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Senate OKs bill banning rental application fees

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A bill aimed at overturning a Salt Lake City ordinance prohibiting landlords from charging prospective tenants application fees won final approval in the Senate Thursday.

HB250, which already has passed the House, was approved with all eight of the Senate's Democrats in opposition. The minority party members tried numerous times to amend the bill without success.

After hearing the bill would create hardships for low-income renters throughout the state, Sen. Mike Waddoups, R-Taylorsville, said the blame rests with Salt Lake City for approving "a really bad ordinance."

Waddoups said the reason the issue came to the Legislature was that city officials "dug in their heels," although Salt Lake's controversial mayor, Rocky Anderson, was not mentioned by name. The office is nonpartisan, but Anderson is a Democrat.

The bill's Senate sponsor, Sen. Bill Hickman, R-St. George, resisted arguments by Democrats that local governments should be deciding whether to stop the fees from being charged, not the Legislature.

Asked if the issue had been raised with Salt Lake City, Hickman said, "The question is, do we have to have their permission before we pass legislation up here? I don't think we do."