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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Cottonwood Heights needs to adapt to new bills passed by state legislature

Apr 08, 2024 01:28PM ● By Cassie Goff

People camping on the block of 500 West pack up their belongings before the Rapid Intervention Team moves in to scoop it into the dumpster on Feb. 2, 2023. (Rick Egan/The Salt Lake Tribune)

Utah residents can take a breath as another General Legislative Session comes to a close. As of March 21, Gov. Spencer Cox has worked through all of the bills that had passed through the legislative body by March 1 to either sign or veto. There were approximately 600 bills for him to read through (with over 2,000 bill files opened this year). 

“He had bills presented to him as late as March 12,” said principal lobbyist Brian Allen. 

On March 19, Allen, Executive Assistant Chantel Nate, and lobbyist Greg Curtis reported the final details of those tracked bills and their impact to the City of Cottonwood Heights. As reported previously, the Cottonwood Heights City Council had been closely following the proceedings of many of those bills that had the potential to impact the residents within the city and city authority. 

H.B. 488: Transportation Funding Modifications, sponsored by Rep. Robert Spendlove and Sen. Kirk Cullimore, amends provisions related to transportation funding and distributes money from the County of the First Class Highway Projects Fund. 

“Most of the funding was wrapped up in H.B. 488 and passed on the second to last day,” said Curtis. 

For Cottonwood Heights, this bill will be beneficial in the long run as $1,500,000 will be appropriated for improvements to Fort Union Boulevard and 2300 East. In addition, $400,000 of the first class will be mitigated to Cottonwood Heights for priority projects to mitigate congestion and improve transportation safety for 15 years.

“Sen. Cullimore did a lot of heavy lifting for the city,” Curtis said. “We have good reps that support the city in their efforts.”  

H.B. 201: Traffic Enforcement Amendments sponsored by Rep. Brett Gardner creates a Speed Safety Camera Pilot Program and allocates fees collected from speed safety camera citations. 

“Upping the fine for speeding in construction and school zones passed,” reported Allen. 

H.B. 330: Unincorporated Areas Amendments sponsored by Rep. Jordan Teuscher and Sen. Cullimore modifies provisions relating to unincorporated areas. 

This bill will require unincorporated islands to be annexed into an adjoining municipality. If unincorporated islands don’t annex into a municipality of their choosing with a specified date, they will be automatically annexed into the largest neighboring municipality. 

“Granite and White City were up in arms because they would need to be annexed,” said Allen. “They have until 2027 to figure out if there’s a feasible way to self-determine.”  

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

Cities are required to provide a list of possible inspectors to developers. For development projects, if a city does not get an inspector out within three days, the developer can choose their inspector from that city’s list of inspectors, but it’s still paid and vetted by the city. 

Mayor Mike Weichers and the Cottonwood Heights City Council wondering if they would need to worry about the amendments within this bill. 

“We are next day,” said Community and Economic Development Director Mike Johnson. “We have never been more than one business day for an inspection.” 

S.B. 91: Local Government Officers Compensation Amendments sponsored by Sen. Chris Wilson and Rep. Paul Cutler modifies provisions relating to compensation of certain county and municipal officers.

Municipal bodies must hold separate meetings to discuss any raises for the City Manager.   

“It’s a transparency thing,” said Allen. “It originally started with every city employee. We whittled it down to elected officials and we ultimately got it down to the city manager.” 

H.B. 298: Homelessness Services Amendments sponsored by Rep. Tyler Clancy and Sen. Cullimore modifies provisions related to the provision of homeless services. 

H.B. 421: Homelessness and Vulnerable Populations Amendments sponsored by Rep. Steve Eliason and Sen. Cullimore modifies provisions related to the oversight and provision of services for individuals experiencing homelessness and other vulnerable populations. 

Allen and Nate mentioned that the main intention for these bills is to continue studying and analyzing the situation. In order to do so, they will be asking to have more representation on the Homeless Advisory Council. 

H.B. 297: Utah Bee Inspection Act Amendments sponsored by Rep. Rex Shipp and Sen. Ronald Winterton modifies the Utah Bee Inspection Act. 

Allen mentioned that this bill would have taken all control away from cities if it had not been modified. The first substitute was signed by the governor on March 12 as Not Adopted. 

For more information, residents can view current bills by visiting the Utah Legislature website at: λ