Grass Roots
Committed to Promoting the Principles of Limited Government, Constitution, Representative Government,
Participatory Republic, Free Market Economy, Family and Separation of Powers

Legislative Updates - 9 March 2020

<< All 2020 updates

Dear Friends:

This is GrassRoots’ sixth weekly legislative update of this year’s General Session of the Utah State Legislature.

At this time (6 weeks into the session), there are about 830 numbered bills for this session, and 210 of these have already passed.

According to the Legislature’s website, 574 bills passed during the 2019 General Session. A like performance this year might mean that another 360 bills are passed in the last 4 days of the session, which ends on Thursday, March 12th. We hope this does not occur. If it does, then we suspect many bills would pass without adequate reading, discussion, and understanding.

Read on for coverage of some bills that we consider noteworthy.

A bill catching our attention this week:

HB146Sub3, “Driver License Suspension Amendments”, sponsored by Representative Maloy and Senator Bramble, would prohibit:

  • the suspension of an individual's driver license by the Driver License Division based solely on: a) the individual's failure to pay certain fines; or b) the issuance of a bench warrant issued as a result of the individual's failure to appear or pay certain fines; and
  • a court from ordering a driver license suspension or revocation under certain circumstances.

HB146Sub3 passed the House 40-32 on March 2nd, and an amended version of the bill passed the Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement, and Criminal Justice Committee 5-1 on March 5th, and awaits consideration on the Senate 2nd reading calendar.

We want people to be able to make an honest living, take care of themselves, and stay off government assistance. If they are not fleeing justice and are not dangerous drivers, there is probably no need to suspend their licenses. GrassRoots favors a “yes” vote on HB146Sub3.

Updated bill status:

HB114Sub3, “Early Learning Training and Assessment Amendments”, sponsored by Representative Waldrip and Senator Millner, would:

  • provide programs and assessments to “improve early learning in literacy and mathematics”; and
  • appropriate $10 million annually for these new programs.

Additional coverage of HB114Sub2 and Sub3 may be found in our updates of February 10th, February 24th, and March 2nd.

HB114Sub3 passed the Senate 2nd reading 28-0 on March 4th, and is on the Senate 3rd reading calendar due to its fiscal impact. It will likely come to a Senate 3rd reading vote later this week.

We would prefer more local control of our schools. Also, we would prefer a $10 million tax cut to the spending prescribed by HB114Sub3. GrassRoots still favors a “no” vote on HB114Sub3.

HB241Sub2, “Kindergarten Attendance Amendments”, sponsored by Representative Shurtliff, is the latest version of HB241, and would define terms to amend the age at which school enrollment is required to include kindergarten-age children. (We also covered HB241 in our update of February 17th.)

HB241Sub2 passed the House Education Committee 6-5 on March 4th, and is circled on the House 3rd reading calendar.

HB241 would increase government school system infringement on parental stewardship, as parents would have to file an affidavit that their child is to be home-schooled one year earlier than is already the case. GrassRoots favors a “no” vote on HB241Sub2.

HB323Sub2, “School Mental Health Amendments”, sponsored by Representative Eliason and Senator Millner, replaced HB323Substitute, and would:

  • prohibit mental health screening without parental consent;
  • provide that data collected from a mental health screening may not be included in a student's Student Achievement Backpack;
  • set standards for participating local education agencies (LEAs) to implement approved mental health screening programs for participating students;
  • require the State Board of Education (state board) to: a) in consultation with the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health, approve an evidence-based mental health screening program to be administered annually to students in a participating LEA; and b) annually report on the screening programs to the State Suicide Prevention Coalition and the Education Interim Committee;
  • permit an LEA to use Teacher and Student Support Program money to match money distributed to an LEA for school-based student support;
  • remove the fund matching requirement for an LEA that has a school-based student support plan that is approved by the state board after a certain date; and
  • permit the state board to use funds appropriated for school-based student support to pay an employee to administer the program and oversee mental health personnel in LEAs.

Coverage of the original HB323 and of HB323Substitute may be found in our updates of February 24th and March 2nd.

HB323Sub2 passed the House 44-28 on March 6th, and awaits Senate action.

While HB323Sub2 looks like a somewhat scaled-back-and-slowed-down version of HB323, our earlier concerns remain. Should young students in government schools be routinely screened for mental health problems? We think not. This proposal still seems prone to invasion of privacy and-or to training our young people to devalue their privacy.

GrassRoots favors a “no” vote on HB323Sub2.

SB39Sub2, “Affordable Housing Amendments”, sponsored by Senator Anderegg and Representative Potter, replaced SB39Substitute, and would (according to the bill’s long title):

  • modify the allowable uses for a community reinvestment agency's housing allocation;
  • modify the requirements for distributing money from the Olene Walker Housing Loan Fund;
  • authorize the Housing and Community Development Division (the division) to partner with one or more housing authorities, associations of governments, or other entities to provide rental assistance;
  • authorize the division to partner with the State Board of Education and one or more housing authorities or other entities to identify and to provide rental assistance to families with children who are homeless or are at risk of homelessness;
  • allow low-income housing tax credits to be assigned to another tax payer;
  • modify the distribution of excess money in the Unclaimed Property Trust Fund;
  • make technical changes; and
  • appropriate in fiscal year 2021: a) to the Department of Workforce Services -- Olene Walker Housing Loan Fund as a one-time appropriation: from the General Fund, $20,300,000; and b) to the Department of Workforce Services -- Olene Walker Housing Loan Fund as an ongoing appropriation: from the General Fund, $10,000,000.

SB39Sub2 replaced SB39Substitute, and passed the House Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee 7-0 on March 2nd, and awaits action by the House Rules Committee due to its fiscal impact. It will likely come to a House vote later this week.

We are still trying to understand the various details and implications of this bill. But is it a good idea to increase taxes or maintain high taxes to forcibly redistribute wealth for rental assistance? We have our doubts. We would prefer a $10-30 million tax cut. GrassRoots tentatively favors a “no” vote on SB39Sub2.

SB62, “Reauthorization of Administrative Rules”, sponsored by Senator Anderegg and Representative Roberts, states: “All rules of Utah state agencies are reauthorized.” Additional coverage of SB62, along with discussion of the principle of Separation of Powers, may be found in our updates of February 10th, February 17th, and February 24th.

SB62 passed the House 67-1 on March 5th, and awaits action by the Governor.

To the extent that any administrative rule is legislative in its nature, this would seem to be contrary to Utah State Constitution, Article V, Section 1. Also, to the extent that our legislators have not read and understood the many such rules made by unelected bureaucrats, one might wonder if this bill constitutes a mockery of the principle of Representative Government. On the other hand, this is the way it has always been done (for decades, any way).

To the extent that any administrative rule is executive in its nature, the need for the Legislature to authorize it seems nonexistent given that "The executive power of the state shall be vested in the Governor who shall see that the laws are faithfully executed" (Utah State Constitution, Article VII, Section 5).

Should Governor Herbert do what “has always been done”, and sign the Reauthorization of Administrative Rules? Maybe if he believes this to be the best for Utah, as well as consistent with his oath to uphold the Utah State Constitution.

But we suspect that this annual tradition has done much to undermine Separation of Powers, Representative Government, and our liberty. We believe now is a good time for a change.

GrassRoots opposes SB62, and therefore favors a veto of SB62 by the Governor.

SB74, “Family Planning Services Amendments”, sponsored by Senator Kitchen and Representative Eliason, would require the Division of Health Care Financing to apply for a Medicaid waiver or a state plan amendment to extend family planning services to certain low-income individuals (specifically those having “an income level that is equal to or below 250% of the federal poverty level”). Additional coverage of SB74 may be found in our updates of February 24th and March 2nd.

SB74 passed the House Health and Human Services Committee 6-3 on March 2nd, and awaits action by the House Rules Committee due to its fiscal impact. It will likely come to a House vote later this week.

GrassRoots still favors a “no” vote on SB74.

If you have any questions about these bills, GrassRoots’ position on these bills, or related matters, please contact either of us or any other member of the Board of Utah GrassRoots.


Steve Stromness
Vice-Chairman, Bill Review Coordinator, Utah GrassRoots

Don Guymon
Chairman, Utah GrassRoots

PS Do you want to contact a legislator? Go to and click on “Legislators”.

Do you want to read and follow legislation yourself? Go to and click on “2020 General Session Page” then click on “2020 Bills”.

Do you have other questions about how to effectively participate in the political process? Please contact us, and we will try to help as appropriate.

Do you have friends that would appreciate this legislative update? Please feel free to forward it to them.

Would you like to help us with review of legislation in a small or large way? Consider taking a special look at bills sponsored by your own representative or senator. Please contact us with your findings and/or with any questions we might be able to help you with.

Website management by Doran Barton. Design by Doran Barton & David Baker