SALT LAKE CITY – The second week of the General Assembly 2021 is over. At a time that is unparalleled – in a largely empty Capitol adorned with Plexiglas signs, social distancing mandates, mask requirements, and virtual meetings – the 45-day legislative session will cover several important political issues.
Despite safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on Capitol Hill, three Utah lawmakers tested positive for the coronavirus in week two – one of whom was hospitalized.
Lawmakers say they have prepared for small outbreaks and require everyone to undergo rapid COVID-19 tests twice a week to detect active cases. If this is positive, the legislature must be present virtually and not in person.
Representatives must also wear masks and social distance during floor meetings. However, you can remove masks while speaking during an official procedure.
Due to security concerns related to President Joe Biden’s inauguration, the Capitol was closed to the public for the first week of the session. The shutdown was part of a larger decision by Governor Spencer Cox who declared a state of emergency five days before the inauguration day.
Although the Capitol has reopened to the public to attend the meetings, state forces will continue their ongoing security measures.
So far: 19 bills have been passed by the state parliament and one of them was signed by the governor. Here is a breakdown of what happened so far:
SECOND WEEK 2021 General Assembly:
Lot of money. At least 10 of the 19 bills passed this week had to do with different budgets and government allocations.
Changes to the HB48 Board of Directors
One of the latest invoices to be signed The legislature approved the extension of the repeal date of the Board of Directors of Financial Institutions until 2031. The The board meets four times a yearr with a term of four years.
HB1 university budget
The legislation has been passed its annual college funding bill provides funding from the General Fund, Education Fund, and other state sources to its public colleges and universities. After some changes during its session on Wednesday, the legislature approved a budget for the fiscal year starting July 1, 2021 and ending June 30, 2022.
The money goes to the state’s public universities such as the University of Utah and Utah State University. However, private schools like Brigham Young University and Westminster College do not receive funding.
SB1 S1 Budget changes of the public education base
ON Financing law in the Senate also went through the Friday legislature and provided the necessary funding for public and charter schools.
The bill also created the Enrollment Growth Contingency Program and Supplemental Educator COVID-19 Scholarship through legislation. The latter is a one-time grant for “Recognition of Work During the COVID-19 Pandemic”.
The bill provides a grant of $ 1,500 for licensed school educators and $ 1,000 for other “classified” school employees. Legislation also approves the use of federal coronavirus relief in classrooms.
HB4 S1 budget for economy, development and work base
Another annual funding bill, the legislature passed its replacement bill for the economy, economic development and labor base budget.
A replacement bill is legislation that replaces a previous bill with the same name. Basically, this bill does the same thing as the last one – but the money is distributed in a different way.
The bill runs from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022 in the same financial year as the university budget.
See the full breakdown of current budget here.
SB24 property tax revisions
The rules for housing exemptions for property taxes will change slightly under a Change made in SB24. Under the law, counties may waive or reduce penalties for those who fail to submit the required declaration of proof of a person’s taxable property.
Under previous law, homeowners couldn’t get housing exemption – that is, they could be taxed at a lower tax rate if they lived in their home all year round – unless they completed an application before November 30 of the current calendar year . That has been removed from the requirements.
Changes in income tax residence SB35
The Interim Committee on Income and Taxes has unanimously passed laws that introduce minor changes to income taxes.
Under the revised billNon-permanent Utah residents are not eligible for state income tax, even if their child is enrolled in one of the Utah public schools. This applies to adults who are not caring parents or who have never been married to the caring parent of the child.
HB6 S1 Infrastructure and Basis of the State
Money money money.
Legislators also passed a law setting the budget for the infrastructure and operation of the state. The bill provides money for the operating and capital budgets.
You can find the full breakdown here.
Changes to SB36 Tax Commission Bond Requirements
The Revenue and Taxation Interim Committee also passed another law that allows the Utah State Tax Commission to waive the loan regime for individuals whose withholding tax license or sales and use tax license was revoked following a criminal offense.
The revision only applies if the person complies with the agreed payment option approved by the Commission.
HB7 National Guard, Veterans Affairs and Legislature Base Budget
Just when you thought you had finished looking at numbers. Oh. There is more.
Just like it sounds, it sets the cash allocations for the Capitol Preservation Board, the Legislature, the Utah National Guard, and the Department of Veterans and Military Affairs.
See the full breakdown.
HB8 S1 State Agency and Funds for Compensation for Higher Education
You guessed it. More money.
The last of the funding bills for this week provides funding for government agencies – such as the Attorney General and the Utah Department of Justice – and more funding for higher education compensation programs.
See the full breakdown.
Other budgets proposed at the 2021 General Assembly: SB5 Basic Budget for Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environmental Quality, SB 6 Executive Offices and Basic Budget for Criminal Justice, SB7 Base Social Services Budget, SB8 State Agency Fees, and Approval and Funding for Internal Service Fund Rate.
Missed last week’s recap? Here are the highlights.