From police reform to pandemic response, the changes to Utah policies made by lawmakers during the annual legislative session that ended in March will begin on Wednesday.
Here’s a look at the impact some of the 502 bills passed by the 2021 Legislature could have on your life.
- In DUI accidents involving serious injury or death, HB47, also known as “Sarah’s Bill,” allows courts to refuse releasing a suspect on bail if the court finds they will be a danger to the community if released.
- Those who commit domestic violence and already have two previous domestic violence convictions within the last 10 years will see enhanced penalties due to SB64.
- Those convicted of homicide who have not cooperated in the recovery of the victim’s remains will be denied parole under SB124.
- HB26 makes a 24/7 sobriety pilot program permanent for first-time DUI offenders and allows them to avoid suspension of their driver’s license.
- Prompted by outrage when it was discovered an officer shared intimate images of slain University of Utah student Lauren McCluskey after her death, HB147 allows revenge porn charges to be brought in cases where a law enforcement officer shared images inappropriately, even if the victim has died.
- In an effort to allow more resources to respond to future health emergencies, SB27 expands the scope of physician assistants to let them practice without the supervision of a physician after meeting certain experience requirements. Likewise, SB28 allows P.A.s to independently offer mental health therapy after meeting certain criteria.
- SB41 requires a health benefit plan to reimburse for telehealth services for a mental health condition if the same service is covered for in-person visits.
- Two bills seek to change the way first responders approach mental health crises: SB47 will start the process to standardize crisis intervention training for law enforcement across the state, as agencies each have their own versions of it, while SB53 creates a path for EMTs to become trained and certified to respond to mental health emergencies.
- Under SB63, spouses who serve as caregivers to a partner with a physical or intellectual disability could get reimbursed by Medicaid.
- Biological fathers will need to pay 50% of a pregnant mother’s out-of-pocket medical bills and insurance premiums if she requests it through HB113.
- County jails will need to provide female inmates the birth control they were on before their incarceration under HB102, which remains in place through a pilot program until 2022.
- To remove what lawmakers described as “bottlenecks” in the state medical marijuana program, SB170 allows any doctor to recommend medical marijuana to up to 15 patients without becoming a qualified medical provider in the Utah Medical Cannabis Program. SB192 makes dozens of administrative changes to the medical marijuana law.
- SB189 modifies penalties for selling a tobacco product, electronic cigarette product or a nicotine product to an individual who is younger than 21 years old and makes other changes to laws affecting tobacco stores.
- For young patients on Medicaid who have cancer or other diseases that affect fertility, HB192 will let them access fertility preservation treatments.
- If a city wants to try out new voting methods, HB75 allows them to use ranked-choice voting methods and lets cities contract with other counties in the state to run the elections if their own counties refuse or don’t have the resources to do so.
- Utah can now review any presidential executive orders through HB415, which authorizes the attorney general or governor to declare them unconstitutional.
- In an effort to increase transparency in elections, HB173 will require elections officials to disclose how many ballots they have counted in their results updates, and approximately how many still need to be counted. HB12 streamlines the process to remove deceased Utahns from the voting registry.
- HB70 will allow registered voters in Utah to receive a text message or email, if they request it, when their ballot has arrived at the elections office.
- After a debate about whether Utah’s current state flag needs a revamp, SB48 creates a task force to look into a new state flag design.
- HB170 allows residents to request either an email or physical mail, reminding them to renew their vehicle registration.
- To protect Utah’s interests in the Colorado River, HB297 creates the Colorado River Authority of Utah Act as the West grows drier due to environment and population growth.
- HB217 creates a “sandbox” for new businesses that removes outdated regulations for a year as businesses work with regulatory officials.
- A bill that sparked heated debate, SB87 allows businesses that only dry, style, arrange, dress, curl, hot iron, shampoo or condition hair to practice without a cosmetology license if they get a safety permit. Returning to some of the controversy surrounding hair braiding in Utah several years ago, HB126 lets those without cosmetology licenses apply wefts without glue or tape.
- HB404 creates the Utah Immigration Assistance Center as a part of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development to help businesses coordinate foreign labor.
- The goal of SB147 is to make sure all commercial egg-laying hens in Utah are cage-free by 2025.
- As “microenterprise kitchens” — run by people who prepare and deliver food from their own home around their communities — have become more popular, HB94 requires those small-business owners to obtain a license and undergo a yearly inspection to ensure they follow health guidelines.
- After some private sellers were cited during the pandemic for violating a law that prohibits price inflation during emergencies, SB86 limits the scope of price controls.
- SB167 seeks to invigorate the economy by driving film projects like the show “Yellowstone” back into Utah through increased economic incentives with $8,393,700 in tax credit certificates this year from the governor’s office.