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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Cottonwood Heights leaders worried about how passed bills will affect their municipal authority

Feb 29, 2024 01:37PM ● By Cassie Goff

As of Feb. 20, 586 bills have been filed during the 2024 legislative session. (eschweik/flickr)

“It’s a socks and underwear year—and you need to buy your own underwear,” Councilmember Matthew Holton recapped the sentiment of the 2024 General Legislative Session. 

“I want to remind you this is a family show,” laughed Mayor Mike Weichers during the Cottonwood Heights Legislative update meeting on Feb. 15. 

“Anything that requires money may not happen this year,” restated lobbyist Greg Curtis. 

Principal lobbyist Brian Allen, Executive Assistant Chantel Nate, and Curtis updated the Cottonwood Heights City Council on the ongoing discussions within this year’s legislative session along with the latest movements on the bills of interest that could have an impact to the city. 

“There’s a possibility we could hit 600 bill files for the first time in history,” reported Allen on Feb. 22, as the legislature was at 586 filed bills. 

Here’s a review on some of them:  

H.B. 180: Short-term Rentals Amendments sponsored by Rep. Gay Lynn Bennion, would prohibit the use of short-term rentals without a permit issued by the overseeing municipality. 

Allen reported that the League of Utah Cities and Towns along with the Property Rights Coalition did not like the wording within this bill.

“(Rep. Bennion) kept watering it down, and watering it down, to a point where no one was happy,” Allen said. “It was a ‘death by a thousand cuts’ scenario where pretty soon no one likes the bill and it just dies.” 

Allen did report that the Property Rights Coalition would “be willing to give up the prohibition on enforcing on the websites using those as a enforcement tool if they can get something in return.”

H.B. 84: School Safety Amendments has been sponsored by Rep. Ryan Wilcox and Sen. Don Ipson. 

“The thing that’s perplexing is a requirement of a guardian for all of the schools,” Cottonwood Heights City Manager Tim Tingey said. “The concept is great but it’s who these guardians are, what they do in schools, and how they are funded that’s not specified.” 

Allen believed the intent was that the school guardians were unpaid positions, so a parent could volunteer. Guardians would have a concealed carry permit. 

“The fear is that the people who will volunteer are the ones who you don’t really want to do it,” Allen said. 

The bill also had a specification for schools to require ballistic-level glass on the lower level of all schools. 

“That would be millions for the school districts that the legislature is not funding,” Allen said.

As of Feb. 23, the Senate committee opted to not consider this bill. 

S.B. 185: Residential Building Inspection Amendments sponsored by Sen. Evan Vickers and Rep. Calvin Musselman focuses on the availablity of third-party inspectors. 

Tingey is worried about the implications for liability with the processes of inspections proposed within this bill.  

Allen reported that the League of Cities and Towns has been actively opposing this bill. Even with the opposition, it was circled through the Senate on Feb. 23. 

H.B. 13: Infrastructure Financing Districts sponsored by Rep. James Dunnigan and Sen. Kirk Cullimore was opposed by Cottonwood Heights and the city’s lobbyists last year.

Allen recapped that the bill gave businesses imminent domain authority which took away local municipality authority. There were also issues with policing. This year, the bill includes a statement for an occupancy permit. With the necessary changes, this bill was placed on the Senate’s Reading Calendar on Feb. 22. 

H.B. 155: Discharge of Fireworks Amendments has been sponsored by Rep. Rex Shipp. Originally, this bill would allow for fireworks to be set off in the evening of Sept. 17 for the celebration of Constitution Day. It has since been substituted to remove the provision for Constitution Day, but allows for the purchase of fireworks online anytime. The House Committee recommended a favorable action on Feb. 20.

“We worked the Constitution Day aspect of it,” Allen said. “It’s a completely different bill now.” 

H.B. 502: Critical Infrastructure and Mining was sponsored by Rep. Casey Snider, substituted by Feb. 15, and read by the House on Feb. 22. 

“There is no one that asked the legislature to do this,” reported Councilmember Holton. “House leadership just came up with it and it’s clearly not a priority bill.” 

On Feb. 22, Allen reported that H.B. 502 will be shifted to a study item (studying areas of mining) over the summer and it will not be changing the law at this point in time. 

“I think the intent was always to bring people to the table,” Allen said. “This gives us some time to sit down, talk through what the issues are, and what the potential solutions are.” 

“We are working diligently to identify and oppose bills that could harm our city and reduce or eliminate local control,” said Weichers on Feb. 13. 

“I encourage each of you to find out who represents you at the legislature and ask them where they stand on any legislation that threatens the local authority of cities,” continued Weichers, speaking to his constituents. 

The 2024 Legislative Session will run until March 1, with the last day of veto power from the governor being March 21. 

Residents can view current bills by visiting the Utah Legislature website at:

Various bill trackers can be found through specific company, entity, and municipality websites. 

The Utah League of Cities and Towns bill tracker can be found by visiting:

The Wasatch Front Regional Council bill tracker can be found by visiting:

The Salt Lake Tribune has partnered with Utah AI company Seer to implement a new bill tracking tool this year. This is available at: