February 19, 2013

New Utah Legislature App

Watch Utah Legislature Bills.jpgA new free app has been developed to help you track the Utah State Legislature's bills and resolutions that are proposed and passed during legislative sessions. It's called Watch Utah Legislature Bills, and it's compatible with both Apple and Android mobile devices.

With this app, you can search for and subscribe to bills and receive notifications when any status change has occurred, whether it passed a committee, was read, or received a vote.

You can download this app from iTunes or from Google Play.

January 28, 2013

Opening Day of the 2013 Legislative Session

statecapitol.jpegToday, January 28th, marks the opening day of the 2013 General Session of the Utah State Legislature. The 2013 session ends on March 14, 2013.

Since the legislature's website was redesigned, there are several ways to follow proceedings from the legislature's home page. There are prominent links directly to audio and video proceedings, to weekly calendars, and to the 2013 Session page, where you can find and track bills.

January 04, 2013

Redesigned Utah Agency Websites


Several Utah agencies have recently redesigned their websites, including the Utah State Archives and the Utah Division of Administrative Rules. The State Archives' home page now provides quick links to its popular resources, including a central link to its print and digital research resources, and records request forms and information.

The Division of Administrative Rules home page now has quick links to the current Administrative Code, proposed rules, and administrative rule hearings.

Visit the State of Utah's website to find links to all Utah state agencies.

December 28, 2012

New Year, New Laws

statecapitol.jpegSeveral new Utah laws go into effect on January 1, 2013, including:

  • HB75: Property Taxation of Low-Income Housing.
  • SB116: Armed Forces Property Tax Exemption.
  • SB122: Urban Farming Assessment Act.
  • SB263: Education Requirements for Nursing Licensure Amendments.

Want to learn more about these new laws? From each bill's home page, you can link to floor debate audio recordings or read committee minutes and reports.

December 11, 2012

Utah Redistricting Documents Online

redistricting.jpgWe have blogged in the past about Utah's redistricting process that occurred last year. The legislation related to redistricting passed during the 2011 Third Special Session of the Utah Legislature.

This year, the legislature made all legislative documents and correspondence related to the redistricting effort online on the Redistrict Utah website. The files total about 16,000 pages of records. They are divided into 15 separate files, and are further divided into smaller PDF files for easier downloading and/or browsing.

November 28, 2012

Holiday Charities

Gift-wraping.jpgThe holiday season is a busy time for many people to shop and plan holiday events. However, it also presents many chances to donate time, money, or gifts to families in need. If you're interested in participating in holiday charity drives and events, check out these statewide resources:

November 07, 2012

Curbside Glass Recycling in Salt Lake City

bottles.jpgCurbside glass recycling is now available in Salt Lake City. This optional service costs $6 per month, added to your monthly water bill. You can sign up online with your water bill account number or by calling (801) 535-6999.

To learn more about the glass recycling program, including acceptable and unacceptable items, visit the Salt Lake City's glass recycling page.

If you're not interested in curbside glass recycling, you can still drop off your glass for recycling at one of twenty drop off sites in Salt Lake County.

October 23, 2012

2012 Election Information

Election day is two weeks away - do you have all the information you need to vote? The website provides a variety of resources to help you prepare to cast your ballot on November 6th.

  • Use the On My Ballot link to verify you're regsitered to vote, learn about candidates and propositions, and to generate a customized Voter Information Pamphlet.
  • Sign up for a reminder email or text message and find your polling place
  • Early voting begins in today. Find out where you can cast your ballot before election day.
Article VIII, Section 9 of the Utah Constitution provides that Utah judges must stand for retention election at the end of each term of office, as defined by Utah Code Section 20A-12-201. Visit the Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission (JPEC) website to review the evaluations of the Utah judges on this year's ballot.

The Utah State Library for the Blind and Disabled provides the Voter Information Pamphlet in alternate formats, including .mp3 and braille.

October 05, 2012

New Utah State Legislature website

Legislature.bmpThe Utah State Legislature's website has been redesigned. The site has several new design features, including:

  • a search box at the top which lets you search bills, statutes, or a keyword search of the site,
  • audio and video recordings and the calendar featured prominently on the home page,
  • committee meeting information pages that are organized by tabs and tables, and
  • a Who Represents Me? box where you can search for your local representative by your address. This box displays at the bottom of every page on the site.

September 25, 2012

Salt Lake City Parking Apps

SLC Parking App.PNGIf you're planning a trip to the Scott Matheson courthouse in downtown Salt Lake City to file papers, attend a hearing, or visit the law library, there is a new app you might be interested in. has developed a Parking Finder app to help you locate a parking spot using your smartphone's location. You can use this app to locate over 30,000 available parking spots in downtown Salt Lake City. You can also find hourly, daily, and event rates for parking structures.

You can also download the QP Quick Pay Smartphone App to pay for parking right from your smartphone, by text, or by voice. More information about this app can be found on its Frequently Asked Questions page.

August 21, 2012

Driver License Emergency Contact Database

caraccident.jpgThe Utah legislature passed HB21 this year which created a database that allows any Utah driver license, learners permit, or identification card holder to register with the Driver License Emergency Contact Database. The law, enacted as Utah Code §53-3-205.6, became effective on July 1, 2012, and allows a law enforcement agent to notify emergency contacts in the event of a car accident or other emergency in which a person becomes unconscious or unable to communicate.

If you are interested in signing up for this service, you will be asked to provide your last name, driver license number and issue date, and the last four digits of your social security number.

July 10, 2012

Registered Notary Database

Notary Seal.bmp

Looking for a Utah notary? A new resource that is available to you is the Registered Notary Search database on the State of Utah's website. Here, you can search for a notary by name, city, zip code, and by foreign language spoken. Your search results will appear below the search boxes, and they can be sorted by any column.

If you need to notarize a court pleading or form that you are filing in a Utah district court case, court clerks can notarize these filings.

June 28, 2012

Fireworks Laws Amendments

fireworks.jpgDuring the 2012 General Session of the Utah State Legislature, HB 33 was passed, which amends the dates and times for sale and discharge of state approved fireworks. A list of prohibited fireworks can be found on the Utah State Fire Marshal's website.

Some cities may have additional fireworks restrictions. For more information, see the State Fire Marshal's list of Fireworks Restrictions by Local Communities or visit your local city or county website.

June 19, 2012

Fourth Special Session of the 59th Legislature

statecapitol.jpegThis Wednesday, June 20th, at 3:00 pm, the Utah State Legislature will meet for a Special Session that was announced this past Monday. Article VII, Section 6 of the Utah Constitution allows the Governor to convene a Special Session.

Some of the items to be addressed in the Special Session include:

  • the number of liquor licenses available statewide,
  • technical amendments to nursing accreditation laws, and
  • the Office of Education's technical error and shortfall of $25 million.
If you're interested in following the Special Session, you can stream audio and video from the legislature's page.

June 06, 2012

Utah Refugee Month

languages.jpgJune is Utah Refugee Month, as designated by a 2011 declaration by Utah Governor Gary Herbert. Events will be held throughout the Salt Lake Valley all month long, and several of these events are hosted by the Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County public libraries.

If you are interested in learning more about refugee services and resources in Utah, visit these websites:

April 27, 2012

Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet Day

prescription.jpgSaturday, April 28 is Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet Day, a semi-annual event that gives citizens the opportunity to dispose of unused prescription and over-the-counter medications safely. Last October, over 4,000 pounds of unused medication were disposed by Utah households. The event is held not only in Utah; it is a nationwide initiative sponsored by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

You don't have to wait until Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet events to get rid of your old prescriptions and over-the-counter medications. There is a list of permanent disposal locations throughout Utah which you can use at your convenience.

For more information about disposing old prescriptions and medications, see the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's consumer update How to Dispose of Unused Medicines.

April 20, 2012

New Labor Commission Website

LaborCommission.bmpThe Utah Labor Commission has redesigned its website. Some of the new features on the home page include a Frequently Asked Questions section and I Want To, a section with frequently requested services such as filing a complaint, obtaining workers compensation hearing forms, and reporting a work injury.

There is also a page featuring online services, including a database of recent labor commission decisions (1994-present). The database lets you browse by year and month or search by keyword.

April 13, 2012

The Great Utah ShakeOut

Utah will hold its largest statewide earthquake drill on Tuesday, April 17th at 10:15 a.m. At that time, participants will "Drop, Cover and Hold On" as if a real earthquake had struck. Some offices of the Utah State Courts will be participating.

This drill is an opportunity to practice how to protect yourself during earthquakes. The ShakeOut website provides a wealth of resources, including videos, tips on protecting yourself, what you shoudl have in you grab and go kit and drill manuals.

Tens of thousands of Utahns have signed up to participate, including state and local government offices, schools, businesses, medical facilities, non-profits and faith-based organizations. You can register online to add your name to the list of participants.

March 20, 2012

New Utah Childcare Database

Hopscotch.JPGLooking for a childcare provider in Utah?

A new resource you may want to check out is Care About Childcare, a database created by the Utah Office of Child Care in collaboration with the Utah Department of Health's Child Care Licensing, the Child Care Professional Development Institute at Utah State University, and the Utah Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies.

Parents can search for providers by zip code or county. A search can be narrowed by a child's age and special needs. If you're a childcare provider. You can also find parenting resources such as child development, activities, and nutrition.

March 12, 2012

2012 Legislative Session Wrap-Up

IMG_2702.jpgThursday March 8th was the last day of the Utah State Legislature's 2012 General Session.

You can view the bills that passed during the session , and note whether Governor Herbert has signed the bills into law. If the governor does not veto or sign the passed bills, the bills become law 60 days after adjournment.

If you're interested in what happened during each day of the session, you can read the House and Senate Journals, which document vote counts, committee referrals for bills, and often include amended or substituted language in bills proposed by legislators.

The 2012 General Session page also links to 2012 Selected Highlights.

February 10, 2012

10th Anniversary of Utah Winter Olympics

winterolympics.jpg2012 marks the 10th anniversary of the 2002 Winter Olympics that were held in Salt Lake City.

There are several online resources documenting and commemorating the Olympics, including:

  • The Utah State Library, whose online digital government publications collection is featuring state and local publications devoted to the 2002 Winter Olympics.
  • The Utah State History division, which has several collections of photographs of people and artifacts from the Olympic Games, including the Governor's Olympic Photograph Collection and the Olympic Legacy Collection.

    For more information about the 2002 Winter Olympics, visit the 10th anniversary commemorative site.

  • January 24, 2012

    State of the State Address

    capitol winter.jpgUtah Governor Gary Herbert will deliver the State of the State address this Wednesday, January 25, at 6:30 pm. It will be broadcast on all local TV news stations and stream online at

    The Governor's office has recently created an activity sheet for Utah's 4th graders to complete during the address.

    Missed last year's State of the State address? The text of the speech is available online.

    January 23, 2012

    Opening Day of the 2012 Legislative Session

    capitol3.jpgThe 2012 General Legislative Session begins Monday, January 23rd. The legislative session lasts 45 days and ends on Thursday, March 8th.

    There are a number of ways you can keep track of what's happening during the legislative session:

    January 05, 2012

    New Utah Laws Effective January 1

    statecapitol.jpegThe new year brings new Utah laws, including:

    • HB 301: School District Property Tax Revisions.
    • SB 162: Military and Overseas Voting.
    • SB 248: Controlled Substances Database Amendments
    • SB 287: Specialty License Plate Amendments.
    Want to learn more about these new laws? From each bill's home page, you can link to floor debate audio recordings or read committee minutes and reports.

    To see all the laws that passed January 1st, go to the Utah State Legislature's passed bills page, select 2011 General Session (or any of the three special sessions) from the drop down box, and click on the Effective Date heading to sort the list by that criteria.

    December 07, 2011

    Wind Damage Resources

    weather.JPGGovernor Herbert recently mobilized the Utah National Guard and other state agencies to assist residents and businesses in the clean up from the hurricane-like winds experienced in Davis County and to prepare for another possible storm. If your home or business experienced wind damage, there are a number of resources from Utah state agencies that you should know about.

    The Utah Insurance Department has information on what to do if there is damage to your property, including documenting the damage, finding a reputable contractor to do repairs, and reporting a claim.

    The Utah Department of Commerce reminds consumers to be aware of scams by fake contractors and companies preying on people whose property was damaged in the recent storm. Remember to always ask to see a copy of the contractor's license and get a written contract.

    You should also check with your city and county for information on clean-up efforts. For example, Farmington has information about green waste clean-up here and Layton has provided information about fraud and clean-up efforts on their website.

    November 15, 2011

    National Family Caregivers Month

    IMG_1186.JPGNovember is National Family Caregivers Month, and seeks to draw awareness to the needs and challenges of family caregivers who may be assisting adults and/or children with special needs. USA.Gov has a directory of federal resources for family caregivers, including home and community resources for veterans and hospice care locators.

    The state of Utah has a variety of resources for caregivers, including:

    The Utah State Courts website has information about guardianship and conservatorship in Utah. You can complete court forms for a minor guardianship using the Online Court Assistance Program. The courts' YouTube channel has videos about Guardianship of an Adult and Guardianship of a Minor available to watch at any time.

    October 27, 2011

    Halloween Resources and Events

    jackolantern.jpgNext Monday is Halloween. The U.S. Census Bureau has put together an interesting facts page for the popular holiday, including the number of businesses where you can rent or buy costumes (1,719 in 2009) and how many pounds of pumpkins are produced in the U.S. (1.1 billion pounds in 2010).

    Many Utah cities and police departments have put together safety tip guides for trick or treaters and parents, including Layton, Sandy, and Lehi.

    In addition to trick or treat activities, Utah cities, libraries, and schools may also be hosting Halloween activities. Contact your local city or county office, public library, or school district to see if there are Halloween related activities for you and your family. You can also search for events on the Utah Office of Tourism online calendar.

    September 27, 2011

    Utah's Redistricting Efforts

    redistricting.jpgThe Utah Legislature, through authority from the state constitution, redraws district boundaries every ten years, based on the results of the most recent U.S. census.

    According to the 2010 census, Utah's population increased by nearly 24%, which earned the state fourth U.S. congressional seat. In addition to redrawing the U.S. congressional districts, the redistricting process will also redraw state senate and house districts as well as school board districts.

    You can learn more about the 2011 redistricting effort online at the Redistrict Utah website. Here, you can see various redistricting maps drafted by state legislators, learn more about the redistricting process, and see archived materials from the 2001 redistricting process online.You can also submit comments and try drawing your own redistricting map.

    There are two upcoming Redistricting Committee meetings scheduled this week at the State Capitol. All meetings are open to the public and will be streamed live on the Utah Legislature's website.

    If you missed any of the prior public meetings held throughout the state, you can read reports from and listen to meetings onlne. In addition, a Special Session of the Utah Legislature will convene beginning Monday, October 3rd to to address redistricting.

    September 16, 2011

    Online High School Education

    highschool.jpgThe 2011 General Legislative Session saw the passage of SB 65, which created the Statewide Online Education Program. It has been effective since July 1, 2011, and was enacted as Title 53A, Chapter 15, Part 12 of the Utah Code.

    The Statewide Online Education Program allows eligible high school students to earn credit by taking online courses. For the 2011-2012 school year, students can receive up to two credits through the program.

    Many school districts have begun offering online courses, such as the Jordan School District and Nebo School District. Some have even implemented their own online education programs, such as Provo School District's eSchool.

    For information on all Utah school districts that are offering online courses, visit the State Office of Education's Public Education Online page.

    September 08, 2011

    10th Anniversary of 9/11

    september11.bmpWe are approaching the ten year anniversary of the September 11th attacks. Many federal agencies and educational institutions are observing this event with online memorials and resources, including the following:

    To find out more about resources documenting and memorializing this important day in history, visit USA.Gov's page on 9/11 Commemorations and Information.

    In Utah, volunteer organizations around the state are commemorating 9/11 with a Day of Service and Rememberance. You can find ideas for volunteering and see a list of organizations looking for project volunteers and donations.

    September 07, 2011

    Good Landlord Programs in Utah

    apartment.jpgMany cities throughout northern Utah have adopted Good Landlord Programs, including Brigham City, Ogden, and West Valley City.

    Good landlord programs help landlords understand property management requirements and how to keep rental properties safe from illegal activities. Cities that have passed Good Landlord Program ordinances require landlords to get a business license, and participation in the Good Landlord Program reduces the cost of the business license fee.

    Salt Lake City is the most recent Utah city to adopt a Good Landlord Program, passing a city ordinance that became effective on September 1, 2011.

    Participation in the Good Landlord Program requires training that is available through the Utah Apartment Association. See the UAA Calendar of Events for class listings near you.

    August 31, 2011

    State Agencies Return to Five Day Work Week

    clock.jpegOne of the most common questions we receive at the law library is: Are you open on Fridays? Unlike executive branch agencies, we are open five days per week. Soon, all state executive agencies will also be open on Fridays, This change is due to the enactment of HB 328, which was passed during the 2011 Veto Override Session.

    Governor Gary Herbert issued a directive on June 1st indicating that all state agencies return to a five day work week on September 6th.

    Need to find an executive agency office? See the directory of state agencies list online.

    August 11, 2011

    Back to School: Vision Screening for Children

    August is Children's Eye Health and Safety Month.

    Utah Code §53A-11-203 requires vision screening for children under the age of eight entering school for the first time. Parents or guardians must submit a certificate signed by a licensed health professional that their child has received vision screening or a written statement stating vision screening violates their personal beliefs.

    A variety of free vision screening services are available. Check with your local school district to see if they provide a free vision screening clinic. Or, see if a local or national agency provides free services or referrals through, an information resource for parents of children up to eight years old. Search for agencies using the site's community resources database.

    To learn more about children's eye health, see the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' guide, Get Your Child's Vision Checked. Here, you can learn the signs of common children's eye problems and ways to protect children from eye injuries.

    August 09, 2011

    Growing and Selling Seasonal Produce in Utah

    farmers market cropped.jpgUtah Code 59-12-104 provides for the exemption of sales taxes on seasonal produce, seedlings and plants during their harvest season when sold by the producer or the producer’s employee or immediate family.

    To enjoy the fruits (and vegetables) of this legislation during the 2011 harvest season, Utahns can find an increasing number of farmer’s markets throughout the state. Utah also has many budding small farm, food co-op and CSA (community supported agriculture) programs, including producers who use a revolutionary business trend called SPIN farming.

    For Utah growers, the Sales Tax Information for Nurseries, Florists, Landscapers and Related Industries sheet is a quick and useful guide to tax exemptions in the agricultural business.

    July 13, 2011

    Establishing Recreational Trails

    Summer is a great time to discover Utah's trails and hiking paths. Utah Code Title 79, Chapter 5 gives the Division of Parks and Recreation responsibility for the creation and management of trails in Utah's state parks.

    Within this division, the Utah Recreational Advisory Council is responsible for advising the division on on several aspects of trail management in state parks, including establishing trails and and selecting signs and markers.

    Before the Division can establish a trail, a public hearing must be held in the area where the trail will be located. Information about public hearings for the Division of Parks and Recreation or any other government agency can be found online.

    June 30, 2011

    New Utah Laws Effective July 1, 2011

    statecapitol.jpegDozens of new Utah laws go into effect on July 1st, the first day of the State's new fiscal year. Here is a sample of a few of those laws:

    • H.B. 84: Office of Inspector General of Medicaid Services, which creates this new office within the Governor's Office of Planning and Budget.
    • H.B. 206: Special Group License Plate Amendments, specifying changes in requirements for issuing special plates.
    • H.B. 303: Prepaid 911 Wireless Service Charge, which provides for the collection of a prepaid wireless 911 service charge from a prepaid wireless customer at the point of retail sale.
    • S.B. 47: Driver License and Identification Card Amendments, which modifies provisions of the Uniform Driver License Act relating to the qualifications for and requirements to obtain a driver license.
    • S.B. 256 Teacher Effectiveness Evaluation Process, which modifies provisions related to teacher career ladders and educator evaluations.
    Clicking on the link to any of these laws will take you to the bill's home page where you can read different versions of the bill as introduced, amended, and enrolled. There are also links to audio floor debates and committee reports.

    Want to see what other laws are effective July 1st? Go to the Utah State Legislature's passed bills page, select 2011 General Session from the drop down box, and click on the Effective Date heading to sort the list by that criteria.

    June 22, 2011

    Flood Resources and Emergency Management

    SLCfloodphoto.jpgEarlier this month, Governor Herbert authorized emergency funds to aid the flood relief effort in Weber County. Under Utah law, the governor has the authority to declare a state of emergency, which can last up to 30 days or longer with a resolution by the legislature. Declarations of state emergencies are printed in the Utah State Bulletin.

    Track flood levels and incident reports by visiting Utah's Homeland Security and Emergency Management site. You'll find links to local and statewide emergency declarations, weather alerts and news releases from the governor's office and other agencies. provides information about preparing for a flood emergency and links to flood warnings and forecasts.

    Your local cities and counties may need volunteers to fill and place sandbags. Contact your local emergency management office or volunteer coordinator. Salt Lake County residents click here for contact information.

    June 15, 2011

    Bicycle Commuting

    01574r.jpgDid you know that it is unlawful to ride a bicycle on the sidewalk in many Utah cities including Downtown Salt Lake City, South Salt Lake, Moab and American Fork?

    June 13 kicks off Governor Gary Herbert's 2011 Utah Clean the Air Challenge, "a month long competition ... that gives you the chance to reduce your vehicle emissions by choosing alternatives to driving alone".

    With the approach of summer, what better time to accept the challenge and enjoy taking your bike to the streets on your way to work? To ensure your commute is safe and lawful, look to the handy pocket guide to Salt Lake Bicycle ordinance or the Safe Route website for current bicycle law topics and local bicycle ordinance throughout the state.

    Pick up a printed copy of the pocket guide and learn more about bicycle safety, repair, and advocacy at the Salt Lake City Bicycle Collective, or view the full Utah Code for bicycles, Utah Code sec. 41-6a-1102 through 1115.

    June 09, 2011

    Camping Regulations in Utah

    camping.jpgAs summer approaches, you may be planning a camping trip. If you are, be sure to pay attention to the camping rules that may be posted in or near campsites.

    These rules are administered by the Utah Department of Natural Resources' State Parks & Recreation Division, and include rules governing the maximum number of persons and cars allowable at campsites and designating quiet hours at campsites.

    If you're looking for a campsite, Utah's travel website provides a campgrounds database which you can search by destination, ski resort, or city. You can also make camping reservations at Utah state parks online.

    May 06, 2011

    Utah Archaeology Week

    excavation.jpgMay 7-14 is Utah Archaeology Week, a week celebrating Utah's prehistoric peoples and cultures. Free events will be held throughout the state.

    Laws governing archaeological sites in Utah can be found at Title 9, Chapter 8, Section 301 et seq. of the Utah Code. These laws created the Antiquities Section which helps protect sites and artifacts, governs excavation permits, and details the penalties for violating these laws.

    If you're interested in learning more about Utah's archaeological history and sites, check out archaeology publications available through the Utah State History website.

    April 01, 2011

    Clean out the Medicine Cabinet Month

    medicinecabinet.jpgThe Utah State Legislature declared April Clean out the Medicine Cabinet Month (passed this session as House Bill 241). This designation is an effort to educate Utah families about ways to keep their homes safe from prescription drug abuse through the proper storage and disposal of prescription medications.

    Several local and state agencies have already begun awareness campaigns on this important topic. Utah County's Division of Substance Abuse and Department of Health are among several sponsors of Utah County residents can find their closest medication disposal station and learn tips to keep their families safe.

    The state's Department of Health and Department of Environmental Quality are two of several sponsors of, a project that started in 2007. Here you can find research on drug-related deaths in the state. You can also find and comment on posts written by Utah residents about how prescription drug abuse affected their families.

    Part of this year's Clean out the Medicine Cabinet Month is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, which a nationwide event sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration. Grocery stores, schools, and police stations across the state are participating as drop off sites.

    Correcting the State Flag

    March 2011 marked the 100th anniversary of the Utah state flag.

    The Utah Legislature took advantage of this occasion to correct a mistake in the flag's design that has been perpetuated for decades.

    Everyone had been mistakenly relying on a 1922 description of the flag rather than the correct 1913 description. This meant that the year "1847" was being placed beneath the shield instead of on the bottom of the shield, where it belongs.

    House Concurrent Resolution 2, passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Herbert, recognizes that the design on the Utah state flag should match the description provided in 1913 by House Joint Resolution 1.

    You can find the current full description of the flag at Utah Code Section 63G-1-501.

    Additional Resources

    Photo source: Utah State Senate

    March 14, 2011

    2011 Legislative Session Wrap-Up

    IMG_2702.jpgThursday, March 10, was the last day of the Utah State Legislature's 2011 General Session.

    You can view the bills that passed during the session here, and note whether Governor Herbert has signed the bills into law. If the governor does not veto or sign the passed bills, the bills become law 20 days after adjournment.

    If you're interested in what happened during each day of the session, you can read the House and Senate Journals, which document vote counts, committee referrals for bills, and often include amended or substituted language in bills proposed by legislators.

    The 2011 General Session page also links to 2011 Selected Highlights.

    February 25, 2011

    New Utah Population Statistics Released

    Utah_Locator_Map.PNGThe U.S. Census Bureau has recently released new Census population totals for Utah, which were gathered during the 2010 Census. The totals show that all Utah counties had population growths between 2000 and 2010, with the top five counties being:

    • Wasatch County (54.7%)
    • Washington County (52.9%)
    • Tooele County (42.9%)
    • Utah County (40.2%)
    • Iron County (36.7%)
    The cities with the most population growth are:
    • Lehi (149.1%)
    • South Jordan and Spanish Fork (tied at 71.3%)
    • Draper (67.6%)
    • Riverton (54.9%)

    The data also show an increase in population diversity. The Hispanic population grew 77.8%, the African-American population grew 60.8%, and the Asian population grew 48.5%.

    The population tables are available here.

    February 04, 2011

    State of Emergency Declarations

    flooding.jpgSouthern Utah has taken a severe weather beating this winter, being subjected to floods and severe storms. Governor Gary Herbert recently declared this region a state of emergency by executive order, which he has the authority to do under Utah Code Title 63K, Chapter 4, the Disaster Response and Recovery Act. The Governor's executive orders are published in the Utah State Bulletin, with the state of emergency declaration to be published in the February 15th, 2011, issue.

    The Governor recently announced he is requesting the White House officially declare southern Utah a major disaster area, enabling Utah to qualify for Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) funds to help the area recover.

    The process for a state governor to ask that an area be considered a disaster area is governed by the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5121 et seq.). The request is made to a regional FEMA office. FEMA and state officials then usually conduct a Preliminary Damage Assessment. The criteria for evaluating a state's request can be found in 44 CFR §206.48. FEMA can make recommendations whether a state receives aid, but it is ultimately the President's decision whether a disaster is declared and whether federal funds will be distributed to the state.

    To see where else FEMA has declared disaster areas (with historical declarations back to 1953), check out FEMA's Federal Disaster Declarations page.

    January 24, 2011

    State of...2011

    State_of_the_Union.jpgThree "State of..." addresses will be delivered this week: today, the State of the Judiciary address will be made by Chief Justice Christine Durham to the Utah Senate at 2 p.m. and to the House of Representatives at 2:40 p.m. On Tuesday night, President Barak Obama will deliver the State of the Union address to the nation at 7 p.m. MST. Then on Wednesday night, Governor Gary Herbert will deliver the State of the State address at 6:30 p.m. in the Utah House chambers.

    Court rule gives the duty of presenting the State of the Judicary address to the presiding officer of the Judicial Council, who is the Chief Justice, unless she is unable to perform her duties. Governor Herbert is required by the Utah Constitution to make an annual report to the legislature about the condition of the state. The President is required by the U.S. Constitution to give a report to Congress about the State of the Union - the fact that it happens every year is tradition and not mandated by law.

    January 21, 2011

    Opening Day of the 2011 Legislative Session

    capitol winter.jpg The 2011 General Legislative Session begins Monday, January 24th. The legislative session lasts 45 days and ends on Thursday, March 10th.

    There are a number of ways you can keep track of what's happening during the legislative session:

    Photo Credit: Utah State Senate

    December 16, 2010

    Laws on Food Donations

    fooddonations.jpgEach year around the holidays, many Utah residents donate food to organizations which collect food for needy families. Donations are generally accepted at food banks, local businesses and schools, or even online, as in the case of the Virtual Food Drive sponsored by the Community Action Food Bank (serving Utah, Wasatch, and Summit counties).

    Laws about charitable food donations can be found at Title 4, Chapter 34 of the Utah Code. These laws authorize the donation and inspection of donated food, limit the liability of donors acting in good faith for injuries resulting from donated food, and prohibit the resale of donated food items.

    Are you hoping to donate to a food bank in your area? Check out the Food Banks of Utah listing by county.

    December 02, 2010

    Utah Session Laws Now Available Through Pioneer

    lawsofut.JPGPioneer, Utah's Online Library, now includes the complete collection of the Laws of Utah starting with the very first legislative session of the territorial legislature in 1851. The session laws are fully searchable and browseable.

    If you have ever had to do Utah legislative history research you know what a huge addition this is to Utah's online legal research collection. See the Legislative History section of our Utah Legal Research page for more legislative history resources.

    The session laws database is available thanks to the work of the Utah State Library and legal publisher W.S. Hein & Co.

    Pioneer databases are only available to Utah residents, so you will need a Utah public library card number in order to access this database.

    November 02, 2010

    Election Day 2010

    vote.JPGToday is election day in Utah and across the country. You can have a hand in electing local and state-wide officials, help decide whether Utah's Constitution should be amended and whether many judges should retain their seats on the bench. If you haven't voted yet, you have until 8 p.m. tonight to cast your ballot. Need to know where to vote and who's on your ballot? Check out Utah's voter information site at

    And be sure to check out our previous election day posts here and here. Information about judicial retention elections is here.

    October 29, 2010

    "The Most Important Election Day in Utah History"

    Tuesday is election day. All elections are important, but some are more significant than others. In 1895, voters were deciding whether to approve the new Constitution, an important step in the process of becoming a state.

    In an article published in the 1995 edition of Beehive History, Jean Bickmore White describes the issues surrounding the 1895 Utah election. Voters were also choosing who would fill the elected offices created by the new Constitution, including governor, secretary of state, attorney general, supreme court justices, Congressional delegates and members of the state legislature.

    Although the Constitution was approved by a wide margin, many eligible voters did not vote - an estimated one in six. Nearly one in five who did vote voted against it.

    Women were not allowed to participate in the election. A district court judge granted Sarah E. Anderson a writ of mandate requiring the registrar of voters to register her as a voter for the upcoming election, finding that the new Constitution would provide women the right of suffrage. The Utah Territorial Supreme Court overturned the trial court decision, limiting the vote to males citizens over 21 who had lived in the territory over a year.

    Don't take your right to vote for granted - have your say on Tuesday!


  • Jean Bickmore White, November 5, 1895 - The Most Important Election Day in Utah History, 21 Beehive History 3 (1995)
  • Women Can Vote, Deseret Weekly 4 (Aug. 17, 1895)
  • Women May Not Vote, Deseret Weekly 13 (Sept. 7, 1895)
  • Anderson v. Tyree, 12 Utah 139 (1895)
  • Image source: Utah State Archives

  • October 27, 2010

    Voter Information in Alternate Formats

    Utah State Library for the Blind and Disabled Earlier this month we blogged about election resources and judicial retention elections.

    Did you know that the Utah State Library for the Blind and Disabled offers voter information in alternate formats, including large print, braille and MP3 audio files? Check it out and be an informed voter!

    October 20, 2010

    Election Resources 2010

    Last year's blog post on Utah's Election Laws & Resources points to links that have information for Utah voters in this year's midterm election.

    All three U.S. House of Representative incumbents are up for re-election:
    1st District Congressman Rob Bishop (R)
    2nd District Congressman Jim Matheson (D)
    3rd District Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R)

    One U.S. Senate seat in Utah is open this year.

    At the state level, the governor, lieutenant governor and many house and senate seats are on the ballot. For a complete list of candidates in this year's election, visit the voter information page. Many judges are also on this year's ballot; information about those judges is found in the Voter Information Pamphlet. More information about judicial retention elections is here.

    Want to be reminded about polling locations and voting hours prior to an upcoming election? Sign up to receive text message or email reminders.

    September 01, 2010

    National Preparedness Month Preparedness Month - September 2010 (Register to become a Coalition Member) graphic
    September is National Preparedness Month. The nation recently commemorated the 5th anniversary of Katrina, the hurricane that devastated Gulf Coast communities in 2005. How ready are you for a natural or human-caused disaster?

    The Ready America website stresses three points:

  • Get a kit
  • Make a plan
  • Be informed

    The Be Informed page provides specific disaster information for each state. Utah, for example, is at risk for wildfires, flooding, tornadoes, drought and landslides.

    The Publications page includes a Family Emergency Plan template you can use to record vital emergency information, an emergency supply list and an extensive "Are You Ready?" Manual. There are also publications written specifically for kids.

    Utah has its own Be Ready Utah website, which provides tips for readying your family, you business, your community and your school.

  • August 05, 2010

    Back to School Immunization Resources

    needle.jpgDo your school-aged children have the immunizations they need before going back to school in the fall?

    Utah's law governing student immunizations are found in Utah Code §53A-11-301 et seq. and Utah Administrative Rule R396-100. These laws list the required immunizations, explain the grounds for requesting exemptions, and specify the penalty for failing to comply with the law.

    The Utah Department of Health has a detailed Immunization Program website for parents which includes:

  • immunization schedules for younger children, adolescents, and college-bound students
  • flyers available in English and Spanish which can be distributed to parents
  • an email reminder service which sends parents messages about immunizations for children between two and eighteen months old.

    Looking for an immunization clinic? Find community health clinics, public health clinics by county, or search for your doctor in the Utah Vaccines for Children database, which lists doctors who provide vaccines for Alaskan, Native American, or uninsured children, children on Medicaid, or children whose insurance doesn't cover immunizations.

    Additional information about childhood immunization for parents is available through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • July 15, 2010

    Red Butte Oil Spill Resources

    oilspill.jpgLooking for information about the oil spill in Red Butte Canyon? You can find reliable information on official Utah and Salt Lake City web sites.

    The Utah Department of Environmental Quality has a page on the Red Butte Canyon Oil Spill that has a FAQ section, updates on the clean up and information about water quality. Salt Lake City's page on the Red Butte Canyon Oil Spill provides information to residents about town hall meetings and press releases. On Chevron's website, you can find their action plan to clean up the spill, as well as the latest news and information about the spill.

    In addition to the resources discussed above, at Utah Government Publications Online you can find state and local publications related to the oil spill.

    Photo credit:

    July 09, 2010

    Verification of Employment Eligibility

    verify.JPGAs Joanne blogged about earlier this week, a number of laws became effective on July 1, 2010. In addition to those mentioned, the Verification of Employment Eligibility law became effective on July 1 as well. A private employer with 15 or more employees must verify that any new employee has legal working status. Many employers use the federal E-Verify program to verify an employer's working status.

    Utah employers may then voluntarily certify that they have complied with this Utah law on Verify Utah, the Utah Employer Verification Registry.

    July 07, 2010

    New Utah Laws Effective July 1st

    statecapitol.jpegSeveral Utah laws go into effect July 1st, including:

    H.B. 196: Tobacco Tax Revisions

    H.B. 289: Judicial Nominating Commission Amendments

    H.B. 308: State Fire Code Adoption

    S.B. 26: Utah E-commerce Integrity Act

    S.B. 69: College of Eastern Utah Affiliation with Utah State University

    S.B. 265: Drug Court Expansion

    Clicking on the link to any of these laws will take you to the bill's home page where you can read different versions of the bill as introduced, amended, and enrolled. There are also links to audio floor debates and committee reports.

    Want to see what other laws are effective July 1st? Go to the Utah State Legislature's passed bills page, select 2010 General Session from the drop down box, and click on the Effective Date heading to sort the list by that criteria.

    June 23, 2010

    Your Right to Government Records

    recordsrequest.bmpUtah laws protect the public’s right to know what the government is doing and why by providing access to government records and meetings. Exercising these rights empowers citizens to play an active role in their government.

    Utah’s public records law, the Government Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA), makes government records public unless otherwise expressly provided by statute. A similar law, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), applies to federal records.

    To obtain a government record in Utah, ask the holder of the record for access, which is free, or for a copy. The record holder can require the requester to put the request in writing and can charge for copies. The Utah Attorney General's website provides a sample form for making a record request. A government entity is not required to create a record in order to satisfy a request for information.

    Utah’s right to government records is not absolute. Records that are classified as private, controlled, protected or limited do not have to be disclosed.

    Should the record holder deny a request, the requester has 30 days to appeal to the office’s chief administrative officer.

    If the chief administrative officer does not disclose the record, the requester can appeal

    • directly to the district court or
    • first to the State Records Committee and second, if the State Records Committee refuses access, to the district court.
    GRAMA is a very detailed law and should be read carefully. The Utah Attorney General has published two guides on the topic of open records and open meetings that may help you understand the law:

    June 04, 2010

    How Utah Judges are Selected

    robes.jpgYou may have seen or heard the recent news stories about the governor's choices for new judges for Utah's courts, including a justice of the Supreme Court, three judges for the Court of Appeals and several district court and juvenile court judges.

    The Judicial Selection Act (Utah Code §78A-10-101 et seq.) governs the procedure for selecting judges for courts of record.*

    Each of Utah's eight judicial districts has its own Trial Court Nominating Commission which screens applicants for district and juvenile court judge positions. The Appellate Court Nominating Commission screens applicants for Court of Appeals and Supreme Court vacancies. After screening the applicants, the judicial nominating commission interviews candidates and submits the names of three to five finalists to the governor to choose from.

    After the governor picks an appointee, the Utah Senate Judicial Confirmation Committee must recommend or reject that appointment. The Judicial Confirmation Committee's procedure for investing a nominee is governed by Senate Rule 24.04.1. These sessions are recorded, and you can listen to them at the commitee's home page.

    If the appointee is recommended for confirmation, the entire state Senate votes on the recommendation. These sessions are recorded and the audio files are available at the Senate Floor Debates page.

    The Utah Senate site maintains a list of upcoming Senate committee meetings. You can also subscribe to RSS feeds or email announcements from any Senate confirmation committee.

    * In Utah a court of record includes the district court, juvenile court, Court of Appeals and Supreme Court. Justice courts are not courts of record.

    April 09, 2010

    Tax Time

    taxes.jpegThe April 15th tax filing deadline is quickly approaching. The IRS has many resources to help you file your federal tax returns. Its Forms and Publications page lets you download printable version of tax forms. You can also file your taxes online. If you're completing your federal taxes on your own, check out Your Federal Income Tax for Individuals, an IRS publication that helps you decide what deductions may be available for you.

    The Utah State Tax Commission also features a printable forms and tax guides page and a new e-filing program called Taxpayer Access Point (TAP). The Tax Commission has developed online tutorials on how to use the new program.

    If you're interested in finding free help to fill out your taxes, there are many options. If you make $42,000 per year or less, you can go to a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance clinic. If you are over 60, find an AARP Tax-Aide site near you (AARP membership is not required). Military members and their families can obtain tax assistance on base--check with your local Armed Forces Legal Assistance office.

    If you are hiring someone to help you prepare your taxes, be sure to read the IRS's Tips for Choosing a Tax Preparer to help you avoid scams.

    March 18, 2010

    2010 Legislative Session Wrap-up

    IMG_2702.jpgThursday, March 11, was the last day of the Utah State Legislature's 2010 General Session. You can view the bills that passed during the session here, and note whether Governor Herbert has signed the bills into law. If the governor does not veto or sign the passed bills, the bills become law 20 days after adjournment.

    If you're interested in what happened during each day of the session, you can read the House and Senate Journals, which document vote counts, committee referrals for bills, and often include amended or substituted language in bills proposed by legislators.

    The 2010 General Session page also links to 2010 Selected Highlights and 2010 Key Issues.

    January 28, 2010

    2010 Legislative Session

    capitol winter.jpg The 2010 General Legislative Session began on Monday, January 25. The legislature is in session for 45 days - the last day falls on Thursday, March 11. There are a number of ways you can stay up to date with what's happening during the legislative session.

    First, you can listen or watch live to the daily House and Senate floor debates. For live recordings, visit the legislature's home page. Archived recordings are available online for both the House (1990-present) and Senate (1998-present).

    Second, you can listen to committee meetings and review committee agendas and related material. Use the main committee page to find the meeting you're interested in following. You can also track upcoming agendas.

    Third, use the 2010 General Session page to follow bills, reading calendars and weekly schedules. From the General Session page, you can also read proposed bills from both the House and Senate, read House and Senate Journals, and set up bill tracking.

    Photo Credit: Utah State Senate

    January 27, 2010

    State of...

    Two important Utah "State of..." addresses have already been delivered during this first week of the legislative session. Tonight, President Obama delivers the State of the Union address to the nation.

    If you missed either Utah "State of..." speeches, you can read them in their entirety online. On Tuesday night, Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert delivered the State of the State address to the Utah legislature. Read the text of his speech here. Governor Herbert is required by the Utah Constitution to make an annual report to the legislature about the condition of the state.

    justice durham.JPGOn Monday, during the opening day of the legislature, Chief Justice Durham presented the State of the Judiciary address, which is also now available online. The State of the Judiciary address has been presented to the legislature since 1976, the first speech given by Chief Justice Swan. Court rule gives the duty of presenting the State of the Judicary address to the presiding officer of the Judicial Council, who is the Chief Justice, unless she is unable to perform her duties.

    Tonight, you can live stream President Obama's State of the Union address or read the full-text version online after the speech. The President is required by the U.S. Constitution to give a report to Congress about the State of the Union - the fact that it happens every year is tradition and not mandated by law. Check out this New York Time's article for a brief history of the State of the Union.

    January 25, 2010

    2010 State of the Judiciary

    capitol with flowers.jpegToday at 2:15 pm, Chief Justice Christine Durham will present the State of the Judiciary address to a joint session of the Utah House and Senate on this opening day of the State legislature.

    Listen or watch live; after the speech, you can also read a transcript of the address.

    January 08, 2010

    This week in Utah history

    STATEHOOD0001.JPGOn Saturday, January 4, 1896, U.S. President Grover Cleveland officially signed a Joint Resolution, at 29 Stat. 461 (pictured), announcing Utah as the 45th state. The official inauguration of state officials occurred two days later.

    There are several educational websites about Utah's earliest days. One is Utah's Road to Statehood, created by the Utah State Archives. Here you'll read about the earliest political parties formed, learn about the 1895 Constitutional Convention, and see scanned historical documents from the Statehood celebration, including pictures of letters sent to the new Utah Governor Heber Wells.

    Another great resource is Utah History to Go, created by the Utah State Historical Society. This encyclopedia of all things Utah has articles on Utah's struggle for statehood and early statehood life.

    Historic newspapers provide a unique view of events from the time they occurred. The University of Utah's Digital Newspapers database lets you search a variety of Utah newspapers and date ranges. You can also narrow your search to a specific newspaper. The Library of Congress' free Chronicling America database lets you search and view articles from several newspapers in Utah and other states.

    December 31, 2009

    New Utah Laws Effective January 1, 2010

    statecapitol.jpegSeveral Utah laws go into effect the first day of 2010, including:

    This bill amends the Uniform Driver License Act. It repeals the Drivers' License Division's Renewal-by-Mail program and requires any driver obtaining or renewing a driver's license to do so in person at a DMV office. The repeal of this rule was also recently announced in the Utah State Bulletin.

    This bill modifies the Property Tax Act by changing the procedures taxing entities must follow when advertising public hearings in newspapers and with county auditors.

    This bill amends the Motor Vehicle Act by modifying the definition of a custom vehicle and declaring it exempt from vehicle emissions inspections. This bill also defines a street rod as a vintage vehicle.

    Want to learn more about these new laws? From each bill's home page, you can link to floor debate audio recordings or read committee minutes and reports.

    Want to see what other laws become effective on January 1st? Go to the Utah State Legislature's passed bills page, select 2009 General Session (or either of the special sessions, if you're interested in those) from the drop down box, and click on the Effective Date heading to sort the list by that criteria.

    November 05, 2009

    How are Recovery Funds Spent in Utah?


    Interested in how stimulus funds are being spent in Utah? Check out Recovery.Utah.Gov.

    You can track how state agencies are spending recovery money, link to information on how to apply for grants and search for a job--some of which were created because of the stimulus package. You'll also find a link to the Office of the State Auditor, where you can report fraud and waste.

    Check out the map to see a statewide overview of how stimulus funds are being spent, or put in a specific address to see if any projects are happening near that place.

    November 03, 2009

    Utah's Election Laws & Resources

    The first Tuesday in November is Election Day. You can learn a lot about the state's election process online!

    If you've ever wondered about Utah's election laws, you can find them in Utah Code Title 20A.

    The state's Elections Office has voter, candidate, and lobbyist registration information. You can find local polling stations, read candidate financial disclosures, or learn what it takes to be a candidate.

    Odd numbered years are generally reserved for municipal and local officer elections. The Elections Office has a directory of county clerks, who you can contact for information on candidates running in local elections.

    For historical voting results, check out the Elections Office's Election Results page, where you can find county voting results for elections back to 1960.

    September 11, 2009

    Utah Government Publications Online

    govpubs.JPGInterested in Utah agency publications that might not be available in print? Many government publications are "born digital"; that is, published online without a print version. The Utah State Library has developed a searchable online digital library of state and local agency publications, as well as federal publications about Utah.

    Browse the digital library by topic or by agency. There are also specialized collections to search, including the Utah Public Health Library and government publications in Spanish. You can even view archived agency websites.

    If you want to stay updated on the latest government publications, the State Library also has a blog that describes the lists the newest publications added to the digital library. You can subscribe to updates via email or RSS feed.

    September 09, 2009

    Salary & Benefits Approved by the Legislature

    You may have wondered it if pays to get involved in state government: how much does the governor make? Does he get a free car and housekeeping?

    According to the Utah Code, the Utah Legislature determines the salaries for "constitutional offices," which include the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, state auditor and state treasurer. As of 2008, the last time the Code section was updated, the governor earned $109,900 and received a number of other benefits. The other "constitutional offices" all earned 95% of the governor's salary. In addition, each "constitutional office" gets a car for official and personal use.

    Other state officers' compensation is also discussed in the Utah Code.

    August 12, 2009

    New Governor, New Websites

    Utah has a new governor: Gary R. Herbert was sworn in yesterday (8/11), replacing Gov. Jon Huntsman, who resigned office to become U.S. Ambassador to China.

    If you are looking for information about the new governor or other new offices, check out these new websites:
    * The Governor's website at
    * The Lt. Governor's website at
    * The First Lady's website at at

    If you're interested in Ambassador Huntsman's work in China, check out the U.S. Department of State's website on China.

    August 03, 2009 Rated a Top Government Website


    A report this week from Government Computer News has declared the official State of Utah website one of ten exemplary online government websites for its aesthetic design, use of Web 2.0 tools like Twitter and blogging, and easy-to-navigate content.

    If you haven't had a chance to see the redesigned State of Utah website, be sure to check out some of the unique features such as the online services directory, the business information center, and postings aggregated from Utah government and city blogs, including our own State Law Library blog. The 2008 U.S. States E-Governance Report consistently ranks Utah in the top ten state websites for usability, content, and privacy.

    Read the entire Government Computer News report to learn more about's achievements and other great government websites.