Category: Legal Research

Opening Day of the Utah State Legislature

Today is the first day of the 2009 Utah legislative session.
The Utah Constitution was amended by voters this fall to change the opening day of the Utah State Legislature from the third Monday in January to the fourth Monday. Previously opening day coincided with the Martin Luther King, Jr. federal holiday.
The legislative session runs for 45 days. The amendment to Article VI Section 2 of the Utah Constitution also included a provision that excludes federal holidays from the count of legislative days, so Presidents’ Day is no longer counted as a legislative day.
You can track the work of the Utah Legislature during its session on its website:

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Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents is Now Daily

The Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents is now the Daily Compilation of Presidential Documents. This change became effective with the new presidential administration on January 20, 2009.
Whatever its title, this is the official publication of executive orders, proclamations, presidential statements, messages, remarks, and other materials released by the White House Press Secretary, and is published by the Office of the Federal Register.
From the Daily Compilation page you can browse documents by date or search by keyword.

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Researching and Using Utah Appellate Briefs and Other Appellate Resources

Curious about how to find and use appellate briefs?
Check out Mari Cheney’s article Researching and Using Utah Appellate Briefs and Other Appellate Resources in 22 Utah Bar Journal 22 (January-February 2009 ).
The article describes how and where to find briefs, and summarizes other appellate resources such as the appellate opinion notification service, online oral argument recordings, and pro se guides.

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Utah Legislature 2.0

Do you follow Utah politics and legislation?
Utah’s Senate Majority and Minority have unofficial blogs. You can read and comment on featured news stories and legislative discussions posted by Senators.

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Let It Snow!

It’s snow season – have you ever wondered what the law says about shoveling snow from sidewalks?
Snow removal is generally regulated at the local level, by city or county law, and the responsibilities of private land owners may be different from business owners.
The Salt Lake City Code, for example, has this provision:

14.20.070 Snow To Be Removed From Sidewalks:
It is unlawful for the owner, occupant, lessor or agent of any property abutting on any paved sidewalk to fail to remove or cause to be removed from the length and breadth of the entire sidewalk abutting such property all hail, snow or sleet falling thereon, within twenty four (24) hours after such hail, snow or sleet has ceased falling. Each day such sidewalk is not so cleared shall constitute a new violation.

The Logan City Code has this provision:

It is unlawful for the owner, occupant, lessor or agent of either the owner, occupant or lessor of any property abutting on any paved sidewalk where said property is open to the public for business to fail to remove or cause to be removed from such paved sidewalk and bus stop all hail, snow or sleet falling thereon, and all ice forming thereon, within one hour after such hail, snow or sleet shall have ceased falling or such ice shall have formed; provided, that in case of a storm, between the hours of five o’clock (5:00) P.M. in the afternoon and six o’clock (6:00) A.M. in the succeeding morning, or in case of ice forming during the same hours, such sidewalk shall be cleaned before nine o’clock (9:00) A.M. in the morning immediately succeeding the storm or the formation of such ice.

Many of Utah’s city and county codes are available online. If your city or county code isn’t online, contact your local public library or city/county clerk’s office to see if they have a print copy.

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Utah Laws Effective January 1, 2009

A number of laws passed during the 2008 General Legislative Session and the 2007 First Special Session become effective in Utah on January 1, 2009, or at least make mention of a January 1, 2009 date.
HB 54 Property Tax Assessment Revisions
HB 77 Personal Property Tax Amendments
HB 106 Clean Air and Efficient Vehicle Tax Incentives
HB 186 Property Tax-County Assessment and Collection Amendments
HB 206 Tax Amendments
HB 359 Tax Changes
HB 365 Aviation Amendments
HB 373 Uniform Fees on Vintage Motor Vehicles
SB 72 Justice Court Amendments
SB 122 Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act
SB 136 Apportionment of Business Income and Deduction of Net Losses by an Acquired Corporation
SB 149 Motor Vehicle Liability Policy Minimum Limits
SB 176 Unemployment Insurance Contribution Rates Amendments
SB 237 Commercial Airline and Airport Taxation Amendments
SB 242 Law Enforcement Tracking of Domestic Violence Statistics
The above list is not inclusive. Check the legislature’s website for more detail. Portions of the above laws may also have other effective dates. For more information, see the Digest of Legislation.

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Searching for Utah Cases

Use the Utah State Courts’ web site to locate both Court of Appeals and Supreme Court opinions. Court of Appeals opinions are available from 1997 to present and Supreme Court opinions are available from September of 1996. Use the search box to do a keyword search, or browse opinions by name or by year of opinion.
LexisONE also offers a free service that allows you to search 10 years worth of Utah cases, either by keyword or citation. You can also narrow your results by date, judge, parties, and counsel.

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2008 Comparison of Legislative Resources by Government and Non-Government Web Sites

GPO Access has released a report comparing the availability of legislative resources on eight online databases, four governmental and four non-governmental. The governmental databases include GPO Access, THOMAS, and, while the non-governmental databases include, HeinOnline, LexisNexis Congressional, and Westlaw.
The report, and other similar comparison reports, is available at

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