Education scored high with lawmakers as they approved bills that will bring nearly $260 million dollars to Utah classrooms and programs.
Several protests about air quality clouded the capitol as a dozen different bills were discussed. Two major ones passed: School buses with be converted to use compressed natural gas and Utahns with alternative fuel cars will get a tax break.
“We would love to outlaw inversion, but unfortunately that’s not in our power,” Sen. John Valentine, R-Orem, said.
Valentine did have the power to push through HB228, which included a major step for liquor laws, but failed to bring down the Zion Curtain. The bill will allow master liquor licenses to be given to restaurant chains with five or more eateries. Fines will increase for businesses caught selling alcohol to minors.
The Constitutional Carry Bill, known as HB76, got carried all the way to Governor Gary Herbert’s office. The bill would allow anyone to have a gun without a permit as long as the firearm is unloaded. Herbert may veto the bill.
Several major bills got shot down.
One fell short of protection gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people from discrimination in housing and employment.
The other failed bill, SB52, would have made cockfighting a felony. Utah is the only state in the West where the blood sport is a misdemeanor crime.
As of Thursday night, Senate and House members were still discussing whether or not to impose a sales tax on Internet based companies and they were discussing the possibility of a convention hotel. The hotel would be funded through taxpayer money.
Over 500 bills were passed in the 2013 Legislative Session.