While several legislators have complained about Salt Lake County spending tax dollars to hire a professional lobbyist to handle matters before the Legislature this year and last, Rep. Phil Uipi, R-Salt Lake, has done something about it.

Monday, Uipi filed a bill that would prohibit cities, counties, special districts or other local government agencies from hiring someone solely for the purpose of lobbying the Legislature.The measure is broad, but it is clearly aimed at Salt Lake County and lobbyist Paul Rogers. Rogers is a respected former GOP state senator who is now a freelance lobbyist. He was hired by County Commissioner Randy Horiuchi (also a former lobbyist) for $40,000 a year.

Rogers said he had no comment on the bill until he could read and study it. But he said at first blush it appeared it would apply to him, since his only responsibility for the county is to lobby the Legislature.

Local governments have, at times, hired lobbyists. However, those lobbyists usually represent their government before various forums - the executive branch of the state, the Legislature and before other governments or agencies as well.

Salt Lake County has vigorously lobbied the Legislature for years. Deputy Salt Lake County attorneys Allan Moll and Karl Hendrickson, in addition to other assignments, have been fixtures in Capitol halls for a decade, lobbying lawmakers during the 45-day session. However, they are both making infrequent appearances at the Legislature this year, lobbying duties going instead to Rogers.

Horiuchi defends the hiring of Rogers, saying Rogers is one of the best lobbyists in the state. With millions of dollars in county tax revenue and/or state handouts at risk, Horiuchi said he wanted Salt Lake County taxpayers to have the best representation available.