Legislative session was OK for County
March 16, 2012
With Utah’s legislative session over after a 45-day run of controversial bills being debated, redone, vetoed or passed, Summit County Manager Bob Jasper said the County Courthouse is still trying to figure out exactly which bills will impact the area.
According to Jasper, it was not a horrible legislative session for Summit County.
"Overall, it does not appear there will be a ton of impact from the bills that were passed," Jasper said. "The billboard bill that we were concerned about was amended so it wasn’t too bad, and then ended up being killed in the end, which we were happy about. Also more money from the state budget was allotted for tourism, which we really like."
House Bill 313, regulating the control of local health boards, was watered down enough, according to Jasper, that the county can live with the new rules, which restrict the health boards from passing laws that are stricter than those of the state health board.
"Representative Mel Brown headed a bill that made it easier for towns to incorporate," Jasper added. "Less people need to vote for the incorporation and it eliminated the need for a feasibility study. The bill died, and then was resurrected in a less severe form and ended up passing. We aren’t crazy about the new law because we think the feasibility and revenue studies are important."
The passage of Senate Bill 41, which requires minors to be accompanied by a parent every time they use a tanning bed, was called a success by many residents of Summit County.
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Summit County Health Director Rich Bullough said it was a good bill that accomplished the key component of informing parents and minors about the danger of tanning beds.
"It goes along with our plans to enforce stricter regulations of tanning beds," Bullough said. "We wanted to ban tanning for minors, but statewide the lawmakers did not want to go that far. Utah has the highest rate of melanoma and Summit County has the highest rate in Utah, so it is important we protect and inform the public."
Local dermatologist Sancy Leachman, who specializes in melanoma treatment at the University of Utah Hospital, said she is seeing a decrease in the age that melanoma is showing up in women and all signs point to tanning beds.
"It is the leading cause of cancer in women age 25 to 30," Leachman said. "If we can keep kids from going to tanning salons until after they are 18, it will be a longer amount of time until cancer develops and it will be in their heads that this is bad and can be deadly. If we don’t restrict it then they will think it is safe."
Leachman added that the new law is similar to restricting minors from using tobacco or alcohol because they proven to be harmful.
Summit County and Park City’s lobbyist, Desmond Barker, told Jasper that the implication of some bills that were passed is still unclear since many bills were redone or had amendments added to them at the last moment. The legislative session ended March 9.