While the summer months are typically slower for the legislature and those of us actively engaged in government affairs, this summer and the summer of 2019 have been exceptions. The summer of 2019 was spent in public meetings regarding a planned widespread tax overhaul, and engaging on how to expand the state’s tax base without tax pyramiding. While that tax reform ultimately was repealed in the first days of the 2020 general session, this year also hasn’t seen a reprieve. We are currently looking ahead to the August special session which will be the sixth special session of the year, following sessions in April and June, some of which were called by the Governor and some were initiated by the legislature themselves — marking the first time they have used this new power, and all of which have been conducted at least partly if not fully remotely. The focus has of course been on coronavirus-
related budget cuts and other pandemic impacts.
Typically, from May through November, the legislature meets in interim committees to discuss topics coming out of the previous session or anticipated to be addressed during the upcoming session and agreeing to an interim study list. Not all items on the list will be studied, but at the prerogative of the Committee chairs, most typically receive a hearing or discussion, though no guarantee of draft legislation for the next general session. A summary of highlights from the June interim meetings is available and UPA’s legislative committee is closely following or engaging on a handful of items in the Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Interim Committee (NRAE); Public Utilities, Energy, and Technology Interim Committee (PUET); the Revenue and Taxation Interim Committee; and the Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee. During the June interim meetings, UPA had an opportunity to address the status of the oil and gas industry and possible regulatory considerations to both NRAE and PUET. We also presented to the Clean Air Caucus on various downstream issues including Tier 3 Fuels and the air quality challenge of ozone along the Wasatch Front. We appreciate the legislature’s willingness to partner on solutions, recognizing the challenges our oil and gas industry is facing and its importance to the state. Given the tax issues still swirling (keep an eye on the Rev and Tax Committee’s review of sales tax exemptions and a rehash of tax pyramiding and taxes on services) and the long-term perspective on COVID, we are prepared for the marathon ahead on the legislative front.
The Utah Petroleum Association