Utah House Barely Passes HB 450 (Maybe)–UPDATED

By Eric Goldman

The Utah legislature is continuing its embarrassing third attempt to regulate keyword advertising. Today, after making a ticky-tack amendment, the Utah House passed HB 450 and sent the bill to the Senate. However, the House was sharply divided, voting 38-36-1 to pass it. The law barely made it through due to the fierce last-minute lobbying efforts of 1-800 Contacts; Kate Kaye catches us up on some of 1-800 Contacts’ maneuverings.

It’s not clear if the Senate will approve the law; or if it will even act on the law before the legislature recesses on March 12. It’s also possible that the governor would veto the law. However, for now, it is clear that the Utah legislature is still working hard to retain its status as the reigning jesters of Internet regulators.

UPDATE (12:30 Pacific): Perhaps I should have known better than to rely on the Utah legislative website. I got the following email from a tipster:

“So the bill passed by one vote but one rep realized she voted the wrong way….So she’s putting a hold on it and they’re going to try to reconsider the action, basically revote the thing, today or Monday.”

WHAT??? I realize that mistakes can happen, but I would think that legislators would work really, really hard to vote the right way on bills. After all, isn’t that the single most important thing we pay legislators to do? In light of this apparently crucial flub, it seems like the last line of my initial post was even more apropos than I realized.

UPDATE 2: Kate Kaye provides an update.

UPDATE 3 (6 pm Pacific): My latest understanding is that the misvoting representative lifted her hold, and the bill will move to the Senate.