The Latest: Budget includes $1.65M for California coal suit

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Latest on Utah’s budget plan (all times local):

5:15 p.m.

Utah lawmakers are including $1.65 million in the state budget to sue California over rules that make coal-fired power more expensive.

The Legislature’s main budget committee signed off on the expense Wednesday evening as part of a package of projects and programs they plan to fund before adjourning Thursday night.

Republican Rep. Mike Noel has proposed the lawsuit, saying California’s policies are hurting coal miners in his rural district and violate the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause.

If the House and Senate votes to approve the spending Thursday, the measure moves to an uncertain fate at Gov. Gary Herbert’s desk.

Herbert said last month that the cost of the lawsuit seemed “exorbitant” and suggested the coal industry foot the bill.


2:30 p.m.

Utah lawmakers are using their last two days of the legislative session to finalize a $16.7 billion budget plan that includes $10 million to help tackle homelessness and $8.5 million to get the state’s Winter Olympics facilities ready to bid for the games again.

Surplus tax collections last year gave Utah lawmakers an extra $453 million to put toward the budget, along with $128 million for one-time projects like construction. That doesn’t include about $80 million extra the state is expected to collect because of the major overhaul of the nation’s tax code passed by Congress in December.

Lawmakers have one last budget meeting scheduled for late Wednesday afternoon and will cast final votes on the budget before adjourning at midnight Thursday.

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