Utah Legislature

Utah State Capitol
KPCW Radio

Some 50 members of the public gave comment at the state legislature’s Tax Restructuring and Equalization Task Force hearing Monday evening. 

The state legislature’s Tax Restructuring and Equalization Task Force met for the final time Monday, and a special session of the full-legislature could be held as soon as this week to approve this sweeping tax reform bill. 

The 199-page draft bill to shore up the state’s general fund includes a $160 million tax cut.

A woman with brown hair, a blue shirt and a white sweater
Katy Owens

Although they won’t officially declare their candidacy until March, hopefuls for seats in the state legislature are getting ready for the race. One Wasatch Back resident wants to make the Nov. 3, 2020 ballot.

Katy Owens is a bit of a policy wonk. She specializes in election consulting and volunteers with the League of Women Voters. She also volunteers with Voterise, a non-partisan organization that registers young voters. Now, she plans to run as a Democrat for Senate District 19 because she wants to see a state legislature that’s more representative of its constituents.

Chris Neville

The 2020 general election is a little less than a year away, but candidates for the state legislature are already gearing up for the race. One Wasatch Back resident has thrown his hat into the ring.

Chris Neville’s campaign for state Senate District 19 is mission-oriented.

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The state legislature’s Tax Restructuring and Equalization Task Force met for five hours Tuesday to debate tax reform policy recommendations and take public comment. 

The co-chairs of the state legislature’s Tax Restructuring and Equalization Task Force have recommended removing the constitutional requirement to spend income tax revenue only on public education funding as one way to address the state’s tax revenue imbalance. 

House Minority Leader Brian King, a Democrat who represents part of Summit County, says there are many other options to address tax reform beside giving up the constitutional earmark on income tax for education.

The Park City Planning Commission meets Wednesday for a special meeting, to bring Park City’s affordable housing plan into compliance with state code. 

The Utah Legislature passed Senate Bill 34 during the 2019 general session. The bill requires local governments to incorporate an affordable housing plan into their general plans. Municipalities that fail to update the plans by Dec. 1 could lose access to state transportation and transit funding.

The Utah Legislature’s Tax Restructuring and Equalization Task Force met recently for its second study session. This time, lawmakers focused on education funding. 

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert issued a call for a special session of the State Legislature Thursday, to amend Utah’s medical cannabis law. 

The special session is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 16. In a press release from the governor’s office, Gov. Gary Herbert says taking the state-run, central fill pharmacy out of the equation will help ensure patients have access to medical cannabis by March 2020, the deadline set during a December 2018 special session when the legislature overrode the Proposition 2 medical cannabis ballot initiative.

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The Utah Legislature called a special session last December to replace the voter-approved medical marijuana law with new legislation. Now, there could be additional changes in yet another special session for lawmakers. 

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After hosting eight town halls across the state to hear questions, concerns and comments from approximately 1,500 Utahns, the state’s Tax Restructuring and Equalization Task Force has moved into the next phase of its attempt to address a revenue imbalance between the education and general fund. 

Utah House of Representatives

With Utah Congressman Rob Bishop’s decision not to seek re-election to another term in 2020, the question remains who will jump into the race in the incumbent’s absence. One local lawmaker has officially ruled out that option.

Utah State Capitol
KPCW Radio

As the Legislature’s tax reform task force tours the state, without making a stop along the Wasatch Back, the Utah House Democrats have also been hosting their own town halls to hear from the public what they’d like to see in the state’s tax restructuring efforts.

Soon after the legislative session ended this spring, House Democrats launched a series of public meetings to engage Utahns in the tax reform discussion. District 28 Rep. Brian King feels the public didn’t know why the State was talking about tax reform and how it would impact them.

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After legislative leaders pulled the plug on a bill to address what they view as a tax revenue sourcing problem, the Tax Restructuring and Equalization Task Force was formed this past legislative session to take the issue back to the drawing board. 

Utah Politics Now returned to the airwaves with a post-2019 legislative session recap. State Sen. Ron Winterton (R-Dist. 26), Rep. Tim Quinn (R-Dist. 54)  and Rep. Brian King (D-Dist. 28) join KPCW’s Leslie Thatcher and Emily Means in a wide-ranging, roundtable discussion on tax reform, education, affordable housing and ballot initiatives.

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