AGC of Utah strives to represent our members and the industry as a whole in both state and national politics. During the legislative session, we maintain a constant presence on capitol hill to ensure our members' voices are heard by all of our legislators.
Contact us for weekly updates during the Utah Legislative session to know which bills will impact our industry and your business.
Read the full 2021 Legislative Recap
ASSSOCIATED GENERAL CONTRACTORS of UTAH
2021 LEGISLATIVE RECAP
Joey Gilbert, Vice-President
Associated General Contractors of Utah
After 45 days of working on a wide range of issues, the Utah Legislature concluded the 2021 general session just before midnight on Friday, March 5th. During this year’s session, lawmakers requested 1,216 bills, with 767 of those bill requests being drafted and 502 bills passing the legislature overall. Addition-ally, the legislature tackled the herculean task of approving and passing a $23.5 billion state budget.
Where does the Budget of the State of Utah Come From?
Where does the Budget of the State of Utah Go?This year’s session was notably different mostly due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which left the halls of the capitol primarily empty, and the vast majority of the lobbying efforts and work being conducted virtually.The overall funding priorities for lawmakers this year were education, infrastructure, and tax cuts. With a state surplus of $1.5 Billion in one-time funding, lawmakers had the difficult task of prioritizing the vast number of funding requests which certainly outpaced the available funds. However, the big financial winners with the available funding ultimately were Education, Infrastructure and tax cuts.
EDUCATIONSB1: Lawmakers approved SB1 which added approximately $475 million in new education funding to the public education base budget, a 6% increase to the value of the weighted pupil unit, as well as funding for enrollment growth and inflation.It also included $121 Million for COVID-19 bonuses: $1,500 for teachers, and $1,000 for school employees such as school nutrition workers, custodians and maintenance personnel. In total the base budget for public education is a little more than $6 Billion, which is about a quarter of the overall state budget.
INFRASTRUCTURE/CONSTRUCTION FUNDINGHB433: Rep. Mike Schultz, R – Hooper. This bill authorizes $1.1 Billion in investments in roads, public transit and active transportation with:
“The Legislature recognizes the tremendous employment opportunities that this bill will bring to Utah's skilled work force and to Utah's business community and encourages the employment of Utah workers and the proliferation of Utah business in carrying out the projects made possible by the funding provided in this bill”HB244: Rep. James Dunnigan, R – Taylorsville. This legislation directs the flow of funding from the County of the First-Class Highway Projects fund. This applies to only a select number of cities within Salt Lake County.
- $732 Million in one-time funding for twenty specific state and local projects.
- $333.6 Million in one-time funding and bond authorization for six specific public transit projects
- $35 Million for active transportation projects.
- Up to $20 Million per year for transportation projects in Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons
2022 Legislative Funded/Approved Development Projects for the Division of Construction Facilities and Management (DFCM) totaling nearly $785 Million, which includes $250 Million in bonding contained in SB143 and nearly 37 Million for two new State Parks in HB257.Last November the state met in a special session to make budget cuts in anticipation of budget shortfalls due to the COVID – 19 pandemic. The DFCM was at the receiving end of some of those budget cuts placing several Higher Education projects on hold. During this legislative session those projects are back on the table under certain stipulations:
- FY21: One time funding Between $500,000 and $2.6 Million (9 Cities)
- FY22 – FY37: Between $300,000 and $1 Million Annually for 15 years (14 Cities)
- FY24 – FY39: $300,000 to Kearns; $225,000 to Magna Annually for 15 years
- Annual deposit of $2 Million to UTA
- Authorizes through UDOT $20 Million of bonding for:
- $12 Million to Bluffdale for construction and improvements to 14600 South
- $8 Million to South Jordan for construction of a parking structure
Total Amount: Approximately $266 MillionSB143: Sen. Chris Wilson, R – Logan. This bill allows the Utah Board of Higher Education's issuance, sale, and delivery of revenue bonds to finance:
- Brigham City Public Safety Building
- Health Sciences Building (Bridgerland Tech)
- Herriman Campus (SLCC)
- Academic Building (SUU)
- Steward Building for Applied Sciences (UU)
- Mehdi Heravi Global Teaching & Learning Center (USU)
- Landbank (DSU)
Total Bond Amount: $250,449,700HB257: Rep. Steve Eliason, R – Sandy. This legislation sets aside about $37 Million to establish Utahraptor and Lost Creek state parks. The new Utahraptor State Park will be located in the Dalton Wells area in Grand County and the Lost Creek Reservoir in Morgan County will be renamed the Lost Creek State Park – these parks will mark the 45th and 46th for the state.DFCM: Renovation & Development (Parks) = $82.4 MillionDFCM: Capital Improvement Projects (Various) = $157.7 Million
- West Village Graduate and Family Student Housing ($125,800,000)
- Impact – Epicenter Building ($85,700,000)
- Electric Vehicle and Roadway Building ($9,200,000)
- Stewart Stadium East Bleachers ($4,000,000)
- Noorda Engineering and Applied Science Building ($8,500,000)
- Sugarhouse Liquor Store ($11,725,700)
- Sandy Liquor Store ($5,524,000)
TAX CUTSThis year lawmakers approved a $100 Million tax cut package that would benefit some families with children, veterans and senior citizens.SB153: Sen. Lincoln Fillmore, R – South Jordan. This bill sets aside nearly $55 Million to expand the dependent exemption that was lost in federal tax changes in 2017 and caused a tax increase on many Utah families.HB86: Rep. Walt Brooks, R – St. George. This bill uses about $18.3 Million to eliminate income on some Social Security income, targeting Utah senior citizens living on fixed incomes.SB11: Sen. Wayne Harper, R – Taylorsville. This bill uses $23.8 Million to eliminate income taxes for Utahns on military retirement pay.
GENERAL CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRYHB355: Rep. Timothy Hawkes, R – Centerville. The Associated General Contractors (AGC) would like to thank Rep. Hawkes for this monumental legislative win for the construction industry.The intention of the workers’ compensation is to help address and remedy work place accidents and assist injured workers while employers enjoy the exclusive remedy protections. Thus, eliminating needless personal injury litigation between employers and employees, while ensuring that all workers are protected from workplace injuries with effective injury and accident prevention programs.Under every other business scenario in the State of Utah, an employer enjoys the protection of the workers’ compensation bar as long as they do the responsible thing and ensure that their workers are covered by workers’ compensation insurance, but that is not the case in Utah’s construction industry. In a construction context, a Utah construction company can go to great lengths and expense ensuring that every single person working on its jobsite is covered by a valid workers’ compensation policy, and still face lawsuits from personal injury lawyers on behalf of clients who have already been compensated by their workers’ compensation insurance.This bill reduces that by saying that if a general contractor either obtains workers’ compensation coverage for all of its subcontractors directly (CCIP), or if the general contractor does what the statute originally required, and ensures that all of its subcontractors’ employees are insured by verifying coverage, and also, if the general contractor adopts AND enforces a workplace accident and injury reduction program that meets the statutory standards – then they should get the benefit of the workers’ compensation bar and ultimately receive the same exclusive remedy protection that is afforded the statutory employer.HB137: Rep. Kay Christofferson, R – Lehi. This bill amends the definition of intrastate commercial vehicle by increasing the gross vehicle weight rating for 10,001 or more pounds to 26,000 or more pounds. This new definition would include a vehicle, trailer or semitrailer used or maintained for business, this is a great piece of legislation for many within the construction industry maintaining fleets vehicles and trailers for commercial use.ADDITIONAL LEGISLATION PROPOSALS DISCUSSEDWith a short 45-day session there is never enough time to adequately debate all legislation. Here is a list of topics and proposed legislation that will continue to be discussed during the interim and possibly have further legislative debate next year.
AGC of Utah would like to thank Levi Clegg, COO Jacobsen Construction for serving as our 2021 Legislative Committee chair and also the members of the Legislative Committee for their tireless work on behalf of the nearly 600 member companies of the AGC of Utah. With nearly 100 years of service AGC of Utah is proud to serve as “The Construction Association” and continue to serve and represent the commercial construction industry on Capitol Hill.
- Workers Compensation
- Contractor Licensure Requirements
- State Construction Registry / Mechanics Lien Laws
- Commercial Construction Plan Check Timelines & Timelines for Inspections
- Elevator Inspections
- Commercial Vehicle Fleet Inspections
- Blue Stakes Law Changes
- Prevailing Wage
- Apprenticeship Utilization
2021 Utah Construction Legislative Recap
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