Over the past week, Governor Gary Herbert has been frantically signing bills into law. As of yesterday, Herbert has signed over 180 bills into law in just the last week.
By law, the governor has until Wednesday to either sign or veto bills that advanced through the legislature. The clock has been ticking since March 13 when the 2014 session gaveled out sine die. If Herbert fails to sign any particular piece of legislation by the deadline, the legislation will automatically become law. Conversely, if the Governor vetoes any piece of legislation, the Utah State Legislature will have until May 12th to hold a veto override session.
In all, the legislature passed 486 bills, down from last year’s record high of 524 passed bills. In all, the 2014 session introduced 1,127 bills, up from the 1,038 bills introduced last year. However, lawmakers may have been more cautious going into the November election, as this year’s session resulted in a success rate of just over 43 percent, down from a 50 percent pass rate from 2013.
Notable bills signed into law over the past week include:
- HB 74, a bill that increases the tax credit people receive for buying a new electric or hybrid vehicle from $605 to $1,000, but reduces tax incentives for natural gas vehicles.
- HB 80, which allows UDOT to raise speed limits to 80 miles per hour on any stretch of road it deems safe to do so.
- HB 254, legislation that provided help for children who are the victims of human trafficking, shifting the focus away from prosecuting children to protecting them.
- SB 62, which cracks down on the USTAR program, which came under fire over the past year for questionable spending and cause many lawmakers to wonder if the technology oriented origination simply funneled money away from state universities.
- SB 196, one of the major Stericycle bills. This legislation would prohibit new medical incinerators from opening up shop in the state and require a two-mile residential buffer zone for new plants that may be built by companies that currently hold a licence.
- SB 203, a bill that extended the start and sunset date for the Utah Pilot Sponsored Resident Immigration Program, which would allow immigrants to reside in the state if sponsored by a citizen.
- SB 286, creating a prison relocation commission charged with, ultimately, moving the Utah State Prison out of Draper and finding a more suitable location.
Finally, Utah will now officially change the state tree from the Blue Spruce to the Quaking Aspen with Herbert’s sign-off on SB 41.