Legislative session wrapup
Well - the 2021 session was a bit of a disappointment on climate legislation. Plenty of good bills were introduced and then left hanging, either in the Rules Committee or after a committee hearing. You can see everything on the 2021 legislative tracker.
Thank-yous are in order for many of these legislators. If you are a constituent of Reps Handy, Ward, Briscoe, Waldrip, Harrison, Winder, or Stenquist, or Senators Cullimore or McCay, it would be great to send them a note thanking them for their efforts on clean air and climate. You can look up your legislative district and contact information for your legislators here.
HB209 - Vehicle Registration Fee Revisions- oppose
We and plenty of others helped kill HB209, which would have raised registration fees for electric and other clean vehicles.
Here is an op-ed from Representatives Ray Ward and Suzanne Harrison, Clean Air Caucus co-chairs: Electric vehicles solve transportation and pollution problems. Don’t make them harder to own
And an article from the Salt Lake Tribune - House taps brakes on bill to hit electric and hybrid vehicles with a steep hike in state fees
"The fee increases for electric vehicles", Rep. Harrison said, "would be just punitive to the very tiny percentage of drivers that are doing their part to clean up our air.”
Rep. Steve Waldrip, R-Eden, also argued that the bill — as it seeks to increase road funding — fails to figure in that “there’s clearly an economic benefit to clean air.”
Representative Albrecht introduced HB388 - State Energy Policy Amendments. It was in response to the Texas blackouts, and added language on energy storage and on keeping an adequate reserve of cost-effective dispatchable electricity resources. Interestingly, the language here is really good and is quite friendly to renewables, even though some of the discussion at the committee hearing definitely wasn't. The bill passed unanimously at every stage of the process.
Representative Briscoe introduced HB447 - Electric Vehicle Charging Amendments, which would have allowed condominium and rental residents to install and use electric vehicle chargers. Senator Cullimore introduced SB245 - Net Metering Amendments, which would have required the Public Service Commission to include positive externalities such as clean air, when setting net metering rates. Both bills were introduced quite late and neither one received a hearing.
Bills held for further study
Representative Briscoe's HB263 - Clean Energy Fund legislation would create a non-profit fund to provide low-interest financing to clean energy and energy efficiency projects in Utah. It was recommended for study during the interim session.
Representative Handy's HB153 - Energy Storage Asset Tax Credit, would create a tax credit for energy storage assets for commercial or industrial use. It was held for further work by the sponsor amid concerns that the language was so broad that it would cover things like a computer power supply.
Representative Stenquist's Vehicle Emissions Reduction Program would take the dirtiest cars off the road by incentivizing replacement of older, failing vehicles with cleaner vehicles. It was not finished in time and will hopefully be studied in the interim session.