If you smoke cigarettes or frequently dine in Salt Lake County restaurants, you might want to go on a binge this weekend: Come Monday you'll be paying more for those pursuits, thanks to the 1991 Utah Legislature.
Fees for personalized license plates also jump $20 Monday, from $30 to $50. And renewal of the personalized plates goes from $5 to $10.Twenty-seven new laws take effect July 1, the start of the state's fiscal year. Lawmakers introduced 691 bills in January and February during the general session and passed 304. Most of the new bills became law the end of April, 60 days after the session.
But laws that deal with taxes and government operations usually start with the new fiscal year, which begins Monday. The state's 1991-92, $3.5 billion state budget also starts Monday, and a 5 percent increase in the pay-and-benefits package for the 13,000 state employees takes effect.
The state tax on cigarette sales goes up 31/2 cents per pack, earmarked for teenage drug prevention programs.
The law allowing county commissions to impose a 1 percent sales tax on restaurant sales also takes effect Monday. The money is earmarked for convention, tourism and recreational use - so just about any county can legally impose the tax.
The Salt Lake County Commission already has adopted the new 1 percent restaurant tax and plans to use the income to support the Salt Palace. Thus, Salt Lake County diners will feel the new tax immediately.
Uintah and Washington counties also have adopted the tax. Other counties are considering the measure.
Utah County commissioners plan to impose the tax when bonds are issued for a new special events center, but that is probably a year away.
Restaurant customers who order a drink may notice a change Monday: They'll be served premixed drinks containing one ounce of alcohol instead of being handed a 1.7-ounce bottle to stir in themselves. It's the final phase of liquor-law reforms approved by the 1990 Legislature.
Also Monday, the longstanding battle between optometrists and ophthalmologists will be laid to rest. Optometrists will be authorized to treat simple infections of the eye as long as they consult eye physicians in the treatment.
Lawmakers also approved increasing the driver's license renewal fee by $5, but that increase doesn't take effect until Oct. 1.
Here are the other new laws you'll have to abide by starting Monday:
- State financial regulators have broader powers; a variety of financial fees for institutions are also changed.
- Planning and zoning laws are recodified.
- Employee leasing companies now must register with the Department of Commerce.
- The new Department of Environmental Quality officially starts operation.
- The state insurance commissioner gets more control over life and disability insurance associations.
- Long-term-care insurance standards will be overseen by the Insurance Department.
- Vehicle overweight fines will be distributed to the city and county road fund accounts.
- Vehicle body repair shops must be licensed and bonded.
- Two or more people can form a limited liability company, as opposed to a partnership.
- Employer contributions to various retirement plans are changed.
- $4.8 million is appropriated for class-size reduction in the first grade.
- State Board of Education candidates will be screened by a committee and only "qualified" candidates allowed to run for election. Board candidates in 1992 will go through the new process.
- Aircraft parts and equipment are further exempted from the sales tax in an effort to encourage more aircraft production in Utah.
- A new taxpayer Bill of Rights takes effect. The State Tax Commission must list taxpayers' rights whenever contacting a taxpayer about a tax problem.
- The kinds of businesses allowed in Utah's enterprise zones are expanded.
- The name of the State Training School is changed to State Development Center and the name of the Division of Services to the Handicapped is changed to the Division of Services for People with Disabilities.
- A centennial history project is started to write the history of Utah's first 100 years.
- New incentives are given for vehicles burning a clean fuel.
- $200,000 is appropriated to develop recreational trails.
- State transportation officials must work with local governments to coordinate traffic lights.
- Gov. Norm Bangerter can set salaries for top state executives within broad ranges.
It'll cost more Monday
-To eat at a restaurant in Salt Lake, Uintah and Washington counties.
-To order personalized license plates.
-To buy cigarettes.