2017 Libertas Legislation Tracker

Out of the ~1,000 bills introduced during each year's general legislative session, Libertas Institute highlights those that have a particular interest to our mission of championing individual liberty, private property, and free enterprise.

NOTE: New bills are being added daily, and as the session progresses we will be updating the status of each of the bills below here on the Tracker. Check back often for updates!

Key: Libertas supports the bill Libertas opposes the bill     Libertas considers these bills its top priority for the session

Click here to view a readable list of the bills included in this index, along with their summaries and explanations.

Tip: You can hover over any of the rows in the table below to see a summary of what it is and why we support or oppose it. Click any table cell in the header to re-sort the entire table.

Proposed bills

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Think we missed a bill, or that our position is wrong? Let us know!

Bill Title Sponsor LI's position Status Votes Actions
Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Amendments

Utah law allows prosecutors to permanently obtain ownership of property taken from a person who has not been charged with, let alone convicted of, a crime. This bill would reform forfeiture law to require a criminal conviction in forfeiture cases where a property owner is fighting back.

Libertas Institute supports this bill. We have been working for several years to illustrate the problems with this policy and fight the taxpayer-funded lobbying efforts of police and prosecutorial entities in the state. Due process and property rights are being violated; this law would help stop these problems.

Greene, B.SupportIntroducedEmail your Senator/RepEmail the bill sponsor
Campus Free Speech Amendments

This bill limits the ability of taxpayer-funded universities in Utah to restrict the free speech rights of its students, allowing students to file suit against the school for violation of the law.

Libertas Institute supports this bill. Government universities must allow protest and spontaneous demonstrations without any intervention, unless public safety legitimately warrants it.

Coleman, K.SupportIntroducedEmail your Senator/RepEmail the bill sponsor
End of Life Options Act

This bill legally allows a physician, under narrow circumstances, to prescribe life-ending drugs to a terminally ill patient wishing to end their own life.

Libertas Institute supports this bill. Suicide should be discouraged and resources provided to help those considering this option. However, individuals can end their own life, and should not be impeded by laws that prohibit doctors (as medical gatekeepers) from providing the drugs necessary to do so.

Chavez-Houck, R.SupportIntroducedEmail your Senator/RepEmail the bill sponsor
Private Attorney General Doctrine

Several years ago, the Utah legislature passed a law that prohibits courts from compensating individuals who successfully overturn a law that violated the rights of the public at large. Utah is the only state that prohibits this by law. This bill would repeal that prohibition, thereby allowing courts to award such fees once more.

Libertas Institute supports this bill. In a case where a government agency is violating the public's rights, the Attorney General would be duty bound to defend the government; incentives are needed such that private citizens can act in the public interest to overturn such laws.

Greene, B.SupportIntroducedEmail your Senator/RepEmail the bill sponsor
Physical Restraint in Schools

Current law allows public school teachers to use corporal punishment with parental approval, and physical restraint of a student for damage to property. This bill removes the authority to use corporal punishment and limits the restraint in cases of property damage only to instances in which one's physical safety is at risk.

Libertas Institute supports this bill. Teachers should not be empowered to use coercion against a child unless absolutely necessary—and never as a punishment for a perceived offense.

Moss, C.SupportIntroducedEmail your Senator/RepEmail the bill sponsor
Occupational… Licensure Review Committee Amendments

This bill modifies a legislative committee that has oversight over occupational licensure—the area of law that requires a person to obtain a permission slip prior to offering their services to others. Among other important changes to the law, the bill empowers the committee to review existing licenses and find potentially less burdensome regulatory methods to still protect public safety.

Libertas Institute supports this bill. A recent report ranked our state as being the 12th most burdensome for occupational licensure, and reform is needed. Empowering this committee to investigate these issues is a good first step in that direction.

Greene, B.SupportIntroducedEmail your Senator/RepEmail the bill sponsor
Bigamy Offense Amendments

Currently a polygamist can be charged for bigamy if they purport to be married (a clear free speech issue) or cohabit with another person who is not their spouse. This bill basically changes the "or" to an "and," requiring prosecutors to prove both circumstances in order to obtain a conviction.

Libertas Institute opposes this bill. While this bill would otherwise be a good thing—heightening the difficulty of being prosecuted for bigamy—it is not being advanced in a vacuum. The Attorney General's office is trying to moot a lawsuit against the state that has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. For that reason, their efforts should be opposed.

Noel, M.OpposeIntroducedEmail your Senator/RepEmail the bill sponsor
Institutions of Higher Education Disclosure Requirements

This bill requires government-run universities to disclose on their respective websites critical information for prospective students like job placement data, average earnings of graduates, and total costs for degree programs.

Libertas Institute supports this bill. It is not only important for students weighing their options between different schools and degree programs to have this kind of information, but also that taxpayers can be aware of the costs and success of the programs of higher education institutions.

Coleman, K.SupportIntroducedEmail your Senator/RepEmail the bill sponsor
Firearms Amendments

This bill would allow legal gun owners above the age of 21 to carry a concealed weapon without having to pay the government a fee to obtain a permit.

Libertas Institute supports this bill. It is "common sense carry"—since adults can openly carry an unloaded firearm without a permit, they should not be criminalized should they put a jacket on over the firearm, thereby concealing it.

Perry, L.SupportIntroducedEmail your Senator/RepEmail the bill sponsor
Expungement Amendments

This bill makes it easier for a past criminal to expunge their crime—have the government records regarding that circumstance be deleted—in select situations without worrying that violation of a petty offense, such as jaywalking or speeding, would eliminate that opportunity.

Libertas Institute supports this bill. Convicts who have made full restitution should, under limited circumstances, be able to shed that label without losing the opportunity due to a petty offense.

Thatcher, D.SupportIntroducedEmail your Senator/RepEmail the bill sponsor
Utah Marriage Commission Amendments

This bill raises the marriage license fee by $20, offering a rebate for the same amount to couples who obtain the government-approved pre-marital education.

Libertas Institute opposes this bill. Government should not be in the business of marriage. Absent that needed change, it should certainly not increase the hurdle one must jump over in order to obtain the state's permission to marry. While pre-marital counseling can be helpful, it should not be used as extortion to reclaim one's own money.

Christensen, A.OpposeIntroducedEmail your Senator/RepEmail the bill sponsor
Medicaid Expansion Amendments

This bill would expand Medicaid in Utah under the "Obamacare" federal law—a fiscally disastrous policy that other state budgets are reeling from as a result of expansion.

Libertas Institute opposes this bill. We favor free market solutions to the pressing health insurance concerns that many Utahns have. Expanding an entitlement program and compelling taxpayers to fund it is not the proper role of government, nor the wise path forward to address this issue.

Davis, G.OpposeIntroducedEmail your Senator/RepEmail the bill sponsor
Asset Forfeiture Transparency Amendments

This law would enhance a forfeiture transparency bill that Libertas Institute first proposed two years ago, in order to collect more information on how forfeiture cases are being handled.

Libertas Institute supports this bill. A recent poll showed that 86% of Utah voters oppose civil asset forfeiture. Given the concern over this issue, the public needs to gain a better understanding of how this law is being used, and how it might be further reformed.

Stephenson, H.SupportIntroducedEmail your Senator/RepEmail the bill sponsor
Victim Selection Penalty Enhancements

This bill increases the level of a criminal penalty if a judge or jury finds that a person acted with "prejudice" against a person because of their ancestry, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, national origin, race, religion, or sexual orientation.

Libertas Institute opposes this bill. Whether an assault was instigated by the aggressor's jealousy, drunkenness, anger, or discriminatory "prejudice" about the victim's personal characteristics is immaterial. Taxpayers should not be required to subsidize higher incarceration rates in pursuit of misnamed "social justice."

Thatcher, D.OpposeIntroducedEmail your Senator/RepEmail the bill sponsor