2017 Legislative Session Summary

Breathe Utah’s 2017 Legislative Session Summary

HB 11 (2nd Sub) – State Boards and Commissions Amendments. Rep. Thurston, R-Provo; Sen. Dayton, R-Orem. PASSED. VETOED!  This bill removes the requirement that certain boards and commissions, including key environmental boards, have representation by more than one political party affiliation. 28 boards and commissions affected including: Air Quality Board, Drinking Water Board, Water Quality Board, Utah Health Advisory Council, Public Service Commission, Committee of Consumer Services, Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission, Waste Management and Radiation Control Board, Board of Oil, Gas and Mining.

House Votes: 6-3-151-21-344-31-0 Senate Votes: 5-3-0, 21-7-1, 22-7-0

HB 23 (1st Sub) – Income Tax Credit Modifications- Rep. Peterson, R-Ogden; Sen. Bramble, R-Provo. PASSED. Sunsets rooftop solar tax credit residential PV. Phases out the individual income tax credit for active or passive solar residential energy systems and amends the minimum individual income-tax credit for active or passive solar residential energy systems.

1/31 HR&T substitute passed. Solar Advocates report 2 of 3 requested changes made. The annual credit reduction lower [$400 v. $500] and annual caps removed. Continue to request an annual impacts assessment before further reduction.8-2-2 Nays=Briscoe, King

The phase out is structured as follows:

2017 - $2,000

2018 - $1,600

2019 - $1,200

2020 - $800

2021 - $400

2022 - $0

House Votes: 

HB 29 (4th Sub) – Energy Efficient Vehicle Tax Credit Amendments. Rep. Handy, R-Layton; Sen. Bramble, R-Provo. FAILED. Fn: $404k in 2018; $500k 2019. Extends the tax credit for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids to 2021, retroactively. Allows the credit to be given to the consumer at time of purchase, assignable to a financing entity at the point of sale. Phases out the incentive between 2017 and 2022 to the following schedule:

Long-range electric vehicles: $1,500 (2017,2018); $1,000 (2019); $750 (2020); $300 (2021)

Short-range electric vehicles: $1,000 (2017, 2018); $750 (2019); $500 (2020); $150 (2021)

Electric motorcycles: $750 (2017, 2018); $550 (2019); $350 (2020); $100 (2021)

2/28 FAILS 37-38-0, tie-breaking vote by Speaker Hughes.

HB 33 – Mercury Switch Removal Act – Rep. Perry, R-Perry; Sen. Dayton, R-Orem. PASSED. Program to remove mercury switches when a vehicle is scrapped is extended 10 years. Committee bill. Passed all bodies unanimously. 

HB 37 (1st Sub) – State Construction Code Amendments – Rep. Schultz, R-Hooper; Sen. Bramble, R-Provo. PASSED. Corrects misnomers in Ultra Low NOx Water Heater rule, Uniform Building Code Commission recommendation for radon. Passed all bodies unanimously. 

HB 65 – Air Conservation Act Amendments – Rep. Schultz, R-Hooper; Sen. Adams, R-Layton. PASSED. VETO! See Breathe Utah's veto request HERE. Codifies into state law a solid fuel burning exemption “to cook food”; prohibits DAQ from regulating wood burning for food preparation in the future. Currently, fires for cooking are not included in a burn restriction only because it does not fall under the definition of “comfort heating”. This bill was brought by Traeger, a local company manufacturing bbqs, smokers and pellet stoves. The bill was amended on the House floor to limit the exemption to “non-commercial” cooking, would apply only to residential. Once on the Senate floor that language was removed, expanding to all food preparation, residential and commercial alike. Air quality advocates AND the Air Quality Board have asked Governor Herbert to VETO this bad air bill. Unfortunately, Gov. Herbert signed this bad air bill. 

HB 96 – Petroleum Vapor Recovery Amendments – Rep. Eliason, R-Sandy; Sen. Bramble, R-Provo. PASSED. Increases penalties for drivers of petroleum tankers failing to utilize vapor recovery equipment when filling. This bill came back from last session after running out of time. Petroleum vapor is toxic and the perfect recipe for air pollution, both PM2.5 and Ozone. Catching drivers in the act is nearly impossible. This bill will serve as a better deterrent for drivers who intentionally fail to use the recovery equipment. 

HB 104 – Motor Vehicle Amendments – Rep. Wilde, R-Croydon; Sen. Christiansen, R- N. Ogden. PASSED. Allows fees collected to be used to maintain National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). Local governments charge a compliance fee, paid at vehicle registration ($1-$3) to establish air quality and emissions programs and enforce/maintain them. The money in this “fund” is growing without a real need to improve or expand the current programs in place. The local governments argued they need this rule to allow them some leeway in using the money for other air quality programs. This bill allows local governments to create additional programs with this compliance fee and increase the fee at their discretion to enhance air quality within their community as long as it is used to promote programs that are aimed to maintain the NAAQS. Can’t spend the money designated for air quality on something else. 

HB 134 (2nd Sub) – Emissions Testing Amendments – Rep. Arent, D-Millcreek; Sen. Bramble, R-Provo. Not passed, out of time. Restricts the authority of a county to exempt a motor vehicle from an emissions test; requires any county with a current emissions testing program to test diesels under 14,000 pounds. This great air bill was not prioritized when the calendars were wiped. It did not get a Senate floor debate, where we anticipate it would have passed. 2/3 HTrans 10-0-2; 2/24 House 3rd 39-28-7; 3/2 SB&L 5-0-3.

HB 183 – Emission Settlement Amendments – Rep. Hawkes, R-Centerville; Sen. Shiozawa, R-Cottonwood Heights. PASSED. Creates the fund to receive VW settlement money [~$35M] & gives DEQ authority to distribute. AND adds language from the federal consent decree to ensure that vehicles cannot be denied inspection certificate just because they are part of this litigation. Designed to require offsetting emissions to mitigate the increased emissions of these vehicles. 

HB 203 - Open Burning of Yard Waste Amendments – Rep. Froerer, R-Huntsville. Every county [but SLCo] could promote 2 yard waste burning events a year. Did not leave House Rules.

HB 392 – Air Quality Policy Advisory Board. Rep Hawkes, R-Centerville; Sen. Shiozawa, R-Cottonwood Heights. PASSED. Fn: $38k x 2 (2018, 2019). Creates the Air Quality Policy Advisory Board. . The board will be comprised of 10 voting members: 2 Senators appointed by the Senate President, 3 Representatives appointed by the Speaker of the House, the Executive Director, 1 representative from business (non-industry), 1 representative from industry, 1 representative from the academic community, and 1 NGO not representing industry or business. The role of the board will be to a) seek the best available science to identify ways to improve air quality; b) identify and prioritize potential legislation and funding that will improve air quality; and c) make recommendations to the Legislature on how to improve air quality in the state.

HB 405 – Hydrogen Fuel Production Incentives. Rep. Sagers, R-Tooele; Sen. Bramble, R-Provo. PASSED. Allows for funding of a hydrogen fuel plant or a plant for the production of zero emission hydrogen fueled trucks. Provides a tax credit for producers of hydrogen fuel or zero emission hydrogen fueled trucks. Could reduce severance tax revenue up to $5,000,000 per eligible taxpayer beginning in FY 2019. 

HB 454 - Non-Attainment Area Pollution Reduction Amendments – Rep. Eliason, R-Sandy. Fn $100k. Provides funding for grants to low-income individuals to fix or replace vehicles that do not pass emissions inspections. Language for this bill was introduced very late in the session. Ran out of time.

HB 457 – Carbon Emissions Tax – Rep. Briscoe. Released 2/28. Imposes a tax on various carbon based fuels; escalation of the tax rate for several years; creates an expendable revenue fund; allocates tax proceeds. Ran out of time.

HCR 5 (1st Sub) – Concurrent Resolution on Clean Fuel School Buses – Rep. Handy, R- Layton. Sen. Adams, R-Layton. PASSED. Urges Utah to use a portion of the funds from Volkswagen settlement to begin replacing dirty diesel school buses with clean fuel school buses.

HCR 8 – Volkswagen Settlement – Rep. Hawkes, R-Centerville; Sen. Shiozawa, R-Cottonwood Heights. PASSED.  Highlights provisions of VW settlement & Utah's participation as beneficiary

HCR 18 – Encouraging Utahns to Consider the Smog Rating When Purchasing a Vehicle – Rep. Arent, D-Millcreek; Sen. Shiozawa, R-Cottonwood Heights. + 46 co-sponsors. PASSED.  Because vehicle emissions impact Utah's air quality and vehicles with high smog ratings produce less pollution, Utahns are encouraged to purchase a vehicle with a smog rating of eight or higher. Preferred language “best smog rating”.

HJR 18 – Resolution on Economic and Environmental Stewardship – Rep. Edwards, R- Salt Lake. FAILED in House Economic Development with a tie vote of 5-5-0. Expresses commitment to conservative environmental stewardship; acknowledges Utah's existing commitment to reduce combustion emissions and improve air quality; recognizes that climate disruption poses a potential threat to our national security; recognizes that good stewardship of the economy and environment fosters security, sustainability, and independence.

SB 24 - Natural Gas Heavy Duty Tax Credit Amendments – Sen. Hemmert, R-Orem; Rep. Stanard, R-St. George. PASSED. Mainly a reworking to clarify authority since board authority was changed a couple years ago. Past tax credits have been used for refuse trucks & Semi trailers. NO applications in 2016. Clarifies that the corporate tax credit for natural gas heavy-duty vehicles is nonrefundable, transfers decision-making for the tax credit from the Air Quality Board to the Director of the Division of Air Quality, and removes references to qualified conversions. Faced virtually no resistance. 

SB 154 – Solar Access Amendments – Sen. Filmore, R-South Jordan; Rep. Gibson, R-Mapleton. PASSED. Restricts community associations from placing unreasonable restrictions on solar panels. Revived from last session, where it ran out of time. 

SB 197 (3rd Sub) - Refinery Sales and Use Tax Exemption Amendments - Sen. Adams, R-Layton; Rep. Wilson, R- Kaysville. PASSED. This bill started out titled “Manufacturing Amendments”, but was substituted in the Senate and provides that beginning on a certain date, a refiner that seeks to be eligible for the sales and use tax exemption must report certain information annually to the OED. The OED must annually certify that the refiner is meeting certain fuel standard in order to be eligible for the sales and use tax exemption. In addition, the bill grants the OED rulemaking authority to administer the certification requirements. 

SB 217 - Environmental Impact Mitigation Regarding New Prison Project – Sen. Escamilla, D-Salt Lake City. FAILED. Fn $2.5k x2. DAQ to report on air quality monitoring; Department of Administrative Services webpage to provide information; and the Prison Development Commission to inform the commission concerning environmental impact mitigation efforts in connection with the new correctional facilities construction project. Not considered in Senate Nat. Resources. We have heard that the purpose of the bill will be met regardless of the bills failure this session.

SB 273 – Energy Development Amendments – Sen. Adams, R-Layton. PASSED. Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy Act or C-PACE Act. Released 2/28, currently under analysis. C-PACE is a mechanism for financing clean energy and energy efficiency improvements on commercial buildings. Currently this is under-utilized. We hope the changes this bill makes will make the process more attractive to the eligible building owners. 

SJR 09 – Climate Change Joint Resolution 2017 – Sen. Dabakis, D-SLC. Resolution expresses commitment to create and support solutions and studies to address the causes and effects of climate change. Was assigned a Senate committee, failed to get a hearing. Sent back to Rules on 3/7.


FUNDED: Monitoring – $1.3m one time, $150k ongoing. Research - $200k one time. Attorney personnel savings - $19k ongoing.

The Division of Air Quality has requested the following appropriations:

I. Air Quality Monitoring Equipment. Sponsored by Rep. Arent

$1.3 million one time; $150k ongoing. FULLY FUNDED! This is to replace outdated equipment and expand equipment to meet federal requirements. 23% of existing monitoring equipment is past its useful life, and there is no backup equipment on the shelf. There have been many times when the monitors fail and cannot be fixed for many days. This results in a lack of recorded required data. The population growth in Iron County requires expansion of the network to meet federal regulatory requirements. Last year, the request was only half funded. This is the remainder of the needs for the agency to do its job effectively. Replacing the outdated monitors is of the utmost importance.


· Ensures adequacy of air monitoring equipment and accuracy of data

· Meets fed requirements

· Responds to public requests

· Comply with SIP and federal requirements

II. Uinta basin leak detection. Sponsored by Rep. Redd.

$250k one time for infrared camera devices to detect leakage in oil and gas extraction in the basin. FUNDED AT $200k. This equipment is needed to identify leaks that are releasing VOCs, causing ozone problems. Undetected leaks contribute emissions to the basin’s air shed that can lead to the ozone problem. This is a necessary approach for regulating emissions from oil and gas operations.


· Provides direct economic benefit to operators through recover of lost product.

· Reducing fugitive emissions will improve air quality.

· Allows industry to voluntarily address problems before they become compliance issues

· Provides the DAQ with important emissions inventory data that will help the division develop local solutions to wintertime ozone.

UTA has requested the following appropriation:

Depot District Clean Fuels Tech Center. Sponsored by Rep. Schultz.

FUNDED: $2.5m one time.

$2.5 million one time. FULLY FUNDED. UTA is seeking an appropriation to fund the depot district. Added infrastructure for CNG bus maintenance. Currently UTA has roughly 40 CNG buses. This project will increase capacity by 200 busses for CNG. UTA keeps buses for 15 years, the sooner they can replace diesel with CNG, the better. Great benefit along WF. Maintenance on CNG is very different than diesel and they need the proper facility to get more CNGs busses and remove diesels from the fleet.