institute supports this bill. This bill represents an important step towards a Law Enforcement system in Utah where police success is not measured by the quotas, but by the genuine safety and satisfaction of Utah communities.

Prohibiting Reverse Keyword Surviellance by Law Enforcement (HB 553) Support

HB 553 proposes to restrict reverse-keyword searches, thus backing the liberties of Utah's citizens while still empowering law enforcement to fulfill their responsibilities by codifying a keyword search that has the backing of probable cause, including particularized suspicion of an individual or device.

Libertas Institute supports this bill. By supporting this bill, the Utah Legislature could further commit to upholding the principles of privacy, transparency, and accountability in our criminal justice system.

Licensure by Endorsement Amendments (HB 554) Support

This bill recognizes licenses from other states in the country and allows licensure by endorsement.

Libertas Institute supports this bill. Other states in the country do not have dissimilar licensing requirements for their professionals. Utah should accept the state's license as evidence of meeting licensure requirements.

Removing Barriers for Microschools (SB 13) Support

This bill permits microschools in all zones and clarifies building occupancy laws and health codes for these schools.

Libertas supports this bill. Microschool founders face the worst of both zoning and occupancy laws. When finding a location they are not considered a school and forced into locations that aren't supportive of learning. Once in their new location, they are forced to make extensive renovations to meet occupancy requirements intended for schools with hundreds or thousands of students.

Behavioral Health Licensing Amendments (SB 26) Support

This bill opens up the mental health professional licensing scheme to allow for more professionals to practice, as well as provide additional services.

Libertas supports this bill. Utah has a glaring need for mental health professionals. Allowing them to expand their practice with additional training and education, while still being accountable, is a win-win for Utahns.

More "Truth" in Truth in Taxation (SB 29) Support

This bill requires local governments to provide more information to residents when property tax increases are being proposed.

Libertas supports this bill. The changes to Utah’s Truth-in-Taxation process proposed in the bill will help increase transparency for residents who are facing potential tax increases.

Combining Carson Smith and Opportunity Scholarhsip (SB 44) Support

This bill combines the Carson Smith Special Needs Scholarship and the Special Needs Opportunity Scholarship into one program.

Libertas supports this bill. Combining these two programs makes education choice for special needs students easier. New applicants will only have one place to go to find the help they need, while students currently using the Carson Smith program will continue to have their benefits as long as they need them.

Remove the Front License Plate Requirement (SB 45) Support

This bill removes the requirement for having a front license plate on every highway vehicle.

Libertas supports this bill. Requiring a front license plate is unnecessary for the regulation traffic laws on public roads.

Encouraging High School Entrepreneurs (SB 47) Support

This bill ensures that 18-year-olds engaged in entrepreneurship aren’t faced with permitting and licensing requirements while finishing their last year of high school.

Libertas supports this bill. The opportunity for youth to learn about hard work and the free market should be encouraged instead of burdened with permits and fees.

More Regulation for Ride-Sharing Drivers (SB 53) Oppose

This bill requires ride-share drivers to get their vehicle inspected, even if it doesn't need it according to current law.

Libertas opposes this bill. Data in Utah and across the nation shows that annual safety inspections do nothing to increase the safety of newer vehicles. Ride-share platforms already have vehicle requirements for any potential drivers.

Removing Homeschool Notary Requirement (SB 56) Support

This bill removes the notary requirement for families when filing a homeschool affidavit with the local school district.

Libertas supports this bill. Requiring a notary on the homeschool affidavit is an unnecessary step for families. This bill makes it easier for families who choose to homeschool.

Utah Constitutional Sovereignty Act (SB 57) Support

This bill would codify the process for the legislature to assert the state's 10 Amendment rights.

Libertas supports this bill. The Anti-Commandeering Doctrine, which this bill formalizes the process for invoking, asserts that the federal government must enforce its own laws. States can refuse to allow the state's resources to be used to enforce federal laws.

Income Tax Rate Reductions (SB 69) Support

This bill reduces the individual and corporate income tax rate from 4.65 percent to 4.55 percent.

Libertas Institute supports this bill. While a larger tax cut would be ideal, cuts to Utah's income tax are very welcome.

Education Opportunities for Incarcerated Youth (SB 78) Support

This bill expands the higher education for incarcerated youth program to include students in both home and secure detentions.

Libertas Institute supports this bill. Expanding education opportunities for incarcerated youth is a good way to prevent recidivism.

Juvenile Justice Amendments (SB 88) Support

This bill corrects how juveniles are treated when in custody.

Libertas supports this bill. Juveniles in custody should not be treated like adults. They shouldn't be placed in adult correctional facilities or be subjected to DNA extraction.

Restricting Utah's Use of Smartphones and Tables (SB 104) Oppose

This bill would limit the ability of Utahns to use their smartphones and tablets without verifying their age using an ID.

Libertas opposes this bill. Limiting all smartphones and tablets, instead of improving access to parental controls, restricts the First Amendment rights of all Utahns. Much more limited methods of protecting children are available to achieve the same goal.

Legalize Cold Plunges (SB 106) Support

This bill would undo a clear regulatory overstep by clarifying that cold plunge tubs are not public pools.

Libertas supports this bill. It puts an end to an HHS determination that cold plunges are public pools, despite clear evidence to the contrary.

Eyelash Technician Licensure (SB 112) Support

This bill creates a license specifically for eyelash and eyebrow technicians, which is a three-month program. Currently, they must complete an entire cosmetology program.

Libertas supports this bill. While we believe there shouldn't be a license for this trade, this is a step in the right direction. Forcing people to spend time and money on training that they don't want or need is fundamentally opposed to the purpose of government and is a waste of public and private resources.

Criminal Monetary Threshold Amendments (SB 128) Support

This bill increases the monetary thresholds for determining certain criminal charges.

Libertas supports this bill. Most monetary thresholds for certain crimes haven't been changed in 25 years. Since then, inflation has gone up 84%. This bill adjusts those thresholds to match inflation and more directly reflect true monetary value.

Military Occupational License Renewal Amendments (SB 143) Support

This bill would give additional time to active duty service members to renew their occupational licenses when returning from deployment.

Libertas supports this bill. The last thing a service member should be thinking of before or after a deployment in defense of our nation is the status of their occupational license. This bill gives them extra time to renew it after their return.

Easier Expungement Fee Waivers (SB 163) Support

This bill makes it easier to receive a waiver of expungement fees.

Libertas Institute supports this bill. Many in the lowest income brackets will work with non-profit or public benefits organizations to file for expungement. Charging them for an expungement makes it difficult for these individuals to find adequate employment.

Needed Reforms for Modular Homes (SB 168) Support

This bill would help innovative types of home construction by establishing a building code for modular (and similar) homes and streamlining the process for their inspection.

Libertas supports this bill. Innovations such as modular, offsite, and panelized construction systems need the regulatory relief found in this bill to come to the market.

Social Media Regulation Amendments (SB 194) Oppose

This bill would impose liability on social media companies who don’t subject new users to intrusive age verification, likely violating the First Amendment.

Libertas Institute opposes this bill. This bill runs afoul of the First Amendment by imposing an age verification requirement for all new social media users, restricting speech. Such verification also present a privacy concerns.

Better Guardrails on Law Enforcement Use of DNA (SB 218) Support

This bill establishes guardrails around the use by law enforcement of large DNA databases with private user information.

Libertas supports this bill. These databases have significant privacy implications and therefore government’s use of the data require transparency and accountability to deter misuse.

Enhancing Privacy Against Government Surveillance (SB 231) Support

This bill sets clear definitions and restrictions on government agencies' use of surveillance. It also provides sensible exemptions and technical adjustments to ensure that the law keeps pace with technological advancements.

Libertas Institute supports this bill. By establishing more stringent criteria for government surveillance, SB 231 would protect Utahns from invasive monitoring, fostering a society where privacy is respected.

Better Benefits for Independent Contractors (SB 238) Support

This bill creates a limited tax credit for contractors who buy portable benefits or other basic insurance.

Libertas supports this bill. It would give contractors a tax credit when they purchase portable benefits and other insurance options. It would also give hiring parties a tax credit for contributing to a contractor for the purchase of portable benefits or other insurance options.

Property Tax Income Requirements (SB 250) Support

This bill increases the income thresholds necessary to qualify for two of Utah’s Property Tax Relief programs.

Libertas Institute supports this bill. Low-income seniors should not be at risk of losing their home simply because home values have skyrocketed.

Medical Amendments (SB 266) Support

This bill authorizes Intermountain Health and the University of Utah to conduct medicinal pilot programs for certain controlled substances.

Libertas Institute supports this bill. There are novel approaches to mental health treatment through using therapy combined with alternative medicines that could help address Utah’s mental health crisis.