From ATV fees to special legislative sessions: New laws that took hold with the new year

Utah Capitol, Salt Lake City, Utah, date unspecified. | Photo courtesy of AndreyKrav/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

ST. GEORGE While Utah’s strict DUI law took effect just before New Year’s Day, a handful of other state laws were enacted Tuesday. Among them are laws regarding motor home and ATV fees and registration, revisions focusing on charter schools, and giving the Legislature the ability to call special sessions.

Utah Highway Patrol vehicles, Cedar City, Utah, July 2018 | File photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

For information regard new state tax laws for 2019, click here.

0.05 DUI law

Called the strictest DUI law in the nation, the 0.05 DUI law went into effect last Saturday.

Supporters say the law will save lives by getting those who drink to think twice about getting behind the wheel. Opponents have bashed it for being too strict and even potentially damaging to Utah’s hospitality industry.

Read more: Utah Legislature passes bill lowering DUI threshold to 0.05

Following its annual New Year’s Eve DUI enforcement blitz across the state, the Utah Highway Patrol reported over Twitter Wednesday that troopers made 29 DUI arrests. The majority of those arrests were over the old 0.08 limit, with one dipping to 0.059.

“During that same time period last year, we made 46 arrests for DUI,” the UHP post stated. “We would love to see this trend continue as the state moves forward with the new .05 limit!”

Off-highway vehicle fees and registration

House Bill 143 modifies registration and statewide fees for all-terrain vehicles, certain motorcycles and street-legal ATVs.

Stock image, St. George News

Under the new law, registration fees for off-road vehicles will not exceed $35, while the fee for a street-legal ATV will not exceed $72. Utah’s Motor Vehicle Division will also require that $1 of the registration go to the Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Rehabilitation Fund.

Statewide fees for ATVs and snowmobiles will no longer be the same and will vary based on the age of the vehicle.

Motor home fees

Senate Bill 169 creates a new uniform fee policy for motor homes based on their age, and will range from $690 for a motor home less than three years old to $90 for one that is 15 or more years old.

Allowing the Legislature to call special sessions

House Joint Resolution 18 amended the Utah Constitution to allow the Legislature to call a special session under certain circumstances and lays out a process by which to do it.

Limits are placed on what the Legislature can do during a special session. Related clarification for special sessions called by the governor are also given, as is a provision providing options for the governor to address a shortfall of revenues to cover the costs of expenses to the state, including calling the Legislature into session.

According to the new law, the Legislature can call a special session if two-thirds of the state House and the Senate are in favor of doing so due to “persistent fiscal crisis, war, natural disaster, or emergency in the affairs of the State” that require legislative attention.

Members of the Utah House during a special session at the state Capitol in Salt Lake City, Utah, April 18, 2018 | Associated Press file photo by Rick Bowmer, St. George News

The resolution called for the Lt. Governor’s Office to place the proposed amendment on the 2018 ballot. It passed with 63 percent of the vote.

License plate transfers

House Bill 162 requires that the state’s Motor Vehicle Division transfer the license plates of a vehicle that has been sold traded or changes ownership through some other means to the new person who registers the vehicles.

Personalized and or special group license plates, such as ones marking the previous owner as a first responder or member of the military, cannot be transferred.

Public school amendments

House Bill 313 focuses on charter schools, amending definitions, repealing outdated provisions and generally cleaning up the state code. Under the law, individuals are able to report a violation of statute or rule to the State Board of Education.

The Senate must approve of the Board of Education’s appointments to the State Charter School Board.

The Board of Education must also adopt rules establishing minimum standards for a charter school application or charter school compliance. Rules governing the board’s ability to approve charter school applications passed by the State Charter School Board or a board of trustees or an institution of higher education are also repealed.

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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