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.

Driving Under the Influence Sentencing Amendments (HB 20) Oppose

This bill increases penalties for a number of DUI offenses.

Libertas opposes this bill. There are a number of concerning elements pertaining to how offenders are charged and sentenced that we cannot endorse

Unaccompanied Minors in Autonomous Vehicles (HB 31) Support

This bill establishes a workgroup on unaccompanied minors and autonomous vehicles. The workgroup would have composed of various stakeholders and study issues related to unaccompanied minors and autonomous vehicles.

Libertas Institute supports this bill. Autonomous vehicles are the future of the automobile industry, and it would be prudent to explore the subject in-depth. The technology offers a promising future, and the state should look for as many ways to leverage the technology and explore where it can be useful. This bill is a step in the right direction in preparing Utah for a future that includes autonomous vehicles.

DUI Revisions (HB 47) Oppose

This bill creates a presumptive hold for an individual's bail who is accused of driving on a DUI, causing a serious bodily injury or death.

Libertas opposes this bill. As bail is guaranteed by the Constitution, creating blanket holds on certain criminal charges is not a good precedent to set.

Conceal Carry Firearms Amendments (HB 60) Support

This bill ensures that Utahns 21 and up do not need a permit to exercise their right to conceal carry a firearm.

Libertas supports this bill. The government’s permission should not be needed to exercise a fundamental right.

Device Filter Amendments (HB 72) Oppose

This bill mandates that new tablets and smartphones sold to Utahns come with the filters turned on. If a device is sold in the state and the filters are not turned on, the manufacturers will be held liable.

Libertas Institute opposes this bill. While well intentioned, the bill is a heavy handed one-size-fits-all style of regulatory burden. We believe that there are less restrictive measures that could be taken and the government should not be in the business of filtering content on devices.

Firearm Preemption Amendments (HB 76) Support

This bill overrides any local laws that undermine the state's protections regarding firearms, helping establish a statewide standard.

Libertas Institute supports this bill. Local jurisdictions should not have the ability to enact different firearm policies that inhibit the exercise of this fundamental right.

Consent Amendments (HB 78) Oppose

This bill creates a new felony for "sexual conduct without affirmative consent," which means "words or overt actions by an individual who is competent to give informed consent indicating a freely given agreement to have sexual conduct at the time of the act.

Libertas opposes this bill. Because it is near impossible to prove what "words or overt actions" actually occurred, it is extremely likely that this law would be weaponized in cases where there actually was consent, but one party later regretted the sexual encounter. The bill criminalizes actual consent.

Mental Health as an Excused School Absence (HB 81) Support

This bill allows parents to excuse their children from government schools for issues pertaining to mental health.

Libertas supports this bill. Allowing children to deal with their mental health challenges without facing added pressure and punishment from the school system is proper policy.

Single-Family Housing Modifications (HB 82) Support

Homeowners in Utah would be allowed to convert a portion of their home into an accessory apartment more easily.

Libertas supports this bill. It will alleviate stress on the housing market and strengthen the property rights of homeowners.

Social Security Tax Amendments (HB 86) Support

This bill helps seniors whose income is made up mostly by social security benefits by providing them a non-refundable income tax credit of up to $450.

Libertas supports this bill. This is an important first step that would promote financial security and self-reliance for seniors who have structured their retirement to depend upon social security.

Microenterprise Home Kitchen Amendments (HB 94) Support

This bill creates a legal process for home-based chefs to offer food for sale to others, including meat-based products not already included under the state's previous food freedom law.

Libertas Institute supports this bill. Many people already sell food that they produce at home and should not be criminalized for doing so.

Student Attendance Amendments (HB 116) Support

This bill allows parents to excuse their children from government schools due to an illness without requiring a doctor's note.

Libertas supports this bill. Allowing parents to excuse their children from school for a valid absence should not require them to pay a medical professional to validate their decision.

Competency Based Hiring Amendments (HB 139) Support

This bill would require government agencies to no longer require a college degree as a condition of employment.

Libertas supports this bill. Competency can be gained in many different ways, and expensive education is no guarantee of it.

Driver License Suspension Amendments (HB 143) Support

This bill stops the state from suspending individuals' driver's licenses for failure to pay court debt and for low-level failure to appear offenses.

Libertas supports this bill. Unnecessary suspensions only make it more difficult for offenders to pay their fines.

Use of Force Revisions (HB 154) Support

This bill would institute a number of policing reforms regarding the use of force and investigation into officer misconduct.

Libertas supports this bill. It offers a nuanced, but comprehensive, approach to reforming both the use of force by police and the investigation of police misconduct.

Juvenile Interrogation Amendments (HB 158) Support

This bill protects children's Miranda rights during a law enforcement investigation.

Libertas supports this bill. If a child is taken into custody for an alleged criminal offense, they still have constitutional rights that need to be upheld, just like adults.

Higher Education Speech (HB 159) Support

This bill would restrict a university's ability to adopt overly broad or vague harassment codes that could be used to punish constitutionally protected speech.

Libertas supports this bill. Public universities must allow students to exercise their rights to speech without any intervention unless there is actual harassment.

Distracted Driver Amendments (HB 160) Oppose

This bill completely prohibits "manipulating" (using) a phone while driving.

Libertas opposes this bill. Criminally punishing any interaction with a phone is unnecessarily excessive and a significant over-criminalization of an activity that only accounts for the cause of just over 1 percent of highway fatalities.

Disaster Response and Recovery Act Amendments (HB 169) Support

This bill exerts greater control over emergency declarations by the executive branch in state and local government.

Libertas supports this bill. The executive branch has demonstrated the clear need for additional oversight and controls to limit its authority during prolonged emergency periods.

Pharmacy Practice Modifications (HB 178) Support

This bill provides pharmacists the ability to issue prescriptions for medications (that are not controlled substances) in certain circumstances, such as for an acute condition, or a chronic one where the patient has long been on medication that can continue without needing another doctor visit.

Libertas supports this bill. Medical freedom requires streamlining the process for patients to get the support they need.

Occupational and Professional Licensing Amendments (HB 183) Support

This bill makes sure workers can get an occupational license in Utah if moving from a state that did not require a license for their profession.

Libertas supports this bill. Someone working in a license-free state who has acquired sufficient experience and education should not be compelled, as a condition of legally working in Utah, to give up their livelihood and start from scratch as if they were inexperienced.

Protection of Personal and Religious Liberty (HB 184) Support

This bill prohibits the government from restricting a person's ability to freely worship at their church during an emergency, and requires hospitals to allow patients to receive a visit from at least one family member or religious minister.

Libertas supports this bill. Property rights and free association must be protected against heavy restriction from the state, even during an emergency.

Regulatory Sandbox Program Amendments (HB 217) Support

This bill creates an all-inclusive regulatory sandbox so innovative companies and business models can be shielded temporarily from punishment for coming into conflict with outdated laws or regulations.

Libertas supports this bill. As House Speaker Brad Wilson has said, "In a hyper-competitive marketplace, we simply cannot afford to crush new industries before they can even get off the ground, by forcing them to fit into a regulatory framework that has never envisioned the innovations of tomorrow's economy."

Jail Photo Distribution Prohibition (HB 228) Support

This bill would prevent an individual's mugshot from being released to the public before any criminal conviction.

Libertas supports this bill. It ensures that when a booking photo is released, the person is actually convicted as guilty by the courts, not just in the court of public opinion.

Privacy Protection Amendments (HB 243) Support

This bill requires law enforcement to proactively seek public input on surveillance technologies they wish to use.

Libertas Institute supports this bill. The public's privacy should not be quietly violated for years before they later learn that a new technology is being used on them.

Law Enforcement Internal Investigation Requirements (SB 13) Support

If a police officer quits their job while being internally investigated, the employing department is required to notify Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) of the investigation and give them an estimated time to completion.

Libertas supports this bill. This will help ensure accountability and state uniformity among police investigations.

Property Tax Relief Amendments (SB 26) Support

This bill helps low-income seniors stay in their home by increasing the threshold to claim a property tax credit.

Libertas supports this bill. With or without the effects of COVID-19, Utah seniors need targeted relief from the increasing burden of property taxes.

Employee Status Amendments (SB 32) Support

This bill states that a person providing a remote service is not deemed an employee so long as the relationship between the person and the company is freelance in nature.

Libertas Institute supports this bill. Many jobs are increasingly moving to the digital realm and making sure the law reflects the shift in the nature of work is important. By thinking about the digital economy and empowering a worker's right to earn a living, the state will position itself to be a leader for freelance workers in the future.

K-9 Policy Requirements (SB 38) Support

This bill is a workable step toward a more responsible deployment of police dogs, ensuring that both canines and their handlers are properly trained on a yearly basis.

Libertas supports this bill. The goal of these measures is to prevent individuals from unnecessary canine injuries and keep police accountable for harm when it does unjustly occur. 

Juvenile Offender Penalty Amendments (SB 50) Support

This bill ensures that, in most cases, if an individual commits a sexual offense as a juvenile, their punishment needs to be consistent with the juvenile penalty in statute.

Libertas supports this bill. Crimes committed as a juvenile should be punished accordingly, regardless of when charges are filed.

Group Gang Enhancement Amendments (SB 51) Support

This bill limits the amount of enhancement for crimes committed in a group prosecutors can charge.

Libertas supports this bill. Groups do not commit crimes--individuals in groups do, and punishment should reflect that.

Property Tax Deferral Modifications (SB 52) Support

This bill allows a senior to request that the county defer their property taxes. Instead of paying each year, the homeowner has a lien placed on their home and the property taxes come due (with interest) whenever the home is sold or ownership is transferred.

Libertas supports this bill as it allows seniors to stay in the home they worked so hard to purchase and pay off.

Price Control Repeals (SB 74) Support

This bill repeals Utah's anti-"price gouging" law which criminalizes business owners raising their prices of goods by more than a minimal amount during an emergency.

Libertas supports this bill. The existing law wrongly criminalizes basic economics which best allocates scarce resources during an emergency by allowing prices to fluctuate based on demand.

Amendments to the Price Controls During Emergencies Act (SB 86) Support

This bill reforms existing price-gouging laws in Utah to focus on individuals who are clearly and significantly taking advantage of Utahns during states of emergency.

Libertas supports this bill. Price-gouging laws are good politics, but bad economics.

Professional Licensing Amendments (SB 87) Support

This bill creates an exemption from occupational licensure for "blow dry bars" or similar services that only wash, dry, and style hair.

Libertas supports this bill. This reasonable exemption builds on the Court's past ruling and ensures that the burden of licensure only applies where public safety demands it.

Asset Forfeiture Amendments (SB 98) Support

This bill contains a number of changes to civil asset forfeiture law following a unanimous Utah Supreme Court case that found the state government had violated the existing law.

Libertas supports this bill. It is the result of months of negotiations with law enforcement stakeholders.