Statewide regulations for conceal carry, accessory dwelling units, utility permits and housing inspectionsMar 04, 2021 11:29AM ● By Cassie Goff
Utah’s Concealed Carry Permit Course will no longer be required. (Photo courtesy of Tim Zarra/Tedder Industries)
By Cassie Goff | [email protected]
Most every Thursday morning throughout the duration of the 2021 General Legislative Session, city lobbyists meet with members of the Cottonwood Heights City Council to discuss updates in legislature proceedings.
One of the most notable events in the legislature as of publication was the passing of H.B. 60 Conceal Carry Firearms Amendment that would allow the conceal carry of firearms without permitting or training.
City Lobbyist Brian Allen reported that the bill designates eligibility to any individual over the age of 21 and in good standing to carry a concealed firearm in public. “We have talked to (the legislators in support) about the concerns from the law enforcement perspective and they aren’t sympathetic. Law enforcement is unitedly against the bill.”
Councilmember Christine Mikell asked Allen if he knew what the argument in support of the bill was, because she didn’t understand the argument against education. “We can all benefit from education. I hope we are fighting this strongly,” she said.
“It’s always a mistake to assign logic and reason to the legislative process,” Allen said.
“Their argument primarily is that criminals will carry guns if they have the law or not. There’s no reason we should restrict responsible citizens to conceal carry. In their mind it’s less disruptive to the public order to allow concealed carry because it’s not out in the public view and it doesn’t make people nervous,” Allen said.
Allen reported on the many law enforcement bills as well. “There is law enforcement bill in committee almost every day with a lot of good, thoughtful discussion. Everyone is interested in getting it right. Most have been favorable for promoting the right policy. Love, Listen, and Lead has suggested a lot of these changes.”
City Lobbyist Greg Curtis reported on the proceedings of H.B. 244 First Class County Highway Road Funds Amendments sponsored by Rep. James Dunnigan and Sen. Wayne Harper which intends to bring improvements for transportation all over the state.
On Feb. 4, Curtis reported further on updates regarding the legislative budget. There had been some conversation regarding trail and open space packages and an infrastructure bond, but “there have been weeks of leadership meetings and they’re still not sure what they’re doing.”
Some legislatures wanted to move funding for outdoor recreation to the Department of Natural Resources, which would change who would be in charge of the related expenditures, but conversations around that budgetary item were still ongoing as of Feb. 11.
Allen and City Lobbyist Chantel Nate reported on H.B. 17 Utility Permitting Amendments which would prohibit permitting natural gas. “They put an amendment in that bill so cities would not be prohibited from using natural gas for their own resources or educating the public,” Allen said. He anticipated that the bill would likely pass.
Allen, Nate and Curtis have all been watching topics regarding accessory dwelling units (ADUs) within the state closely. In February, two bills which would impose state-wide regulations were heard. “Something is going to pass,” Allen reported.
The key for cities is to make sure whatever does pass is the least damaging. The bill by Peterson “would strip all power from cities and it would be devastating if that passed,” said Allen.
City lobbyists and the Utah League of Cities and Towns were working on amending H.B. 82 Single-family Housing Modifications to make regulations more livable for cities. “We want to give the city ability for basic safety,” said Allen, giving the example of a “way to egress in the event of a fire.”
Cottonwood Heights Councilmembers Scott Bracken and Mikell voiced concerns around ADU parking in relation to the bill.
Allen agreed and mentioned that some of the city concerns about parking were going to be accommodated. “It’s not going to be the perfect bill, but a bill we can see we made progress on. It’s a little better as they added an additional one parking space has to be on premise.”
Similarly, there were a few bills that addressed billboard regulations statewide. “We will work with the League and negotiate with sign companies to try to get a place of goodness. I have talked to the sign company lobbyist and he is amenable to language similar to (Cottonwood Heights) ordinance. I don’t think we will get to a place where we support the bill (S.B. 61 Outdoor Advertising Amendments) but we might get it to a place where it’s not too harmful.”
Mikell mentioned that a potential curfew for the lighting should include daylight savings. Allen thought that was an excellent idea as that had not been brought up in the session yet.
On Jan. 28, City Lobbyist Brian Allen reported on H.B. 98 Local Government Building Regulation Amendments concerning housing inspections. “It’s a nuclear war against cities and their permitting process. It’s a really problematic bill.”