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Utah Technology Council Goes 15 for 15 in 2010 Utah State Legislative Session

The Utah Technology Council (UTC) (www.utahtechcouncil.org) accomplished 100 percent of its 2010 legislative priorities. These wins include the passage of the E-Commerce Integrity Act (S.B. 26), landmark legislation that puts Utah at the head of the nation in e-commerce and anti-cybersquatting laws.

The E-Commerce Integrity Act is the first state anti-cybersquatting law in the U.S. UTC considers the law essential because the current federal Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act does not provide adequate protection for online businesses. This law will give Utah businesses state-court remedies, in addition to the current federal statutes, to fight cybersquatting. The current federal law is less stringent and gives businesses less recourse for the various forms of online strong-arming tactics. S.B. 26 resulted from UTC’s efforts last year to defeat Trademark Amendments (H.B. 450) and was sent to committee for study during the off-session.

“It was of vital importance that we pass the E-Commerce Integrity Act,” said state Sen. Stephen H. Urquhart, primary sponsor of S.B. 26. “It's important that our companies can avail themselves of legal actions in our court system. This bill makes the penalties in Utah a little harsher to cybersquatters than the penalties in the federal act alone.”

Other UTC 2010 session wins include the following:

  • Renewable Energy Financing Provisions (H.B. 145) – PASSED: Enables Utah’s non-profit groups, local governments, schools and churches to take advantage of innovative funding and tax incentives for renewable energy projects. This was the first clean tech legislation UTC helped pass.
  • Sales and Use Tax Exemption for a Web Search Portal (S.B. 61) – PASSED: Provides a sales and use tax exemption for certain purchases or leases for use in the operation of a web search portal. This bill is a step in creating a positive business environment for Utah’s tech companies.
  • Recycling of Electronic Items (H.B. 153) – NO VOTE: Would have imposed new fees and restrictions on manufacturers of electronic items, establishing a recycling program that most manufacturers already supply.
  • Authorization of Charter Schools by Higher Education (S.B. 55) – PASSED: Allows higher education institutions to authorize the establishment and operation of a charter school. The expectation is that the higher educational institutions will set high student achievement standards in schools that they administer and many will focus on STEM curriculum, helping to produce a quality workforce to fuel Utah’s innovative companies.
  • Utah Performance Assessment System for Students (UPASS) Amendments (S.B. 16) – PASSED: Eliminates a cap on the number of school districts and charter schools that may participate in a pilot assessment system for students that better evaluates a student’s progress, helping improve workforce preparation.
  • Budget: Holding public and higher education funding harmless – SUCCESSFUL: UTC was the first organization to support Governor Herbert’s budget principles which included keeping public and higher education funding steady. Appropriate funding for Utah’s schools is an important aspect of providing quality education to Utah’s students.
  • Unlawful Provision of Identifiable Prescription Information (H.B. 104) – NO VOTE: Would have impeded the state’s efforts to grow and retain its life science sector and could have significantly undermined the state’s leadership position in the life sciences.
  • Ethics Reform H.B. 124; H.B. 267; H.B. 270; H.J.R. 14; H.J.R. 15 – PASSED: A suite of “meaningful and significant” legislation that focused on transparency and accountability. A much better alternative to the current ballot initiative which would remove business expertise and experience from the legislative process.
  • Health System Reform Amendments (H.B. 294) – PASSED: It helps further improve Utah’s leading role in health system reform – making modifications to an already-established health system exchange program.
  • Bioprospecting (S.B. 51) – PASSED: Balances access to Utah’s micro-organisms for research with protecting the value of its own natural resources.

“The high-priority legislation supported and opposed by UTC is of vital importance to the over 5,700 technology companies in Utah,” said Richard R. Nelson, president and CEO of the UTC. “Life science, high tech and clean tech companies have a respected legislative voice in Utah with the Council. Our hope is that future businesses and leaders see the strides we continue to make in Utah and realize we are on the cutting edge of big things. It’s truly an exciting time for innovation in Utah.”

For more information on the UTC initiatives and events please visit www.utahtechcouncil.org.

Additional Resources

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About Utah Technology Council

Utah's premier professional association, the Utah Technology Council has become the essential business resource for high-tech, life science and clean tech companies seeking to achieve greater success. At its core, UTC exists to foster the Growth of the state's 5,700 technology companies, ensure Utah develops the highest Quality Workforce in the nation and attract an ever-increasing array of Funding. Members join UTC to share insights with industry peers, counsel with government and academic leaders and receive help from professional service providers and funding resources. To become a member of this "must-join" organization, visit www.utahtechcouncil.org or call 801-568-3500 today.

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