Mar 6, 2023 - Politics

The final bills Utah lawmakers passed

Illustration of the Utah State Capitol with lines radiating from it.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The final days of Utah's 2023 legislative session sent a flurry of bills to the governor's desk.

  • Utah Gov. Spencer Cox has 21 days to sign or veto the bills — or allow the measures to become law without his signature. Here are some that caught our eye:

Tax cuts

A $400 million tax cut package approved by the Legislature includes lowering the state income tax rate from 4.85% to 4.65%.

  • By the numbers: A family of four earning up to $80,000 annually would save $208 a year under the state income tax reduction, per the state Legislature.
  • It also eliminates the 1.75% state sales tax on food if voters approve a constitutional amendment in 2024 to remove the earmark on education for income tax revenue.

Environment + wildlife

State air quality enforcers will be authorized to regulate the emissions of chemicals emitted by the U.S. Magnesium plant near the Great Salt Lake under a bill.

Mountain lions would be subject to unlimited hunting year-round per a bill that passed despite objections from hunting and conservation groups.

Booze rule

A new "banquet license" rule would require restaurants to put private parties with alcohol in a room blocked from public view, in what some are calling a revival of Utah's infamous "Zion Curtain" partitions.

  • The bill also bans mini bottles and adds licenses for 15 more bars and 30 full-service restaurants — down from an earlier proposal.

State symbols

After exhaustive debate over whether the new state flag was too "woke," lawmakers approved the design and two other official state icons:

  • The porcini was named the state mushroom, and the brine shrimp will now be the state crustacean.

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