From urine to a new state flag, the quirkiest bills of the 2019 Legislature

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Utah Senate President Stuart Adams, R-Layton, works the remaining hours on the final day of the Legislative session at the Utah Capitol on Thursday, March 14. (Francisco Kjolseth/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP)

The 2019 Utah Legislature saw a variety of unconventional bills during its 45-day session. Here are three interesting bills that made their way to the House and Senate floor:

Selling synthetic urine now a criminal offense 

Drug testing has led to a micro-niche in the black market — selling synthetic urine to help drug users pass drug tests with clean results.

Rep. Steve Eliason’s, R-Sandy, HB16 Fraudulent Drug Testing Amendments has made it a criminal infraction to sell, buy, possess or use adulterated or synthetic urine for the purpose of defrauding a drug test. Eliason said he hopes the bill will restore integrity and validity to drug testing in Utah.

HB16 passed in both the Senate and House and awaits Gov. Gary Herbert’s signature.

— Lilian Whitney

Gila monster the official state reptile 

Rep. V. Lowry Snow, R- Santa Clara, grew up in the desert of Southern Utah, to which the Gila monster is native. When Snow first presented HB144, which establishes the Gila monster as the official state reptile, he was accompanied by a group of students who helped make the lizard’s case.

“Why do we need a state reptile?” asked Kyla Larsen, a student at Lava Ridge Intermediate School. “It can help represent the beauty and uniqueness of Utah.”

Semaj Thompson, one of Larsen’s classmates, agreed that the Gila monster would be a worthy representative.

“The Gila monster is near-threatened and indigenous to Utah, and we need to protect it,” he said. “We in Southern Utah want something to represent us, because we are a part of Utah, too. The Gila monster’s characteristics would well represent the stamina and perseverance of all Utahns, past and present.”

HB144 passed in the House and was the last bill passed by the Utah Senate in the waning hours of the session.

— Katelyn Bowen

Bill for new state flag didn’t fly

The Utah state flag has remained relatively unchanged in the past 120 years, featuring symbols of the U.S. flag, a bald eagle and a beehive on a blue backdrop. It will likely remain that way for some time after a bill aimed at creating a commission to review the flag redesign didn’t make it through the Legislature.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Steve Handy, R-Layton, would create a state flag review commission that would receive public input regarding proposals for a new state flag and recommend a design to the Government Operations Interim Committee.

— Katie Harris

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