ST. GEORGE — Gov. Gary Herbert has called state legislators back to Salt Lake City for a special session of the Utah Legislature Wednesday afternoon.
Items on the 4 p.m. agenda include issues related to the state’s new gas tax formula, legislation regulating solid waste and appointments to the governor’s cabinet.
In 2015, the Legislature raised the state gas tax for the first time in nearly 20 years, increasing it by 5 cents per gallon. According to the Utah League of Cities and Towns, cities in some rural counties are getting less than expected from the tax increase. Legislators will address a solution to that problem at Wednesday’s special session.
Also on tap at the special session is a reworked version of the proposed Solid Waste Amendments legislation, HB 258, which was vetoed in March by Herbert.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports the bill, which was passed unanimously by both the House and Senate, was meant to encourage recycling by redefining the term “solid waste facility” under the law so that recycling would be exempt from licensing.
In vetoing the bill, Herbert said the Environmental Protection Agency cautioned the state that the new regulation would cause problems and might jeopardize grants. The reworked version seeks to remedy those issues with the EPA.
The governor’s recently announced cabinet choices must also be approved by the Legislature before the positions are finalized.
Ed. note re Solid Waste Amendments bill: The second substitute version including senate amendments ultimately passed the Senate on Feb. 26 during Utah’s general session before being vetoed by Herbert on March 30.
The Senate voted for the substitute bill as amended 22-zero with 7 senators absent or not voting. From Southern Utah, Sens. Ralph Okerlund and Evan Vickers voted for the bill; Sens. David Hinkins and Steve Urquhart were either absent or did not vote; however, Hinkins voted for the second substitute prior to senate amendments.
The substitute bill with senate amendments received concurrence from the House of Representatives on Feb. 29, 70-zero with 5 members absent or not voting. From Southern Utah, Reps. Brad Last, John Westwood, V. Lowry Snow, Don Ipson, Merrill Nelson, and Jon Stanard concurred. Rep. Michael Noel was either absent or did not vote on the second substitute but he did vote in favor of the bill in its first substitute form.