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Greetings Friends and Neighbors,


We are more than halfway through the 2024 General Legislative Session and time is certainly moving quickly. In the coming weeks, we will continue to focus on passing bills that will have a local, regional and statewide impact and benefits. These bills, some of which are described below, will seek to improve our state and enhance Utahns’ quality of life.


Though the bills, budget allocation and resolutions keep us very busy, we always appreciate recognizing honorable and inspiring people across the state. This week, we honored small businesses, firefighters, Asian American and Pacific Islanders and university student groups. In each recognition, I was impressed by our state’s phenomenal strength, resilience, and talent. I am humbled to be surrounded by such excellence and proud to call myself a Utahn!


As I continue to work hard to represent you, I want to keep you updated on our progress in the Legislature. Below is information on several bills we are currently considering.




Senator Wayne A. Harper



Special Note:

I appreciate all those who attended my previous town hall meetings.  Likewise, I enjoyed meeting with several schools including Bennion Middle School and Westland Elementary, plus PTA members and School Board members from Granite and Jordan Districts.  Several constituents also came for the Pacific Island Commemoration, and I had two sit with me on the Dias as I presided over the Senate on Thursday.


Remaining Town Hall Meeting

We have one more town hall opportunity this week in Taylorsville. This will be a great setting to forecast and discuss the remainder of the session. I hope to see you there:


February 15, 2024

Taylorsville City Hall

6:00 – 7:30 pm

2600 w 5400 s

Taylorsville, Utah


My Sponsored Legislation


NCSL 50th Anniversary Resolution

The Senate and House passed a joint resolution this week recognizing the 50th Anniversary of the creation of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). NCSL is a bipartisan organization with three objectives: to advance the effectiveness, independence and integrity of state legislatures; to foster interstate communication and cooperation; and to ensure states have a strong, cohesive voice in the federal system. Founded in 1975, NCSL has evolved during the past half-century to become the premier organization solely dedicated to serving state and territorial legislators and legislative staff. I sincerely commend NCSL and their support committees and staff for providing state legislatures an opportunity to civilly share ideas and perspectives, all for the greater goal of enhancing the American experience. See the resolution here.


Utah Firefighter Aircraft Training

The Utah Fire and Rescue Academy (UFRA) trains Utah firefighters, including volunteers, on best fire and rescue practices. I am sponsoring S.B. 119 Fire and Rescue Training Amendments, which clarifies that UFRA must provide Utah firefighters with training on aircraft disasters. Currently, nine Utah fire agencies require their firefighters to be trained in battling airplane fires in the event of a crash or a similar disaster. However, this training is not offered anywhere in Utah, meaning our firefighters must travel to other states to satisfy this requirement. My bill will allow UFRA to offer aircraft training in-state, ensuring our firefighters have the necessary experience and knowledge when responding to airport calls. The Senate passed S.B. 119 this week, and now it will be sent to the House for their consideration. You can track the progress of the bill here.


S.B. 135 Advanced Air Mobility and Aeronautics Amendments

S.B. 24 Advanced Air Mobility Amendments, a bill of mine from the 2023 General Session, initially set up the framework for advanced air mobility concerning drones, delivery services and air taxi services in the state. It assembled a task force to review these study items and will provide results on their findings this summer. In the meantime, S.B. 135 implements some of the best practices from around the country. The bill adds a new definition of “motor vehicle” to state code to include a roadable aircraft, which must be registered as both a motor vehicle and an aircraft. Once a roadable aircraft is registered, the aircraft is subject to a safety inspection.

S.B. 135 also clarifies that it is lawful for an aircraft to fly over the state so long as it does not fly at an altitude low enough to endanger persons or property or disrupt the use of the land/water below.


Budget Process

Week four marks the last time appropriation subcommittees will meet this session. Over the past three weeks, we have heard funding requests from constituents, organizations and stakeholders. This week, we met as subcommittees and ranked all funding items in a master list. These lists will now be sent to the Executive Appropriations Committee for a final ranking. As the end of the session nears, these lists, along with the fiscal notes from all bills passed, will be consolidated into the final budget bill – known as the “Bill of Bills.”


You can learn more about the budget process and see what funding requests have been submitted here.


Other Highlighted Legislation


Protecting Youth from the Harms of Social Media

Utah is leading the nation with landmark legislation that helps safeguard kids and teens from the growing mental health crisis tied to the rise in social media addiction. In our state, 88% of parents believe social media has a detrimental impact on children and youth, and nearly half of teens nationwide, ages 13 to 17, said using social media makes them feel worse. A staggering 53% of teen girls in Utah have persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness, a 61% increase since the invention of social media.


The goal of S.B. 194 and H.B. 464 is to protect minors from harmful product features of social media while empowering parents. These bills continue the work of Utah’s previous landmark legislation to provide parents with enhanced tools and resources, including strict age-verification processes, default privacy settings and tools for overseeing minor accounts.


It also requires social media companies to offer parents and legal guardians tools to oversee minor accounts, including setting time limits, scheduling mandatory breaks, viewing total and daily average use time and seeing connected accounts. Read more here.



Addressing Behavioral Health in Utah

With the recent trend of increasing mental health conditions throughout the nation, government organizations are finding ways to address behavioral health concerns. Behavioral health encompasses conditions related to mental health and substance use disorders, such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and more.


To increase the efficiency of Utah’s behavioral health system, the Legislature is considering S.B. 27 Behavioral Health System Amendments. S.B. 27 creates a behavioral health commission within the Department of Health and Human Services. The commission combines several existing behavioral health entities under a single umbrella. By creating a centralized entity, behavioral health organizations will more effectively and efficiently address behavioral health concerns in the state. You can track the progress of the bill here.


​​S.B. 92 Student Communication Methods

Our society increasingly relies on the internet and smartphones, and this is no different in the classroom. Schools are turning heavily to smartphone apps to help distribute information, sell event tickets and make announcements. Partnerships with schools are essential to mitigating the harmful impacts of social media.


S.B. 92 Student Communication Methods addresses how notifications should be delivered to students in school. It mandates a non-electronic communication method be distributed in addition to any electronic methods. Notably, the bill does not preclude schools from utilizing electronic means as long as they provide a non-electronic alternative. Learn more here.


Citation Honoring Utah Firefighter Crews

Our Forestry, Fire and State Lands’ Fire Program and its wildland firefighting crews had a busy year in 2023. They spent over 100 days assigned to wildfire incidents, assisting in

completing 25 hazardous fuels projects across the state and providing crucial support on over 30 fires across the country. It was our privilege to issue them an honorary citation on the chamber floor for their dedication to protecting our communities, enhancing our state’s resilience against wildfires and educating Utahns on proactive wildfire prevention. We are deeply indebted to the remarkable men and women who selflessly risk their lives to protect our state. Watch the citation here.


Culture Industry Report

On Friday, the Capitol Rotunda was filled with art, science experiments, museums and animals as we welcomed Utah’s cultural industry. Many of the entertainment, economic prosperity and learning opportunities we enjoy in Utah are thanks to these businesses. Over 100,000 individuals are involved in the arts, humanities and cultural sectors. The industry also contributes $17.8 billion in sales and $309 million in tax revenue. We congratulate them on their great work for the betterment of our state.

Career and Technical Education Day

Career and Technical Education (CTE) in Utah focuses on providing rigorous, high-quality education that is career-focused and helps students graduate and enter the workforce as soon as possible. In the 2022-23 school year, over 180,000 students enrolled in CTE classes with a 97% graduation rate. These classes offer students a leg up in business, trade and other industries.

Utah Life Sciences Day on Capitol Hill

Life Sciences Day on the Hill brought an impressive array of science, technology and healthcare displays to the Rotunda. Utah’s life sciences industry has seen a surge in growth and become a staple of our economy. With 1,600 companies and over 180,000 jobs, our life science sector is one of the fastest-growing in the nation.

Utah Tourism Day on the Hill

Tourism is thriving in Utah, with dozens of beautiful natural landscapes to explore and small towns full of rich history. In 2022, the tourism industry in Utah brought our state nearly $12 billion in direct visitor spending, $2.1 billion in tax revenue and over 150,000 travel and tourism jobs. Our five National Parks, 44 State Parks and world-class ski resorts are some of the best the West has to offer. Because of our tourism industry, Utah will continue to be a place for all to recreate and enjoy.

Snow College Day

Snow College stands as a pillar in Central Utah’s educational community. This year, the college celebrates its 135th Anniversary. To honor Snow and all its contributions to Utah, we welcomed many faculty, staff, alums and students to the Senate for a glimpse of the legislative process.

Being one of the oldest colleges in the West, Snow’s history is deeply intertwined with Utah’s. The college currently boasts around 6,000 students and offers certificates, associate degrees and, as of 2018, two bachelor’s degrees.

I am grateful for all Snow College is doing for our state. Universities help train the future of Utah, and it is always a privilege to host them at the Capitol. Go Badgers!

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