Session 2018: Funding for UVU building, protections for breastfeeding moms

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The 2018 Utah Legislative Session closed on March 8, 2018 at the Utah State Capitol. (Photo by Robert Cutts/Wikimedia Commons)

Utah lawmakers survived another 45-day session of the Legislature. They considered hundreds of bills, from a new abortion ban if babies have Down syndrome to funding for a UVU business building — and everything in between.

“I think this has been the best session I’ve been involved in,” Gov. Gary Herbert told the Salt Lake Tribune. He gave lawmakers an A.

Here’s (some of) what happened:

Abortion

House Bill 205 Down Syndrome Nondiscrimination Abortion Act

Sponsor: Rep. Karianne Lisonbee, R-Clearfield

Status: Failed

This bill would have banned doctors from performing an abortion if the only reason a woman wants the procedure is because her child may have Down syndrome.

It also would have required doctors to provide certain information to a pregnant woman when a prenatal screening indicates her baby may have Down syndrome. The legislative general counsel warned lawmakers that the bill had a “high probability of being declared unconstitutional by a court.” Several other states have similar laws, some of which are in various stages of being challenged in the courts.

Breastfeeding

House Bill 196 Breastfeeding Protection Act

Sponsor: Rep. Rep. Justin Fawson, R-North Ogden

Status: Passed House and Senate, waiting for Gov. Gary Herbert’s signature

This bill bans discrimination based on pregnancy and allows a woman to breastfeed in places of public accommodation.

Marijuana

This year the Legislature took on marijuana with four bills, none of which legalize it for general medicinal or recreational use.

House Bill 195 Medical Cannabis Policy

Sponsor: Rep. Brad Daw, R-Orem

Status: Passed House and Senate, waiting for Gov. Gary Herbert’s signature

This bill grants terminally ill people the right to try cannabis-based treatment. Under this bill, physicians may recommend a cannabis-based treatment for a terminally ill patient.

House Bill 197, Cannabis Cultivation Amendments

Sponsor: Brad M. Daw, R-Orem

Status: Passed House and Senate, waiting for Gov. Gary Herbert’s signature

Under this bill, the state Department of Agriculture and Food must ensure the processing and cultivation of cannabis in Utah for medical or academic research purposes by Jan. 1, 2019. It also authorizes the department to contract with a third party to process or cultivate cannabis and make rules. It also establishes a state dispensary for medical cannabis, and allows authorized people to grow, process and possess cannabis for medical or academic research.

Senate Bill 130, Cannabidiol Product Act

Sponsor: Sen. Evan Vickers, R-Cedar City

Status: Passed House and Senate, waiting for Gov. Gary Herbert’s signature

This bill allows for the cultivation, production and possession of hemp and, under certain circumstances, the use and sale of cannabidiol products. It also creates a special tax for the sale of cannabidiol products. And it prevents a court from discriminating against a parent in a child custody case for the parent’s legal use of a cannabidiol product.

House Bill 25 Cannabinoid Product Board Membership Amendments

Sponsor: Rep. Brad Daw, R-Orem

Status: Passed House and Senate, waiting for Gov. Gary Herbert’s signature

This bill amends duties of the Cannabinoid Product Board to include reviewing expanded cannabinoid products and changes the composition of the cannabinoid Product Board.

Sales tax on food

House Bill 148 Tax Revisions

Sponsor: Rep. Tim Quinn, R-Heber City

Status: Failed

This bill would have removed the sales tax on unprepared food, and increased the state sales tax portion from 4.7 to 4.92 percent. The sales tax on food will remain at 1.7 percent.

Utah Lake

House Bill 272 Utah Lake Amendments

Sponsor: Rep. Michael K. McKell, R-Spanish Fork

Status: Passed House and Senate, waiting for Gov. Gary Herbert’s signature

This bill will authorize the Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands to trade land — or space on Utah Lake for islands — in exchange for executing a project for the comprehensive restoration of the lake. Under the bill, restoration includes:

  • improving water clarity and quality
  • conserving water resources in and around the lake
  • preserving water storage and supply
  • removing invasive plants and animals
  • restoring native fish and other aquatic species
  • increasing suitability for birds
  • improving recreation opportunities
  • preserving current water rights related to water associated with the lake

UVU funding

House Bill 3 Appropriations Adjustments

Sponsor: Rep. Brad Last, R-Hurricane

Status: Passed House and Senate, waiting for Gov. Gary Herbert’s signature

Lawmakers intend for Utah Valley University to use $3.7 million of institutional and/or donated funding for programming and design of a new business building. The Utah board of regents ranked the project third on its capital facilities priorities for 2018. The plan calls for a 178,000-square-foot building that will cost $71 million. The school asked for $1.75 million, and has raised $10 million toward the new building so far, UVU President Matthew Holland told lawmakers earlier in the session. Its current 78,000-square-foot business building is more than 40 years old and was one of the first on campus.

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Amie Rose has more than 14 years of experience writing and editing at newspapers in Utah and New Mexico. She graduated from BYU with a degree in journalism. She lives in Utah Valley with her husband, toddler and crazy dog.

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