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.

School Absenteeism and Truancy Amendments (HB 14) Support

This bill makes some minor changes to school truancy, but also ensures that schools can only impose administrative penalties on truant children who are in grade 7 or above, exempting out younger children. The bill also narrows an existing crime for parents to allow their children to be truant, instead limiting it to cases where the truant child is in grade 1 through 6, ensuring parents are not criminalized for their older truant children.

Libertas supports this bill. We consider this an incremental improvement to the current law, to improve parental rights.

Abuse, Neglect, and Dependency Proceedings Amendments (HB 33) Support

This bill limits the cases in which the government can seek to permanently terminate a parent's rights with respect to their children.

Libertas supports this bill. Termination of parental rights is a very serious government action and should follow due process and only be used as an absolute last resort.

Distracted Driver Amendments (HB 101) Oppose

This bill would criminalize the "manual manipulation," or holding, of a cell phone while operating a vehicle. The offense would be an infraction.

Libertas opposes this bill. Criminally punishing any manipulation of a phone is unnecessarily excessive and a significant over-criminalization of an activity that is not inherently dangerous. People "manipulate" their car dashboard, their makeup, their food, and other things that are not criminalized; merely pressing something on your phone should not be.

911 Responsibilities in an Emergency (HB 104) Oppose

This bill criminalizes the failure to call 911 during a crime or emergency in which somebody is suffering serious bodily injury.

Libertas opposes this bill. Allowing a prosecutor to later seek punishment for a person who made a bad moral judgment, but who did not necessarily intend to aid in the continued injury of the person, is a bad policy decision that unnecessarily criminalizes Utahns who find themselves in such a circumstance.

Universal Background Checks for Firearm Purchasers (HB 109) Oppose

This bill requires background checks be conducted on all firearm sales, except when a firearm is transferred between family members or to a law enforcement agency, or other minor exceptions.

Libertas opposes this bill. Currently Utahs may privately sell firearms to one another without the bureaucratic overhead imposed by the federal government. This bill would discourage private sales by imposing this burden, and it also inconsistently targets firearms, but not other dangerous weapons.

Dangerous Weapon Custodian Liability (HB 115) Oppose

This bill makes a firearm owner liable for damage caused by their firearm if they share it with another person who they should have known was an "unfit individual," who then uses the firearm to cause personal injury or property damage.

Libertas opposes this bill. Culpability for using a weapon to harm somebody should rest with the person who commits the harmful act, and not on the person who loaned the weapon when they had no intention to support the use of the firearm in a criminal act.

Controlled Substance Database Amendments (HB 117) Oppose

This bill removes a requirement for police officers to obtain a warrant before accessing a person's prescription drug history.

Libertas opposes this bill. Law enforcement should have the same restrictions on this digital data as they would if they wanted to look into a person's physical medicine cabinet at home: they should have to get a warrant.

Rent Control Jurisdiction Amendments (HB 131) Oppose

This bill would allow local governments to create "rent control" laws that arbitrarily impose price restrictions on the cost of renting property.

Libertas opposes this bill. Rental prices should be subject only to market forces as a private contractual matter between landlord and renter. The government's intervention into this relationship would be arbitrary and distort the market unnecessarily.

Higher Education Student Speech Rights (HB 132) Support

This bill makes sure that free speech is protected on taxpayer-funded college campuses by making sure that the institution cannot prohibit speech that is not discriminatory harassment and by giving the student a cause of action to challenge a restriction of his or her speech.

Libertas supports this bill. The free exchange of ideas, including controversial ones, is an important aspect of education, especially when coercively funded by taxpayers.

Trail Improvement Amendments (HB 133) Oppose

This bill would expand the government's power of eminent domain to take a person's property for the purposes of creating a public trail.

Libertas Institute opposes this bill. The government should not be able to take a person's property against their wishes to give other people the ability to walk or bike along it on a trail that is not essential.

Raw Milk Products Amendments (HB 134) Support

This bill expands the current raw milk law to include cream and butter in addition to milk as an option for consumers to buy.

Libertas supports this bill. It is a reasonable extension of the current law, and informed consumers should be able to buy raw milk products.

Safe Storage of Firearms Amendments (HB 136) Oppose

This bill would create a criminal penalty for gun owners who do not securely store their firearms in the home so minors may not access them.

Libertas opposes this bill. There are many cases when minors have successfully used firearms in self defense to repel home invaders. Responsible education is key, but it is improper to criminally punish parents whose responsible children understand how and when to use a family firearm in defense.

Employment Selection Procedures Act Amendments (HB 140) Oppose

This bill would prohibit a company from seeking any information regarding a job applicant's past compensation history.

Libertas opposes this bill. Employers take many factors into their consideration of whether to hire an applicant. Past compensation is one such factor that an at-will employer should have the ability to determine; criminalizing their access to the information is unnecessary.

Driver License Suspension Amendments (HB 146) Support

This bill prohibits driver license suspensions for failure to pay court debt, and failure to appear in many non-driving related offenses.

Libertas supports this bill. If a person fails to pay the fine or appear in court, a warrant should be sufficient in getting them to do so. Taking away their ability to legally drive imposes needless harm on the individual that often is far harsher than the penalty for the underlying crime itself.

Safety Inspections on Secondhand Vehicles (SB 31) Oppose

We previously helped persuade legislators to repeal the mandatory vehicle safety inspection. This bill restores inspections for used motor vehicles sold by a dealer.

Libertas opposes this bill. There is no evidence that these mandatory inspections will lead to fewer vehicle safety fatalities. The Legislature was right to use data to repeal the program and would be wrong to incrementally chip away at those reforms.

Affordable Housing Amendments (SB 39) Oppose

This bill allocates 30 million taxpayer dollars, and 10 million dollars every year in the future, to be spent on subsidizing "affordable housing" for individuals who qualify.

Libertas opposes this bill. Redistribution of wealth is not a proper role of government, and while we are sympathetic to the financial burden caused by rising housing costs, it is improper for taxpayers to foot the bill to subsidize a preferred lifestyle by those who would receive such funds.


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