Utah House votes to rein in anti-idling efforts

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 2/29/2012

Cities in Utah could soon be tempering efforts to setup anti-idling ordinances.

In response to an idling rule in Salt Lake City, the House voted 42-28 to advance a bill that would limit what local governments can do when enacting ordinances that limit idling for cars and trucks. The bill – HB104 – now moves to the Senate.

Salt Lake City approved a two-minute idling ordinance in October 2011 for vehicles parked in public spots, as well as private parking lots or driveways. First-time offenders get off with a warning. Fines for subsequent offenses start at $100.

City leaders said the rule’s intent is to improve air quality in Salt Lake Valley, where vehicle exhaust accounts for more than 50 percent of the state’s air pollution.

Rep. Wayne Harper, R-West Jordan, called the ordinance abusive and a violation of property rights.

His bill would allow only ordinances that are “primarily educational.” In addition to the Salt Lake City program, a similar rule in nearby Park City would also be affected.

The distinction would require three warning citations to be doled out before a ticket can be issued. Fines would have to be structured the same as a parking violation.

Any ordinance could only be enforced on private property if the owner of the property requests law enforcement to issue a citation.

Opponents say the state has no business telling cities what rules they can enforce. Supporters say the state has every right to step in when localities overstep their bounds.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Utah, click here.

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