Here’s what you may have missed during week 3 of the Utah Legislature 

Feb 2, 2024, 6:51 PM | Updated: Feb 3, 2024, 10:56 am

SALT LAKE CITY — Week three of the Utah Legislature is in the books and as of Friday evening, at least 50 bills have been passed. Eleven of those have been signed into law by Gov. Spencer Cox. 

The week started with a lot of chatter about bringing professional hockey to Utah, and a resolution supporting Major League Baseball in the state passed. Cox also signed a big bill allowing Utah to ignore some federal directives, and two other controversial laws relating to transgender bathroom access and diversity, equity and inclusion.

The Legislature passed several base budgets that tell each state agency how much money they have to work with. 

A bill requiring cell phone companies to turn on filters for minors before they’re sold here is moving forward, while a bill that would have expanded Utah’s earned income tax credit by making it refundable failed to pass out of a committee. 

Signed bills 

Cox signed SB57, called The Constitutional Sovereignty Act. It allows Utah to opt out of some federal directives like air quality rules or public lands issues if a supermajority of the Legislature agrees. There are carveouts for deploying the National Guard and informing Native tribes. 

“We agreed that we would give (tribes) notification when a resolution was opened,” said Sen. Scott Sandall, R-Treamonton, as the bill passed on the Senate floor.  

On Tuesday, Cox signed two of the biggest talkers of the session thus far: a bill dealing with bathroom privacy that restricts transgender people from using the bathroom of their gender identity in government buildings and a bill replacing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion offices and programs.  

Lawmakers also dubbed this week energy week. Where Republican leaders say they need an “all of the above” approach to producing energy because of the federal government. 

“They’ve been trying to force us to shut down our most reliable power sources in the state of Utah over the next nine years and not having anything to replace that. And so we need to focus on that,” said House Speaker Mike Schultz, R-Hooper. 

 Education was another big topic in week three where lawmakers say they’re trying to incentivize teachers by allowing high-performing ones to get a pay raise, more days for prep and more money for supplies. 

“We have some of the best…we have the best group of teachers than any other state in the nation,” Schultz said. 

Other education bills have teachers’ groups leery of the state’s role in policing what local school districts do, including a clean-up bill on the bill to remove sensitive materials from school libraries.  


Pushback from citizens’ groups 

There was no shortage of criticisms of the Legislature in week three either. A coalition of citizens’ groups blasted the Legislature for a bill that proposes changing Utah’s constitution so when voters tried to run an initiative for a new law dealing with, taxes the threshold would be 60% approval instead of 50%. 

Those groups say the Legislature is trying to make it too hard for the citizens to change laws.   

Sponsors of the bill say a 60% threshold is not insurmountable.   

One bill that is moving on, requires cell phone companies to turn on content-filtering for minors before they activate a phone in Utah. 

“I mean, parents should be (not letting their kids use) tobacco and alcohol, and yet we still have a law that says you have to be a certain age to buy those. I don’t think this is any different,” said the bill’s sponsor Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross.   

Another notable bill moving forward would allow teen drivers to have one friend in the car in their first six months of driving, which changes a longstanding law of no passengers in the car besides family. 

Another significant bill was introduced allowing clergy the option to report abuse or neglect even if the perpetrator told them during confession. Notably, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not oppose the current version of the bill. 

What will the state pay for? 

Week three also saw the Legislature pass and the governor sign several base budgets that tell each state agency how much money they have to work with. Later in the session, when revenue projections come back, the budget will be finalized, allowing time for additional funding requests.  

Senate Pres. Stuart Adams, R-Kaysville, touted the base budget process as one of the most important things the Legislature has done thus far, saying that their process of asking agencies to trim is what keeps Utah’s budget well-managed. 

We go back and ask the agency if you’re seeing some cuts, you’re seeing some reprioritization, you’re seeing money that maybe isn’t as well used to another spot which should be changed or reappropriate it to another line item. And that is what I think makes Utah great,” Adams said.

This week, we saw funding requests for earthquake preparedness, major league and Olympic sports upgrades, managing the shores of the Great Salt Lake, bringing a presidential debate to Utah, and many more. 

So far, all of Utah’s base budgets have passed. 

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

Some good Samaritans came to the aid of Joey Espinoza after he had a medical emergency during a rec...

Shelby Lofton

Good Samaritans take action after Tooele man is badly burned at a campsite

A Tooele County family is thanking the good Samaritans who saved their father's life during a camping trip emergency. 

4 hours ago

Longtime announcer Lloyd Newell speaks as Derrick Porter is announced as the new voice of the Taber...

Hanna Seariac, Deseret News

Lloyd Newell bids farewell after 34 years of bringing inspiration from the Crossroads of the West

A few minutes before the broadcast “Music & the Spoken Word” started, Lloyd Newell walked up on stage at the Conference Center, like he’s done many times before. But this time, it was different — it’s his last time.

5 hours ago

tooele county sheriff's office...

Mark Jones

Skydiving accident in Tooele County sends one person to the hospital

A skydiving accident Sunday afternoon in Tooele County sent one person to the hospital, according to the Tooele County Sheriff's Office.

6 hours ago

emergency lights...

Mark Jones

5 juveniles hospitalized following early-morning crash in South Jordan

Police say five juveniles were hospitalized early Sunday morning following a one-vehicle crash.

8 hours ago

A group of teenagers were climbing up rocks at a hiking spot in Utah County when a large boulder br...

Brianna Chavez

Search and rescue crews faced difficult challenges in rescue of injured 16-year-old boy

A group of teenagers were climbing up rocks at a hiking spot in Utah County when a large boulder broke loose and struck a 16-year-old boy on Friday. The boy suffered a broken femur, according to the Utah County Sheriff's Office.

8 hours ago

The Main Library in Salt Lake City is pictured on Monday, Sept. 21, 2020. (Scott G. Winterton, Dese...

Kennedy Camarena, KSL NewsRadio

LISTEN: The end of libraries?

SALT LAKE CITY — These days, just about everything is electronic, including books. This begs us to ask the question, could we be seeing the end of school and city libraries? KSL NewsRadio’s host of A Woman’s View Amanda Dickson discussed this topic on the show with three guests. 👇 Ronda Menlow, former state representative […]

10 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light up your home with these top lighting trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for hassle-free computer repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Here’s what you may have missed during week 3 of the Utah Legislature