Mar 1, 2024 - News

3 bills we're watching on the last day of Utah's legislative session

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

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Utah lawmakers have until the stroke of Friday night to wrap up their 45-day legislative session.

Here are a few measures that are still being considered:

SB 61 — Flavored e-cigarettes ban

The bill would ban the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes in an attempt to curb vaping among children and teens.

  • The Utah Vapor Business Association opposes the bill.

The latest: The Senate on Wednesday rejected a House amendment that would prohibit mint flavors, prompting a conference committee to come to a resolution.

What they're saying: "A lot of people came to the table and made concessions to get to a place where we could all agree," the bill's sponsor Sen. Jen Plumb (D-Salt Lake City) said. "I think it's very important that at this point we honor those and we go back to the House to talk about what they may be willing to take out — hopefully all of it."

HB 560 — Abortion clinic reversal

The measure would repeal portions of a 2023 law Rep. Karianne Lisonbee (R-Clearfield) authored to prohibit the state from issuing licenses for abortion clinics.

State of play: The proposal, which is also sponsored by Lisonbee, is a direct response to a legal challenge — led by the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah and ACLU of Utah last year — that argued the abortion clinic ban was unconstitutional.

  • A judge blocked the legislation from taking effect nearly a year ago until the case could be reviewed by the courts.
  • "We're hoping that just by repealing these that we can simplify the matters before the courts and move forward more quickly," Lisonbee said during a committee hearing this week.

The other side: Planned Parenthood has taken a neutral stance on the measure.

SB 272 — Stadium funding

A potential NHL stadium and surrounding entertainment district downtown could get up to $900 million in public financing under SB 272, which allows Salt Lake City to impose a 0.5% sales tax to help pay for it.

The intrigue: Lawmakers on Wednesday also approved up to $900 million in bonds for a similar stadium development near Salt Lake's Fairpark neighborhood in hopes of attracting an MLB expansion team.

Catch up fast: The dual campaigns to bring the big leagues to Salt Lake are spearheaded by two of the state's richest people, with Gail Miller leading the charge for an MLB team and Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith pushing for the NHL.

The latest: The Senate passed the measure 21-7 Tuesday. It now awaits a possible vote in the House.

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