Week 4-Clean Energy at the Capitol

We are just about at the midway of the Utah Legislative Session, as we are now entering Week 4. Please take another look at our “Take Action” about HB 209-Vehicle Registration Fee Revisions below, which would substantially increase fees for electric and hybrid vehicles. We also expect some important debate on statewide building energy efficiency standards and financing for clean energy this week.  

For a big picture view of clean energy, climate change, and air quality in the Utah Legislative Session so far, check out this interview with yours truly, along with Representative Joel Briscoe, Representative Steve Handy, and Tom Holst of the Gardner Policy Institute on Utah Public Radio last week: https://www.upr.org/post/utahs-roadmap-climate-and-air-quality-mondays-access-utah  

Take Action: Tell the House to Vote No on HB 209-Vehicle Registration Fee Revisions 

HB 209-Vehicle Registration Fee Revisions (Rep. Kay Christofferson, Lehi) passed, narrowly, out of the House Transportation Committee last week. We testified against HB 209, along with a number of allies and concerned citizens, as KCPW detailed. As a refresher, this bill would substantially increase the extra annual fees for electric, plug-in electric, and hybrid passenger vehicles. The fees for an electric vehicle would increase to $300 (from $120), to $260 for a plug-in electric vehicle (from $52), and to $50 for gasoline hybrids (from $20).  We are concerned because electric vehicles and zero-emissions transportation options are a key solution to Utah’s climate and air quality challenges. HB 209 would make Utah’s electric vehicle and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle fees the highest in the nation. Fortunately, the outreach and the press we’ve done is gaining the attention of lawmakers and the press. We can stop this bill! 

We urge you to email or text your state representative TODAY to continue share your concerns with HB 209. 

  • Electric vehicles are key to cleaner air: Moving to zero-emissions electric vehicles is critical to cleaning Utah’s air and addressing climate change. We should not be disincentivizing Utah citizens from purchasing a new or used electric car with these new high fees. 
  • We need comprehensive solutions to our transportation challenges: Electric vehicles are still less than 2 percent of new car sales in Utah and a small portion of cars on the roads. Hiking electric vehicle fees again won’t fill the gaps in our transportation budget or reduce congestion on our highways. The Legislature should hold HB 209 and instead discuss more comprehensive solutions that can clean our air and create better transportation options for Utahns.  

You can see our full action alert here for more information: https://utahcleanenergy.org/evbill/  

(See the contact information for your State Representative here: https://le.utah.gov/GIS/findDistrict.jsp

Other Bills We are Watching This Week 

Here are a few other bills we are keeping a close eye on this week: 

  • HB 263-Clean Energy Fund (Representative Joel Briscoe): We strongly support HB 263-Utah Clean Energy Fund, which would create a non-profit “clean energy fund” dedicated to financing the deployment of energy efficiency and zero-emissions energy technologies. This fund would serve as a source of low-interest financing for clean energy technologies and practices, from building retrofits to energy storage systems to sustainable agriculture practices. By doing so, we can help Utah residents and businesses save money while creating jobs and economic opportunity for Utah’s clean energy business sector. The bill is in the House Rules Committee, awaiting to be assigned to a standing committee.  
  • HB 17 1st Sub-Utility Permitting Amendments (Rep. Steve Handy, Layton), which we oppose, would prohibit municipalities and counties from enacting ordinances or policies that would prohibit or have the effect of prohibiting new gas connections. Thanks to your work, HB 17 was significantly amended on the House floor to narrow the scope of the bill to not prohibit incentives for clean, electric heating systems and communities and to exempt municipal and county buildings from the ban. HB 17 1st Substitute did pass the House by a vote of 51-18 and will be heard before the Senate Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee this this week. See our full talking points here: https://utahcleanenergy.org/electrifying-our-homes-and-buildings-is-crucial-to-address-climate-change/  
  • Modifications to the Uniform Building Code Commission Membership: We are also concerned with an effort to reduce public members on the Uniform Building Code Commission, which sets building standards for new residential and commercial buildings. The UBCC plays a critical role in ensuring that new buildings adopt best practices in energy efficiency in order to reduce emissions and reduce energy costs for homeowners and occupants. Increasing the number of homebuilders and contracts on the code commission may skew discussion and decision-making in favor of short-term private interests. We are especially concerned because Utah is about to being discussion about adopting the latest model International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) for 2021 for residential buildings. 

For a full list of bills we are watching, see our Legislative Tracker at https://utahcleanenergy.org/2021-legislative-session/  

AUTHOR

Josh Craft

Josh Craft

Government and Corporate Relations Manager

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