Chief Sponsor: Timothy D. Hawkes

Senate Sponsor: Todd Weiler


8     General Description:
9          This bill enacts language related to the Office of the Property Rights Ombudsman.
10     Highlighted Provisions:
11          This bill:
12          ▸     prohibits the Office of the Property Rights Ombudsman from representing a person
13     in a legal action;
14          ▸     provides that an action by the Office of the Property Rights Ombudsman or its
15     associates does not create an attorney-client privilege; and
16          ▸     makes technical and conforming amendments.
17     Money Appropriated in this Bill:
18          None
19     Other Special Clauses:
20          None
21     Utah Code Sections Affected:
22     AMENDS:
23          13-43-203, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2013, Chapter 327

25     Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
26          Section 1. Section 13-43-203 is amended to read:
27          13-43-203. Office of the Property Rights Ombudsman -- Duties.
28          (1) (a) The Office of the Property Rights Ombudsman shall:
29          (i) develop and maintain expertise in and understanding of takings, eminent domain,

30     and land use law;
31          (ii) clearly identify the specific information that is prepared for distribution to property
32     owners whose land is being acquired under the provisions of Section 78B-6-505;
33          (iii) assist state agencies and local governments in developing the guidelines required
34     by Title 63L, Chapter 4, Constitutional Taking Issues Act;
35          (iv) at the request of a state agency or local government, assist the state agency or local
36     government, in analyzing actions with potential takings implications or other land use issues;
37          (v) advise real property owners who:
38          (A) have a legitimate potential or actual takings claim against a state or local
39     government entity or have questions about takings, eminent domain, and land use law; or
40          (B) own a parcel of property that is landlocked, as to the owner's rights and options
41     with respect to obtaining access to a public street;
42          (vi) identify state or local government actions that have potential takings implications
43     and, if appropriate, advise those state or local government entities about those implications;
44     and
45          (vii) provide information to private citizens, civic groups, government entities, and
46     other interested parties about takings, eminent domain, and land use law and their rights,
47     including a right to just compensation, and responsibilities under the takings, eminent domain,
48     or land use laws through seminars and publications, and by other appropriate means.
49          (b) The Office of the Property Rights Ombudsman shall:
50          (i) provide the information described in Section 78B-6-505 on its website in a form
51     that is easily accessible; and
52          (ii) ensure that the information is current.
53          (2) [The] (a) Neither the Office of the Property Rights Ombudsman [may not] nor its
54     individual attorneys may represent private [property owners] parties, state agencies, [or] local
55     governments [in court or in adjudicative proceedings under Title 63G, Chapter 4,
56     Administrative Procedures Act], or any other individual or entity in a legal action that arises
57     from or relates to a matter addressed in this chapter.

58          (b) An action by an attorney employed by the Office of the Property Rights
59     Ombudsman, by a neutral third party acting as mediator or arbitrator under Section 13-43-204,
60     or by a neutral third party rendering an advisory opinion under Section 13-43-205 or
61     13-43-206, taken within the scope of the duties set forth in this chapter, does not create an
62     attorney-client relationship between the Office of the Property Rights Ombudsman, or the
63     office's attorneys or appointees, and an individual or entity.
64          (3) No member of the Office of the Property Rights Ombudsman nor a neutral third
65     party rendering an advisory opinion under Section 13-43-205 or 13-43-206, may be compelled
66     to testify in a civil action filed concerning the subject matter of any review, mediation, or
67     arbitration by, or arranged through, the office.
68          (4) (a) Except as provided in Subsection (4)(b), evidence of a review by the Office of
69     the Property Rights Ombudsman and the opinions, writings, findings, and determinations of the
70     Office of the Property Rights Ombudsman are not admissible as evidence in a judicial action.
71          (b) Subsection (4)(a) does not apply to:
72          (i) actions brought under authority of Title 78A, Chapter 8, Small Claims Courts;
73          (ii) a judicial confirmation or review of the arbitration itself as authorized in Title 78B,
74     Chapter 11, Utah Uniform Arbitration Act;
75          (iii) actions for de novo review of an arbitration award or issue brought under the
76     authority of Subsection 13-43-204(3)(a)(i); or
77          (iv) advisory opinions provided for in Sections 13-43-205 and 13-43-206.