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Bill to Turn Off Water to Utah NSA Facility Clears Important Political Hurdle

SALT LAKE CITY – A bill that would prohibit the state of Utah from providing material support or resources to the NSA cleared an important political hurdle last week.

On Jan. 26, the Utah Office of the Legislative Fiscal Analyst released a fiscal note finding no financial impact if the legislature passes a bill that would deny critical resources – like water – to the massive NSA data center in Bluffdale.

House Bill 150 (HB150), introduced by Rep. Marc Roberts, would require that the water being supplied to the NSA’s data center in Bluffdale be shut off as soon as the city’s $3 million bond is paid off.

The analyst determined that passage of the bill would not likely impact state revenues, nor would it require any state expenditure.  The analyst also found passage of HB150 would not result in direct measurable costs to local governments.

According to the LFA, “fiscal notes estimate the direct costs or revenues of enacting a bill, and legislature uses them to balance the budget. “ The fact that the analyst found the bill would essentially have zero effect on state or local government budgets represents good news for supporters of HB150.

Opponents of a bill often use a bad fiscal note to kill it without even debating the legislation’s merits. This fiscal note will pose no such problem. With the analyst finding zero fiscal impact, opponents of HB150 will not be able to make financial arguments to kill the bill.

While some might see this as unimportant, in a hyper-politicized climate such as a state legislature, this signifies that a difficult roadblock to passage has already been moved out of the way.

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