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Senate narrowly approves anti-idling bill allowing Utah cities to better enforce ordinances

SHARE Senate narrowly approves anti-idling bill allowing Utah cities to better enforce ordinances

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah cities are on track to be able to enforce anti-idling laws after the state Senate approved HB148, allowing them to issue just one warning before drivers can be ticketed.

If the House concurs with an amendment and it is signed by the governor, it replaces current law that requires three warnings be issued.

"The testimony in committee was that it was virtually impossible to have any kind of meaningful policy if there’s three warnings," said Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, the Senate sponsor of the bill.

Bill sponsor, Rep. Patrice Arent, D-Millcreek, amended her bill to only alter the number of warnings required to help the bill pass out of Senate committee. The full Senate approved the bill on a 15-11 vote.

Sen. Scott Sandall, R-Tremonton, expressed concerns from a constituent who is a contractor and uses his truck as an office, idling to stay warm while working.

"He's going to get cited for using his pickup as his office," Sandall said, adding that he thinks three warnings is reasonable.

But Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, disagreed, saying the bill doesn't issue tickets but restores local control the Legislature took when it created the warning requirement.

"I think this was a newer concept a couple years ago to a lot of people," Weiler said. "We all know that air quality has moved up the list of concerns in the last five years in a big way."

Bramble said HB148 is more of an education bill and it is a step to cut vehicle pollution.

"If we really are serious about trying to reduce our vehicular emissions and the challenges we have with inversions, stopping idling is the responsible thing to do," Bramble said.

Sen. Jake Anderegg, R-Lehi, initially withheld his yes vote on the bill, saying it is the epitome of government interference.

"I really hate, I just hate, that we’re giving law enforcement another thing that they can pull us over for and give us a ticket for, it just drives me nuts," Anderegg said.