Executive Director’s Message

April 5, 2022

Commerce’s Quarterly Town Hall Meeting

Thank you to all who attended the Commerce town hall with Executive Director Busse on Tuesday, March 22. As part of Commerce’s mission to foster greater trust with our community, we hope everyone will attend these meetings each quarter. If you weren’t able to attend, plan to be present at our next quarterly town hall meeting on June 28. You should have an invite already set up in your calendar. 

Kicking off our meeting was our division spotlight from the Office of Property Rights Ombudsman (OPRO) division director, Jordan Cullimore. OPRO is a neutral state agency that provides education and dispute resolution services in two primary areas: 

  • Land use and development
  • Eminent Domain

Our OPRO team is also busy mediating, training, and talking with local government officials, property owners, and developers, helping them better understand their rights and responsibilities. You can read more about OPRO on their newly designed website, propertyrights.utah.gov.

Highlights from the legislative session were detailed by our Deputy Director Jacob Hart. Topics covered were: Commerce sponsored bills, funding received to our department, and general legislation that will affect our department.

Commerce Legislative Priorities:

SB 16– Creates a system for ongoing licensing review and a new office within The Department of Commerce

SB 26– Makes revisions to the Business Opportunity Disclosure Act for Consumer Protection

SB 43– Makes revisions to DOPL statutes based on Executive Order 1 – including a name change to DOPL 

HB 69– Makes revisions to DRE statutes based on Executive Order 1

Restoration Funding  

  • the legislature restored nearly 5% of the budget cut from the department in 2020
  • Commerce was funded for volume-based increases to meet electronic payment fees

Technology Funding

  • department-wide technological improvements to the licensing system
  • funded replacement of OSBR in the Division of Corps
  • funded tech improvements for the Division of Securities STRESS system

Securities and Corporations fees

  • over $5 million in reductions in fees to reduce overcollection/ misappropriation
  • New positions for education and enforcement at Securities to combat affinity fraud and Ponzi schemes

Funding received for new positions

  • Consumer Protection Investigator
  • DOPL Investigator
  • Training Position at OPRO
  • Office of Professional Licensure Review (4 job positions)

General Legislation affecting Commerce:

HB 243 – Eliminates the Commerce fintech sandbox program (consolidates into statewide sandbox)

SB 148 – Provides for DOPL to create and maintain a new tool/ database of licensed contractors

SB 227- Creates a new role for the Division of Consumer Protection in social media disclosures which include public rights to data collection

HB 104 – Human resources backed a bill that will allow anyone with a supervisory role to opt into Schedule AX. We will have more details in the future as this rolls out. 

Sound off

What did Commerce employees vote as the technology that would help make your job at Commerce run more efficiently?

Commerce’s Strategic Direction was presented by Assistant Deputy Director, Carolynn Dennis during the last portion of the town hall meeting. Assistant Deputy Director Dennis described our strategic direction as a map that allows us to understand the journey of achieving the agency’s mission and vision, noting that it is a tool we can use in our everyday work.

#1 – Ensure management and system infrastructure are up-to-date and prepared to meet the challenges of continued economic growth by

  • Enhancing user experience
  • Improving the quality of processes
  • Refining management practices and systems
  • Building a proactive and strategic communication strategy

#2 -Ensure regulation, enforcement, and education activities are effective, efficient, and relevant in a constantly changing and growing economy.

  • “Moving the needle” on scams and fraudulent behavior
  • Review regulation to reduce unnecessary burdens and increase relevancy 
  • Ensuring fair treatment of licensees
  • Upgrading the regulatory framework to enable the workforce of the future

Lastly, Commerce’s newsletter – Inside Commerce was opened up for feedback. What did employees of Commerce want to see more of? Here are some of the responses:

Additional feedback and suggestions are welcome. Email zwhitney@utah.gov with additional ideas of what you’d like to see discussed in town hall meetings, or what you’d like to see in the newsletter. 

Attending our quarterly Commerce town hall meetings ensures that everyone stays informed about what’s going on in the department and gives each employee the chance to participate in important decisions. We look forward to our next town hall meeting in June.