Hundreds of new state laws take effect


SALT LAKE CITY, Utah- (News4Utah) – State lawmakers packed a lot into this year’s 45 day legislative session.

“2018 state legislature had 1359 bills filed, and passed 533 bills,” said Tim Chambless, Associate Professor at the University of Utah.

Tuesday, more than 400 bills officially became law.

One garnered world-wide attention. Utah’s free range parenting law allows parents to let their children play at a park, or walk or ride a bike to school without fear of being arrested.

The sponsor was surprised by all the attention. He says it’s a common sense solution.

“Across the country parents have in fact been arrested, or investigated or even had children taken out of their custody,” said Senator Lincoln Fillmore, (R) South Jordan.

Under other new laws, the window for Utahns to legally light off fireworks is significantly cut to two days before, and one day after July 4th and July 24th.

A 17 year old can now vote in the Primary Election, if they turn 18 by the General Election.

Mothers have new rights under the Breastfeeding Protection Act, which clarifies the right to breastfeed in public.

Mental health crisis lines must be staffed 24/7/365, or be rolled over to one that is.

And, officers must have a warrant to draw blood from a patient.

The legislature also cut a deal with Our Schools Now in the final hours to get more funding for education through property taxes, and potentially the gas tax.

Time ran out on hundreds of other bills. That has Chambless wondering if it’s time to extend Utah’s legislative session.

“If we are going to have the need for more laws, maybe we need more time to be able to seriously consider the making of these laws,” said Chambless.

That’s not a popular idea among legislative leadership, who work full-time jobs.

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Glen Mills

Chief Political Correspondent

 Glen is honored to be delivering the news of the day every weeknight at 5, 6, and 10 in his home state. He is an award-winning veteran journalist, who joined the ABC4 News team as a weekend anchor in June 2013. Over the years, he held various positions at the station as he worked his way up to the main anchor chair. He also serves as our Senior Political Correspondent and hosts Inside Utah Politics, which airs every Sunday. The Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has recognized Glen as the best government and military television reporter in the state. Before returning home to Utah, he spent 11 1/2 years developing his journalism skills in other states. He held various on-air and management positions at KPVI in Pocatello, Idaho, WGBA in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and KKCO in Grand Junction, Colorado during that time. Read More...