A majority of the record 574 bills passed by the Utah Legislature this year went into effect Tuesday at midnight.
Laws ran the gamut from traffic laws to gila monsters to public safety. Here is a short run-down of the ones that stick out:
- Hate Crimes: The new hate crimes law increases the severity of punishment for those convicted of targeting others based on their race, religion, sexual orientation and many other factors. (S.B. 103)
- Stand Your Ground: A clarification added to the existing “Stand Your Ground” law states that person’s failure to retreat is no longer relevant when determining whether the they acted reasonably in their use of deadly force. Essentially, if a person is being attacked by an aggressor, the defendant does not have to make an attempt to retreat — they can “stand their ground.” (H.B. 114)
- Motorcycles In Traffic: Stuck in bumper to bumper traffic? If the speed limit is 45 mph or lower, drivers may soon see motorcyclists moving past, as they are now allowed to “filter” in and navigate between stopped cars. (H.B. 149)
- Marriage Age: Marriage is prohibited under the age of 16-years-old. For 16- and 17- year olds, parent and court approval is required. (H.B. 234)
- Electric Scooters: E-Scooters are now allowed on all the same roads as bicycles, instead of limited to roads with 4 lanes and a 25 mile per hour speed limit. However, it’s now illegal to drink and scoot. (S.B. 139)
- UTA Free-Fare Days: Funding is now available for the Utah Transit Authority to offer 17 free-fare days on Trax, Frontrunner and buses when the air quality is poor. (H.B. 353)
- Super Tuesday: Lawmakers approved a $2.9 million dollar budget for a presidential primary to be held on March 3, widely known as “Super Tuesday,” when more than a dozen other states also hold their primaries. (S.B. 242)
- Sex Education: Public school teachers can teach students about contraceptives and their effectiveness and limitations, but they are not allowed to advocate for the use of contraceptives. The Utah State Board of Education is not allowed to require a school to teach instructional information and use of contraceptives. (H.B. 71)
- Campus Safety: “Lauren’s Law” requires college campuses to develop a campus safety plan and training curriculum. The bill came after University of Utah student Lauren McCluskey was shot and killed on campus in October 2018. (S.B. 134)
- State Reptile: Last … and maybe least ...Utah now has a new state reptile, the Gila Monster. (H.B. 144)
The full list of bills can be found at https://le.utah.gov/asp/passedbills/passedbills.asp?session=2019GS.