Lawmakers tackle SLC idling rule, ethics oversight
Local government • Legislators wade into local government issues.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Shedding their local-control mantra for much of the 2012 session, state lawmakers waded deeper into city and county territory, targeting Salt Lake City policies that police vehicle idling, electronic billboards and historic districts.

And they also exempted themselves from local "good landlord" laws — until the final hours, when they removed that provision.

In addition, legislators passed SCR10, a resolution expressing support for creating an interconnect that would link the seven Salt Lake County and Summit County ski resorts. They did so despite objections from environmentalists.

The move came at the same time Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker and Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon were voicing concerns about a bid in Congress that would pave the way for a Canyons-Solitude gondola dubbed SkiLink.

In a bit of a truce, lawmakers passed HB104, which would allow cities to have anti-idling ordinances, but enforcement on private property could occur only in places that welcome the public, such as store parking lots, not in driveways.

An earlier version would have essentially stalled Salt Lake City's anti-idling ban. But Sen. Ben McAdams, D-Salt Lake City and a senior Becker adviser, endorsed the compromise version, saying it "appropriately" balances a respect for property rights and community health.

The capital also dodged efforts to keep it from reining in e-billboards as two bills stalled Thursday. Had the measures passed, cities and counties could not have regulated the digital signs. The billboard industry lobbied heavily for the edict.

For the second straight year, the Legislature enacted a one-year moratorium on the creation of historic districts in Salt Lake City. SB115 was prompted by the polarization in Yalecrest over such a district.

After the ethics flap involving former Provo City Councilman Steve Turley, lawmakers also passed SB180, which would form a state ethics commission to hear complaints from cities, counties, school boards and other groups to determine if a violation occurred.