Cox signs bills for major league stadiums in Salt Lake City

Mar 20, 2024, 9:09 AM

Proposed stadiums in salt lake...

A conceptual rendering of a proposed Major League Baseball stadium in the Salt Lake City Power District project zone. Utah lawmakers and business leaders on Wednesday offered a deeper look into a pair of bills the Utah Legislature passed this year that could help build it and a new downtown arena. (Larry H. Miller Company)

(Larry H. Miller Company)

SALT LAKE CITY — Major league baseball and hockey are one step closer to becoming realities in Utah after Gov. Spencer Cox signed a pair of bills that help create a framework for a new ballpark and new arena in Salt Lake City.

It’s no surprise that the governor approved both HB562 and SB272, which would invest at least $900 million in both proposals over the next several decades. HB562 creates a new Utah Fairpark Area Investment Restoration District to help shepherd the redevelopment planned for the Fairpark neighborhood and forthcoming Power District. It also provides up to $900 million in state funds for a possible Major League Baseball stadium, if Utah gets an expansion team by 2032.

The second bill, SB272, creates a “revitalization” zone in downtown Salt Lake City, that could eventually be home to a new arena for the Utah Jazz and a potential National Hockey League team.

With the Thursday deadline to sign or veto bills quickly approaching, Cox signed several other bills this week, including increased penalties for road rage in certain circumstances and a bill barring the state attorney general from private practice while in office.

Cox has now signed 453 bills of the 591 that passed the Utah Legislature during the recent general session. Here’s a brief recap of some of the recent bills signed by the governor:

Road rage

Following a “sharp” spike in road rage cases statewide in recent years, lawmakers approved HB30 to better define road rage in state code and enhance penalties for reckless driving involving road rage.

The bill defines road rage as an offense committed when a driver responds “to an incident that occurs or escalates upon a roadway” with “the intent to endanger or intimidate and individual in another vehicle.” Any fines or fees collected from road rage incidents will help fund education campaigns designed to prevent future road rage.

The bill goes into effect on July 1.

Rules for attorney general

Although lawmakers declined to take major oversight steps of the attorney general’s office in light of Attorney General Sean Reyes’ friendship with embattled anti-sex trafficking activist Tim Ballard, the controversy surrounding Ballard likely helped buoy a bill to prohibit any attorney general from privately practicing law while in office.

At least one senator last year considered sponsoring a proposed constitutional amendment to make the attorney general an appointed, rather than elected position.

HB380 was signed by Cox Monday and will take effect May 1.

Expanding mental health care

Senate Republicans celebrated a “big win” for behavioral health Tuesday, as Cox signed SB26 which lowers licensure barriers for certain mental health professionals in an effort to expand the supply of mental health providers in the state.

Cox previously called for a change in licensing for professionals, saying the state needs an additional 8,000 behavioral health care workers to meet the current demand.

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Cox signs bills for major league stadiums in Salt Lake City