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Bill would extend more protections to Utah food truck operators

SALT LAKE CITY — Food trucks would get more even protection from what a Utah lawmaker calls discriminatory licensing and zoning laws under a bill approved by a Senate committee Monday.

Last year, the Utah Legislature passed a food truck regulation law to ease the regulatory burden on food trucks. Sen. Deidre Henderson, R-Spanish Fork, who sponsored the 2017 bill, said food truck owners and operators have already saved tens of thousands of dollars in regulatory costs and fees since that legislation was passed.

Before 2017's legislation passed, small-business owners such as Rob Lundin, who owns and operates the Toasted Cheeser food truck, would spend several hours at the beginning of each year navigating licensing, rules and regulations for each city and health department jurisdiction where operates his food truck. Each jurisdiction was separate and required its own licensing and regulatory compliance.

Henderson's 2017 legislation streamlined all of that with a single state law.

This year, Henderson is sponsoring SB167, a supplemental bill that she said would "tie down a few areas that have been problematic in some cities."

The new bill further extends the protections afforded to food trucks. Under the new bill, municipalities would not be able to charge separate licensing fees per each employee. Food truck owners also would not have to demonstrate compliance with zoning laws as a precondition of licensing.

Under the bill, municipalities would only be able to charge for "actual costs" of reciprocal licenses. Municipalities would not be able to use zoning requirements to essentially prohibit food trucks from operating there or limit the number of days a food truck could operate. Municipalities also would not be allowed to require a land permit for each location and time a food truck operates.

The Senate Business and Labor Committee approved of the bill unanimously. It now goes to the Senate floor for further debate.