Your Foxley & Pignanelli Special Session Update

The first Special Session of 2018 has adjourned and Foxley & Pignanelli analyzed bills that passed, their impacts on Utah businesses and families, and all the political posturing that brought them about.


The Legislature, supported by the Governor, Salt Lake City Council, and Utah Department of Environmental Quality tweaked the Inland Port Authority legislation. Despite the changes, Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski is still very displeased with the legislature’s approach in undertaking the largest economic development project in state history.


Negotiations between the Mayor and legislature broke down with the capitol city mayor refusing to attend any more meetings. She instead advocated directly to lawmakers to scrap the bill all together and start over.

The Mayor might be on an island on her own with the city council supporting the Special Session bill as well as many Democrats in the legislature. The Mayor cites Salt Lake’s forfeiture of zoning authority and lack of control over environmental impact and mitigation as reasons for her opposition.

Political wonks are now taking bets how soon the environmental groups will sue the State.


During the 2018 General Session, Federal Tax Reform seemed imminent. However, the exact details were not known and the bill didn’t pass until after the legislature adjourned, leaving Utah lawmakers to guess at some of the specifics. Several bills were introduced in the special session to remedy some of the inconsistencies between federal and state tax reform.  

One last minute change made to the tax bills was restoring the tax credit given to families with dependent children. Given Utahns penchant to have very large families, this equates to nearly a $30 million tax break starting next year. This bill will lower families’ tax bills by about $34 per dependent.



On the heels of the South Dakota vs. Wayfair Supreme Court ruling, Utah passed its own form of mandatory online sales tax collection from online retailers outside of the state that meet a minimum threshold of sales in state. This is anticipated to bolster the State’s sales tax coffers by $60 million and will take effect January 1.

In a bill passed during the 2018 General Session, the anticipated collection of sales tax as intended as a trigger to help manufacturing companies in Utah. This bill stated that once online sales tax was collected and reached a minimum amount of $55 million, that manufacturing companies could take advantage of a tax break regarding the economic life of component parts. Clarification was made in the special session bill that this minimum of $55 million collected from online sales tax was to be met annually, not on an accrual basis.



With a significant turnover in the state legislature there were some tough fought Primary battles. Here is how a few of the high profile races shook out:


  • Rep. Scott Sandal threw his hat into the ring to join the higher chamber. He faced off against former Brigham City Mayor Clark Davis. Sandall won by nearly 800 votes.

  • Rep. Ray Ward faced a tough challenge from former Davis County Republican Party Chairman Phil Wright. Dr. Ward won his reelection earning almost 66% of the vote.

  • Melissa Ballard Garff came in 2nd in the County Convention but squeaked out a win in the Primary by less than 200 votes.

  • Democrats in the House District 24 race had a unique race with four candidates in the Primary. Jen Dailey-Provost was victorious by just a handful of votes.

The General Election will be held November 6th and most ballots will start hitting mailboxes around October 16th.

If you have any questions about specific bills that passed during the Special Session, Primary Election outcomes, or otherwise, we are always happy to discuss these matters with you.