Senate kills bill on airport lease dispute for lack of hearing

The Utah Senate soundly defeated a bill Monday evening that had been made public for a just few hours and had no public hearing.

SB292, sponsored by Sen. Mark Madsen, R-Lehi, was intended to help protect businesses that have made considerable capital investments into the construction or improvement of airport hangars.

The bill, according to floor debate, was aimed at addressing a dispute between a lessee at Salt Lake International Airport and Salt Lake City Corp.

Republican and Democratic lawmakers alike cried foul over the Senate taking on a bill that had not gone through the body’s committee hearing process.

“I have concerns about this legislation. It did not have a public hearing. I received word from Delta (Air Lines) representatives and they have no idea what’s in the bill,” said Sen. Stuart Reid, R-Ogden.

“I think it’s very problematic to move forward without proper public hearing.”

Madsen said he had intended to move the bill to the Senate’s final reading calendar, where it would be subject to floor debate on Tuesday. But he felt compelled to move the bill along after Majority Leader Scott Jenkins, R-Plain City, advised senators that Monday would likely be the last day for Senate bills to advance.

“I’m not necessarily happy how it’s coming to the body,” Madsen said. Madsen said he introduced the legislation because he was concerned about the risk of the airport losing businesses such as Honda Jets, which has only four other locations nationwide. Salt Lake would be the fifth.

But in the end, only Sen. Margaret Dayton, R-Orem, voted for the bill. Madsen joined 25 other senators in voting no.

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