Legislative Weekly Update Reports

The Utah State Legislative Session begins on Monday, January 25, 2016 and will run through Thursday, March 10, 2016. We hope you continue to check this site for updates and SLCC activities happening throughout the session. Check out links to weekly updates, useful information and resources.

Legislative Update Reports

The government links provided on this web page are not under the direct or indirect control of Salt Lake Community College, and are provided as a convenience to you. By clicking on any such hyperlink, you will be leaving the SLCC website.

2016 Legislative Update – Week 1

February 1st, 2016

Overview

The 2016 Session of the Utah State Legislature got underway Monday, January 25, and will conclude Thursday, March 10. It is anticipated there will be several bills with potential impact to the Utah System of Higher Education, all of which will be carefully tracked by the Commissioner’s Office and institutions.

2016-2017 Budget

According to the State’s consensus revenue estimates, the State has a slightly smaller budget surplus than last year. Revenue growth in the coming year is projected to result in $560 million in new funds:

New Total Revenue Available (Education and General Fund, in millions):

 

Ongoing

One-time

General Fund

$ -39

$ 67

Education Fund

$ 219

$ 313

TOTAL

$ 180 million

$ 380 million

An updated revenue estimate will be available in mid-February.

The Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee met twice this week, focusing on the existing base budget for higher education. Board membership is the same with the exception of one member from the House, Representative Derrin Owens, who replaced John Cox.

Commissioner Buhler gave introductory remarks providing the Utah context with national higher education trends, as well as an update from the past year. He highlighted various higher education partnerships including Utah Scholars, Concurrent Enrollment, Utah College Application Week, the new high School Feedback Report, and other efforts to make more data available online. Commissioner also highlighted the Board’s recent adoption of the 10-year strategic plan for Utah Higher Education, Utah: A State of Opportunity. Board Chair Dan Campbell and Vice-Chair France Davis also attended the subcommittee hearings.

Deneece Huftalin joined with other college and university presidents who gave overview presentations of their respective institutions.  The presidents provided context to the major issues in higher education.  Highlights from President Huftalin’s presentation include:

Salt Lake Community College

  • 60% of SLCC students successfully transfer to another university or college to continue their education (over 50% to the University of Utah).
  • 56% of all students are first-generation students.
  • SLCC’s open courseware initiative that has saved students over $1 million in course materials costs.

Legislation of Interest to USHE

HB 93, Organ Donor Amendments – Rep. Gage Froerer, requires USHE institutions to electronically notify students twice a year with a message advocating organ donation. USHE worked with the bill sponsors to clarify how institutions would communicate the message. The bill passed unanimously in the House Health and Human Services Committee and awaits further consideration by the House.

HB 171, Apprenticeship Authorization Act by Rep. Jacob Anderegg , creates a program where students can enter into apprenticeship training programs with a certified apprenticeship industry sponsor. This legislation creates a process by which interested industry may become certified to deliver accredited certificate programs in partnership with K-12 or USHE institutions. The bill was held by the House Business and Labor Committee and is expected to be discussed at the committee’s next scheduled hearing.

SB 47, College Credit for Public Safety Officers by Sen. Karen Mayne, This legislation would have required USHE institutions that have programs in Criminal Justice to accept a default 18 credits for any student who has completed the Peace Officer Standards and Training Division (POST). Sen. Mayne held the bill in the Senate Education Committee hearing, satisfied that the Commissioner’s Office and USHE institutions have addressed the concerns this legislation was attempting to address.

SCR 6, Concurrent Resolution Recognizing the 20th Anniversary of the Utah Educational Savings Plan by Sen. Evan Vickers expresses support from the Legislature and the Governor for the Utah Educational Savings Plan, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2016. The resolution passed unanimously in the Senate Education Committee and awaits further consideration by the Senate.

SJR 4, Proposal to Amend Utah Constitution – Education Funding by Sen. Jim Dabakis is a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would have removed all education funds from the USHE budget. USHE opposed the legislation and the Board of Regents formally took a position against the resolution at its January Board mtg. The resolution has been assigned to the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee. Senator Dabakis has assured the Commissioner that he supports new revenue to replace any cuts from education funds to higher education.

The Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee (HEA) met twice this week, focusing on the existing base budget for higher education as well as extensive discussion on career and technical education (CTE) at postsecondary institutions.

President Huftalin presented to the HEA about the distinctive mission of SLCC and how that mission compares to other applied technology colleges in Utah. She presented about the role concurrent enrollment plays in reaching high school students and creating pathways for allowing certificates to become the steps toward achieving associate degrees.

The Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee voted to adopt the Higher Education Base Budget without any cuts or reallocations, which was accepted by the Executive Appropriations Committee after a brief presentation by the subcommittee Chairs, Sen. Stephen Urquhart and Rep. Keith Grover on Friday.

The Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee will meet three more times next week to consider requests for new funding. Board of Regents Chair Dan Campbell and Commissioner Buhler will present the Board’s priorities for new funding on February 8. President Huftalin will present on how new funding would be used for employee compensation and health benefits, increasing the number of high schools participating in PACE, using Market Demand funding for the Aerospace Defense Funding Initiative, Custom Fit, IT Boot Camps, and Respiratory Therapy. SLCC would look to use Performance Funding for math initiatives, tutoring, and case management academic advising.

Capital Budget

Next week will also be an opportunity to present on SLCC’s request for funding of the Westpointe Center. The Infrastructure and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee will meet to hear state agencies and USHE building requests. President Huftalin will provide a presentation about the need to increase CTE training. She will describe SLCC’s efforts to work with industry and community partners to meet job training demands. Below is the Board of Regents ranking by importance to the system of the building requests.

SLCC – CTE Center at Westpointe
UVU – Performing Arts Center
WSU – Social Sciences Building Renovation
SUU – New Business Building
U of U – MED Complex
USU – Biological Sciences Building / DSU – Human Performance/Student Wellness Center (tie)

Key Legislation of Interest to USHE

HB 107, Early College High Schools by Rep. Val Peterson distinguishes an early college high school from a regular public school. Utah’s early college high schools operate in partnership with seven USHE institutions. The bill passed unanimously in the House Education Committee and awaits further consideration by the House.

HB 182, Concurrent Enrollment Amendments by Rep. Val Peterson, is a joint effort with the Utah State Office of Education to clarify the statute relating to concurrent enrollment. The legislation primarily combines and clarifies several sections of statute to better define the program, it creates a statewide participation form, and defines qualifications for teaching concurrent enrollment math courses. The bill passed unanimously in the House Education Committee and awaits further consideration by the House.

HB 254, Resident Student Tuition Amendments by Rep. Marie Poulson makes a technical change so that USHE institutions may grant resident tuition status to military service members and their immediate family members who may be assigned out of state who maintain domicile in Utah. The bill awaits a house committee hearing.

SB 103, Strategic Workforce Investments by Sen. Ann Millner creates an incentive fund for partnership initiatives with higher education institutions and employers to develop programs that have a defined set of stackable credentials. Initiatives must align to one or more of the state’s economic development clusters as defined by the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. Initiative funds will be appropriated under the direction of the Executive Appropriations Committee of the Legislature. The bill passed unanimously in the Senate Economic Development and Workforce Committee and awaits further consideration by the House.

SCR 6, Concurrent Resolution Recognizing the 20th Anniversary of the Utah Educational Savings Plan by Sen. Evan Vickers expresses support from the Legislature and the Governor for the Utah Educational Savings Plan, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2016. The resolution passed unanimously in the Senate Education Committee and is scheduled for further consideration by the Senate on Monday, February 7 at 11:30 AM.

SJR 4, Proposal to Amend Utah Constitution – Education Funding by Sen. Jim Dabakis is a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would have removed all education funds from the USHE budget. USHE opposed the legislation and the Board of Regents formally took a position against the resolution at its January Board mtg. The resolution has been assigned to the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee. Senator Dabakis has assured the Commissioner that he supports new revenue to replace any cuts from education funds to higher education.

Higher Education Budget

The Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee met for its final scheduled hearing this week, focusing on the Board of Regents’ budget priorities for USHE. The committee also considered other budget requests from other legislative sponsors.

The Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee ranked most of the Board of Regents’ top priorities—Compensation, Market Demand Programs, and Performance Funding—three of the Regents’ top four priorities. Unfortunately, USHE’s second priority—Access and Affordability—was not ranked by the committee. This priority is meant to help accommodate new students without relying more on tuition to pay the associated costs.

  1. 3% Compensation Increase $24,474,400
  2. 7.3% Health Insurance Premium Increase $7,859,200
  3. Market Demand Programs $10,000,000
  4. Performance Based Funding $15,000,000

These recommendations will be advanced to the Legislature’s Executive Appropriations Committee along with recommendations from the other nine appropriations subcommittee in the formulation of the state’s FY 2017 budget of new revenues. Further budget action is not expected until new revenue figures are announced on February 22.

Capital Development

The Infrastructure and General Government Committee also prioritized the state’s capital development requests including the following USHE priorities: (The number indicates where the project is in Committee ranking)

  • CTE Center at Westpointe – SLCC (2)
  • Business Building – SUU (4)
  • Biological Science Building – USU (5)
  • Social Science Building – WSU (6)
  • Performing Arts Center – UVU (7)
  • Medical Center – UU (8)
  • Human Performance/Wellness Ctr. – DSU (12)

Key Legislation of Interest to USHE

HB 107, Early College High Schools by Rep. Val Peterson distinguishes an early college high school from a regular public school. Utah’s early college high schools operate in partnership with seven USHE institutions. The bill passed unanimously in the House Education Committee and awaits further consideration by the House.

HB 182, Concurrent Enrollment Amendments by Rep. Val Peterson, is a joint effort with the Utah State Office of Education to clarify the statute relating to concurrent enrollment. The legislation primarily combines and clarifies several sections of statute to better define the program, it creates a statewide participation form, and defines qualifications for teaching concurrent enrollment math courses. The bill passed unanimously in the House Education Committee and awaits further consideration by the House.

HB 204, Capital Development and Capital Improvement Project Amendments by Rep. Brad Wilson increases the percentage of the replacement cost of existing state facilities and infrastructure to capital improvements that the Legislature has to appropriate from 1.1% to 1.5%. USHE receives approximately 2/3 of the funds appropriated to capital improvement each year for remodel and improvements to existing infrastructure. This bill awaits consideration by the House Business and Labor Committee.

HB 254, Resident Student Tuition Amendments by Rep. Marie Poulson makes a technical change so that USHE institutions may grant resident tuition status to military service members and their immediate family members who may be assigned out of state who maintain domicile in Utah. The bill awaits a house committee hearing.

HB 262, Campus Anti-Harassment Act by Rep. Kim Coleman defines discriminatory harassment and stipulates that an institution of higher education must take action against discriminatory harassment immediately after gaining actual knowledge of the act. An institution may not punish, as discriminatory harassment, student-on-student speech that does not constitute discriminatory harassment unless the speech is protected under the 1st amendment. USHE institutions and the Commissioner’s Office have raised concerns regarding the apparent conflicts with federal law and practical implementation, and are working with the sponsor for possible solutions. This bill awaits consideration by the House judiciary Committee.

SB 103, Strategic Workforce Investments by Sen. Ann Millner creates an incentive fund for partnership initiatives with higher education institutions and employers to develop programs that have a defined set of stackable credentials. Initiatives must align to one or more of the state’s economic development clusters as defined by the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. Initiative funds will be appropriated under the direction of the Executive Appropriations Committee of the Legislature. The bill passed unanimously in the Senate Economic Development and Workforce Committee and awaits further consideration by the House.

SB 139, Board of Education Approval Amendments by Sen Howard Stephenson This directs the State Board of Ed to designate an employee to engage in monitoring and other conduct related to teacher preparation programs at USHE institutions. It is anticipated the bill will be amended to ensure active involvement of Deans of Education at USHE institutions. The bill passed unanimously in the Senate Education Committee and awaits further consideration by the House.

SB 152, Accelerated Foreign Language Course Amendments by Sen. Howard Stephenson requires the University of Utah to develop concurrent enrollment courses for accelerated foreign language students; and provides certain exceptions for an upper level foreign language course to qualify for concurrent enrollment funding. This bill awaits consideration by the Education Committee.

SCR 6, Concurrent Resolution Recognizing the 20th Anniversary of the Utah Educational Savings Plan by Sen. Evan Vickers expresses support from the Legislature and the Governor for the Utah Educational Savings Plan, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2016. The resolution passed unanimously in the Senate Education Committee and is scheduled for further consideration by the Senate on Monday, February 7 at 11:30 AM.

SJR 4, Proposal to Amend Utah Constitution – Education Funding by Sen. Jim Dabakis is a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would have removed all education funds from the USHE budget. USHE opposed the legislation and the Board of Regents formally took a position against the resolution at its January Board mtg. The resolution has been assigned to the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee. Senator Dabakis has assured the Commissioner that he supports new revenue to replace any cuts from education funds to higher education.

Higher Education Day on the Hill

Members of the Board of Trustees, President Huftalin, and student leaders from SLCC joined colleagues from the other Utah System of Higher Education institutions on Friday, Feb 19 for the annual higher education luncheon in the Capitol Rotunda. Attended by over 75 legislators, including members of legislative leadership, it was a good opportunity to re-emphasize SLCC’s budget priorities and the need for an enhanced presence at the Westpointe Center.

The Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee

The Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee Chairs presented the subcommittee’s priorities to the Executive Appropriations Committee on Thursday. In his remarks, Senator Urquhart, Co-Chair, commented, “We should increase our commitment to higher ed. We get a lot of bang for those bucks. We have great managers but they’re simply not getting enough state appropriation to make ends meet.”

Final 2016-17 budget revenue projections are expected to be announced next week. Further budget action will be taken by Executive Appropriations Committee in the final weeks of the legislative session.

Legislation of Interest to SLCC

HB 93, Organ Donor Amendments by Rep. Gage Froerer, requires USHE institutions to electronically notify students twice a year advocating organ donation. USHE worked with Rep. Froerer clarifying how institutions could communicate to students. The bill passed the Senate Education Committee and awaits further consideration by the full Senate.

HB 182, Concurrent Enrollment Amendments by Rep. Val Peterson, is a joint effort with the Utah State Office of Education to clarify the statute relating to concurrent enrollment. The legislation primarily combines and clarifies several sections of statute to better define the program, it creates a statewide participation form, and defines qualifications for teaching concurrent enrollment math courses. The bill passed unanimously in the Senate Education Committee and awaits further consideration by the full Senate.

HB 262, Campus Anti-Harassment Act by Rep. Kim Coleman defines discriminatory harassment and stipulates that an institution of higher education must take action against discriminatory harassment immediately after gaining actual knowledge of the act. USHE institutions, the Commissioner’s Office, and the Attorney General’s office have serious concerns regarding the bill’s legality, the potential confusion it will cause, the increased legal liability and increased costs associated with implementation. The Commissioner’s Office is working with the sponsor for possible solutions. This bill awaits consideration by the House judiciary Committee.

HB 337, Student Right to Active Counsel by Rep. Kim Coleman requires notification of right of counsel for all disciplinary meetings between a student and individual from a higher ed institution, including informal meetings with an instructor. Serious concerns exist regarding the increased staffing costs and increase in litigation due to the several types of damages a court may award. The Commissioner’s office and legal counsel from several institutions plan to meet with Rep. Coleman this week to explore possible solutions. The bill awaits consideration by the House Judiciary Committee.

HB 353, Institutions of Higher Education Disclosure Provisions by Rep. Kim Coleman requires institutions of higher education to disclose information including rates of completion, job placement, wage earnings for each academic program. It also requires notification and acknowledgement of all students as they enroll. A substitute bill is anticipated that would remove the individual notification requirement and leverages the current data available at higheredutah.org for use in the course catalogs of USHE institutions.

HB 357, Longitudinal Data Management Act by Rep. Jacob Anderegg would remove current funding from USHE and the other members of the Utah Data Alliance (USOE, UEN, UCAT) to create the Utah Data Commission. Passage of this legislation would eliminate the resources to provide longitudinal data efforts such as the High School Feedback Report, Wage Information by Field of Study, Where USHE Graduates are Employed, and Remedial Math reports. The Commissioner’s Office is working with Rep. Anderegg on possible substitute language. The bill awaits assignment to a House committee.

HB 379, Interstate Reciprocity Agreement for Postsecondary Distance Education by Rep. Val Peterson authorizes the State Board of Regents to execute an interstate reciprocity agreement on behalf of higher education institutions in Utah regarding postsecondary distance education courses and programs. This would enable Utah to become an approved state by the National Council on State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements, of which 35 states are already members. This voluntary multi-state consortium expands access to distance education courses, establishes national standards of quality and reduces overall costs to higher ed institutions in administering online programs outside the state. This bill awaits committee consideration in the House.

SB 188, Higher Education Capital Facilities by Sen. Stephen Urquhart creates the Higher Education Capital Facilities Account to fund higher education buildings. The bill defines how funds will be accrued in the account and how they will be distributed to USHE institutions in association with their rankings in Performance Funding each year. The bill also defines the role of the Board of Regents in approving USHE capital development projects.  The bill awaits consideration by a Senate Standing Committee.

2016-2017 Budget

With revised revenue projections announced last week, significant budget decisions continue to loom before a final budget takes shape. There is still a lot of work on the budget as well as several bills that continue their march through the legislative process.

 

Key Legislation

HB 182, Concurrent Enrollment Amendments by Rep. Val Peterson, is a joint effort with the Utah State Office of Education to clarify the statute relating to concurrent enrollment. The legislation primarily combines and clarifies several sections of statute to better define the program, it creates a statewide participation form, and defines qualifications for teaching concurrent enrollment math courses. The bill passed both the House and Senate, and awaits the Governor’s signature.

HB 216, Utah Educational Savings Plan Amendments by Rep. Stewart Barlow. This bill amends the Utah Uniform Probate Code so that custodial property is created and a transfer is made when contributions are made into a custodial account at the Utah Educational Savings Plan. This unanimously passed the Senate Education Committee and awaits consideration by the Senate.

HB 262, Campus Anti-Harassment Act by Rep. Kim Coleman defines discriminatory harassment and stipulates that an institution of higher education must take action against discriminatory harassment immediately after gaining knowledge of the act. USHE institutions, the Commissioner’s Office, and the Attorney General’s office have serious concerns regarding the bill’s legality, the increased legal liability and increased costs of implementation. The bill was considered by the House Judiciary Committee but no action was taken.

HB 337 1st Sub., Student Right to Active Counsel by Rep. Kim Coleman requires notification of right of counsel for all disciplinary meetings between a student and individual from a higher ed institution. Serious concerns exist regarding the increased staffing costs and increase in litigation due to the several types of damages a court may award. Legal counsel from several institutions met with Rep. Coleman to explore possible solutions. The bill was considered by the House Judiciary Committee but no action was taken.

HB 353, Institutions of Higher Education Disclosure Provisions by Rep. Kim Coleman requires institutions of higher education to disclose information including rates of completion, job placement, wage earnings for each academic program. It also requires notification and acknowledgement of all students as they enroll. A substitute bill is anticipated that would remove the individual notification requirement and leverages the current data available at higheredutah.org for use in the course catalogs of USHE institutions.

HB 365, Campus Free Expression Act by Rep. Kim Coleman creates requirements for USHE institutions related to free speech activity. The legislation replicates best practices regarding free-speech already in place at USHE institutions, but adds a private right of action that would add unnecessary administrative and litigation costs. The bill was scheduled for consideration by the House Judiciary and may be considered at a future committee.

HB357, Longitudinal Data Management Act by Rep. Jacob Anderegg would remove current funding from USHE and the other members of the Utah Data Alliance (USOE, UEN, UCAT) to create the Utah Data Commission. Passage of this legislation would eliminate the resources to provide longitudinal data efforts such as the High School Feedback Report, Wage Information by Field of Study, Where USHE Graduates are Employed, and Remedial Math reports. The Commissioner’s Office is working with Rep. Anderegg on possible substitute language. The bill awaits assignment to a House committee.

HB379, Interstate Reciprocity Agreement for Postsecondary Distance Education by Rep. Val Peterson authorizes the State Board of Regents to execute an interstate reciprocity agreement on behalf of higher education institutions in Utah. This would enable Utah to become an approved state by the National Council on State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements, of which 37 states are already members. This voluntary consortium expands access to distance education courses, establishes national standards of quality and reduces overall costs to administering online programs outside the state. This bill awaits consideration by the House Education Committee.

HB 410, Military Tuition Waiver Amendments by Rep. Curt Oda authorizes the use of partial tuition waivers. This allows for more efficient allocation of available tuition waivers. In particular, this will assist eligible military to receive partial tuition waivers to supplement other available federal aid options from the state and federal government. The bill awaits consideration by a House Standing Committee.

SB 166, Utah Science, Technology and Research Modification by Sen. Ann Millner rewrites provisions relating to USTAR, its governing authority and funding, modifies powers and duties of governing authority, reporting requirements, researchers, and USTAR buildings, provisions related to audit of USTAR report, repeals provisions relating to technology outreach innovation program. This bill was passed unanimously by Senate Education Committee and awaits further consideration by the Senate.

SB 188, Higher Education Capital Facilities by Sen. Stephen Urquhart creates the Higher Education Capital Facilities Account to fund higher education buildings. The bill defines how funds will accrue and how they will be distributed to USHE institutions in association with Performance Funding each year. The bill also defines the role of the Board of Regents in approving USHE capital development projects.  A substitute bill is expected to be considered by the Senate Standing Committee on February 29, this week.

SB 204, Free Market Protection and Privatization Board Act Amendments by Sen. Howard Stephenson places higher education institutions under the review authority of the board despite the existing oversight performed by the Board of Regents relating to free market activities of higher education institutions. The bill was passed favorably by the Senate Government Operations and Political Subdivisions Committee

2016-2017 Budget

The Executive Appropriations Committee approved its first round of funding items on Friday evening. For higher education, initial items include the state-funded portion of a 2% merit increase in compensation (plus funding for increases in health benefits), $5 million ongoing for market demand programs, $5 million in one-time funds for performance funding, and $8.8 million in one-time funds for the Regents’ Scholarship – enough for a full award for this year’s projected recipients. Access and Affordability was not funded by the Legislature.

2016-2017 Capital Development

Four of the Regents’ capital development priorities were approved: the CTE Center at Westpointe (SLCC), the New Business Building (SUU), the Performing Arts Center (UVU), and the Biological Sciences Buildings (USU). Funding for the buildings at UVU and USU will be phased in over two years. Finally, $4 million was approved for the Science Building at Snow College due to cost adjustments from the state’s Division of Facilities and Construction Management. Efforts continue this week as the budget gets finalized and bills continue their march to the end of the Legislative Session at midnight Thursday, March 10, 2016.  Recent news on the budget is available from the Salt Lake Tribune.

Key Legislation

HB 216, Utah Educational Savings Plan Amendments by Rep. Stewart Barlow. This bill amends the Utah Uniform Probate Code so that custodial property is created and a transfer is made when contributions are made into a custodial account at the Utah Educational Savings Plan. This unanimously passed the House and Senate and awaits the Governor’s signature.

HB 254, Resident Student Tuition Amendments by Rep. Marie Poulson makes a technical change so that USHE institutions may grant resident tuition status to military service members and their immediate family members who may be assigned out of state who maintain domicile in Utah. The bill received unanimous support by the Senate and now awaits the Governor’s signature for enrolling.

HB 262, Campus Anti-Harassment Act by Rep. Kim Coleman defines discriminatory harassment and stipulates that an institution of higher education must take action against discriminatory harassment immediately after gaining knowledge of the act. USHE institutions, the Commissioner’s Office, and the Attorney General’s office have concerns regarding the bill’s legality, the increased legal liability and increased costs of implementation. The bill was initially considered by the House Judiciary Committee, it is not expected to pass but will likely be further discussed in the interim.

HB 337 1st Sub., Student Right to Active Counsel by Rep. Kim Coleman requires notification of right of counsel for all disciplinary meetings between a student and individual from a higher ed institution. Serious concerns exist regarding the increased staffing costs and increase in litigation due to the several types of damages a court may award. Legal counsel from several institutions met with Rep. Coleman to explore possible solutions. The bill was initially considered by the House Judiciary Committee but is scheduled for further committee consideration this week.

HB 353, Institutions of Higher Education Disclosure Provisions by Rep. Kim Coleman requires institutions of higher education to disclose information including rates of completion, job placement, and wage earnings for each academic program. It also requires notification and acknowledgement of all students as they enroll. A substitute bill is anticipated that would leverage the current data available at higheredutah.org for use in the course catalogs of USHE institutions.

HB 365, Campus Free Expression Act by Rep. Kim Coleman creates requirements for USHE institutions related to free speech activity. The legislation replicates best practices regarding free-speech already in place at USHE institutions, but adds a private right of action that would add unnecessary administrative and litigation costs. The bill was initially scheduled for consideration by the House Judiciary, it is not expected to pass but will likely be discussed during the interim.

HB379, Interstate Reciprocity Agreement for Postsecondary Distance Education by Rep. Val Peterson authorizes the State Board of Regents to execute an interstate reciprocity agreement on behalf of higher education institutions in Utah. This would enable Utah to become an approved state by the National Council on State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements, of which 37 states are already members. This voluntary consortium expands access to distance education courses, establishes standards of quality and reduces overall costs to administering online programs outside the state. This bill passed the House and awaits consideration by the Senate Education Committee.

HB 410, Military Tuition Waiver Amendments by Rep. Curt Oda authorizes the use of partial tuition waivers. This allows for more efficient allocation of available tuition waivers. In particular, this will assist eligible military to receive partial tuition waivers to supplement other available federal aid options from the state and federal government. The bill passed the House unanimously and awaits consideration by the Senate Education Committee.

HB 432 1st Sub., Government Nonprofit Entity Compliance Amendments by Rep. Kim Coleman provides that governmental nonprofit entities would be subject to the Open and Public Meetings Act, the Government Records Access and Management Act, and the Accounting Reports. USHE institutions have several nonprofit private-public partnerships that would unduly be subject to these requirements. The bill was sent to the House Rules Committee upon vote of the House Revenue and Taxation Committee.

SB 166, Utah Science, Technology and Research Modification by Sen. Ann Millner rewrites provisions relating to USTAR, its governing authority and funding, modifies powers and duties of governing authority, reporting requirements, researchers, and USTAR buildings, provisions related to audit of USTAR report, repeals provisions relating to technology outreach innovation program. This bill was passed unanimously by the House Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee and awaits further consideration by the House.

SB 188 1st Sub., Higher Education Capital Facilities by Sen. Stephen Urquhart creates the Higher Education Capital Facilities Account to fund higher education buildings. The bill defines how funds will accrue and how they will be distributed to USHE institutions in association with Performance Funding. The bill defines the role of the Board of Regents in approving USHE capital development projects.  A second substitute bill is expected to be considered by the Senate this week.

SB 204, Free Market Protection and Privatization Board Act Amendments by Sen. Howard Stephenson places higher education institutions under review authority of the board despite existing oversight performed by the Board of Regents relating to free market activities of USHE institutions. The bill was passed favorably by the Senate and awaits consideration by the House.

Budget:

The 2016 Legislature adjourned on March 10, 2016, and after all the dust settled, the Utah System of Higher Education received an overall 5.3% budget increase (including ongoing and one-time increases). The most significant of these increases is 2% compensation increase, similar to that of state employees. Other legislative appropriations towards the budget priorities adopted by the Board of Regents include $5 million (one-time) for performance funding, $5 million (ongoing) for market demand programs, and $8.8 million for growth in the Regents’ Scholarship. Other notable appropriations include:

  • $1.5 million for a partnership with the University of Utah and Dixie State University to develop a Physician’s Assistant program at Dixie State University.
  • $950,000 for the Utah Water Research Laboratory at Utah State University.
  • $300,000 for development of accelerated foreign language courses for dual immersion programs in K-12.
  • $1.2 million for the Huntsman Cancer Institute.
  • $200,000 for general education services from SLCC to the inmates at the Utah Prison.


Capital Development:

USHE received funding for four building projects:

  • SLCC – CTE Center at Westpointe ($42,590,500)
  • SUU – New Business Building ($8,000,000)
  • USU – Biological Sciences Buildings ($38,000,000, 2-year phased funding)
  • UVU – Performing Arts Building ($32,000,000, 2-year phased funding)

In addition, several projects received approval to be funded through future revenues (bonding authority):

  • UU – Eccles School of Business Executive Education Building
  • USU – Student Apartment Building Complex Purchase
  • USU – Space Dynamics Lab
  • Finally, the University of Utah (Medical Education and Discovery Building and Hospital) and Weber State University (Social Science Building) received approval to perform planning and design of buildings with donations/institutional funds.

Legislation:

We monitored over 90 pieces of legislation pertaining to higher education.  Below is a general summary of bills and final status:

Legislation Passed And Awaits The Signature Of The Governor:

HB 93, Organ Donor Amendments by Rep. Gage Froerer, requires USHE institutions to electronically notify students twice a year advocating organ donation. USHE worked with Rep. Froerer clarifying how institutions could communicate to students.

HB 182, Concurrent Enrollment Amendments by Rep. Val Peterson, is a joint effort with the Utah State Office of Education to clarify statute relating to concurrent enrollment. The legislation primarily combines and clarifies several sections of statute to better define the program, it creates a statewide participation form, and defines teacher qualifications for concurrent enrollment math courses.

HB 216, Utah Educational Savings Plan Amendments by Rep. Stewart Barlow. This bill amends the Utah Uniform Probate Code so custodial property is created and a transfer is made when contributions are made into a custodial account at the Utah Educational Savings Plan.

HB 254 1st Sub., Resident Student Tuition Amendments by Rep. Marie Poulson makes a technical change so USHE institutions may grant resident tuition status to military service members and their immediate family members who may be assigned out of state but still maintain domicile in Utah.

HB379, Interstate Reciprocity Agreement for Postsecondary Distance Education by Rep. Val Peterson authorizes USHE to execute an agreement on behalf of higher education, enabling Utah to join the National Council on State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements, of which 37 states are members. This voluntary consortium expands access to distance education courses, establishes standards of quality and reduces overall costs to administering online programs outside the state.

SB 103 1st Sub., Strategic Workforce Investments by Sen. Ann Millner creates an incentive fund for partnership initiatives with higher education institutions and employers to develop programs that have a defined set of stackable credentials. Initiatives must align to one or more of the state’s economic development clusters as defined by the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. Initiative funds were appropriated under the direction of the Executive Appropriations Committee of the Legislature.

SB 139 1st Sub., Board of Education Approval Amendments by Sen. Howard Stephenson directs the State Board of Ed to designate an employee to engage in monitoring and other conduct related to teacher preparation programs at USHE institutions.

SB 152, Accelerated Foreign Language Course Amendments by Sen. Howard Stephenson requires the University of Utah to develop concurrent enrollment courses for accelerated foreign language students; and provides certain exceptions for an upper level foreign language course to qualify for concurrent enrollment funding.

SB156 1st Sub., State Facilities Amendments by Sen Wayne Harper clarifies the role and process of the state Division of Facilities and Construction Management in relation to executive branch and higher education building projects. The bill requires the State Building Board to weight higher education building requests according to the prioritization of the Board of Regents. Finally, it requires the Board of Regents to do a study by November 2016 to determine the amount or percentage of money received from research and development activities that should be spent on operations and maintenance costs of higher education buildings.

SB 166, Utah Science, Technology and Research Modification by Sen. Ann Millner rewrites provisions relating to USTAR, its governing authority and funding, modifies powers and duties of governing authority, reporting requirements, researchers, and USTAR buildings, provisions related to audit of USTAR report, repeals provisions relating to technology outreach innovation program.

SB 204, Free Market Protection and Privatization Board Act Amendments by Sen. Howard Stephenson places higher education institutions under review authority of the board despite existing oversight performed by the Board of Regents relating to free market activities of USHE institutions.

SCR 6, Concurrent Resolution Recognizing the 20th Anniversary of the Utah Educational Savings Plan by Sen. Evan Vickers expresses support from the Legislature and the Governor for the Utah Educational Savings Plan, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2016.

Legislation That Did Not Pass:

HB 262, Campus Anti-Harassment Act by Rep. Kim Coleman defines discriminatory harassment and stipulates an institution of higher education must take action against discriminatory harassment immediately after gaining knowledge of the act. USHE institutions, the Commissioner’s Office, and the Attorney General’s office have concerns regarding the bill’s legality, the increased legal liability and increased costs of implementation. The bill was held in the House Judiciary Committee.  This issue is expected to be discussed in the interim.

HB 337 1st Sub., Student Right to Active Counsel by Rep. Kim Coleman requires notification of right of counsel for disciplinary meetings between a student and individual from a higher ed institution. Serious concerns exist regarding the increased staffing costs and increase in litigation due to the several types of damages a court may award. Legal counsel from several institutions met with Rep. Coleman to explore possible solutions. The bill failed in the Senate after a floor amendment was made to narrow the impact of the bill.

HB 353, Institutions of Higher Education Disclosure Provisions by Rep. Kim Coleman requires institutions of higher education to disclose information including rates of completion, job placement, and wage earnings for each academic program. It also requires notification and acknowledgement of all students as they enroll. The bill was held by the House Education committee.

HB 365, Campus Free Expression Act by Rep. Kim Coleman creates requirements for USHE institutions related to free speech activity. The legislation replicates best practices regarding free-speech already in place at USHE institutions, but adds a private right of action that would add unnecessary administrative and litigation costs. The bill was held by the House Judiciary committee.  This issue is expected to be discussed in the interim.

HB357, Longitudinal Data Management Act by Rep. Jacob Anderegg would remove current funding from USHE and the other members of the Utah Data Alliance (USOE, UEN, UCAT) to create the Utah Data Commission. Passage of this legislation would have eliminated the resources to provide longitudinal data efforts such as the High School Feedback Report, Wage Information by Field of Study, Where USHE Graduates are Employed, and Remedial Math reports. The Commissioner’s Office worked with Rep. Anderegg on possible substitute language.  The bill was held by the House Education Committee.

HB 410, Military Tuition Waiver Amendments by Rep. Curt Oda authorizes the use of partial tuition waivers. This allows for more efficient allocation of available tuition waivers. In particular, this will assist eligible military to receive partial tuition waivers to supplement other available federal aid options from the state and federal government. The bill passed the House unanimously but was not prioritized by the Senate in the final hours of the Session.

HB 432 1st Sub., Government Nonprofit Entity Compliance Amendments by Rep. Kim Coleman provides that governmental nonprofit entities would be subject to the Open and Public Meetings Act, the Government Records Access and Management Act, and the Accounting Reports. USHE institutions have several nonprofit private-public partnerships that would unduly be subject to these requirements. The bill was held by the House Revenue and Taxation Committee.

SB 47, College Credit for Public Safety Officers by Sen. Karen Mayne, This legislation would have required USHE institutions that have programs in Criminal Justice to accept a default 18 credits for any student who has completed the Peace Officer Standards and Training Division (POST). Sen. Mayne held the bill in the Senate Education Committee hearing, satisfied that the Commissioner’s Office and USHE institutions have addressed the concerns this legislation was attempting to address.

SB 188 4th Sub., Higher Education Capital Facilities by Sen. Stephen Urquhart creates the Higher Education Capital Facilities Account to fund higher education buildings. The bill defines how funds will accrue and how they will be distributed to USHE institutions in association with Performance Funding. The bill defines the role of the Board of Regents in approving USHE capital development projects.  The bill was held in the House Political Subdivisions committee and further study is expected in the interim.

SJR 4, Proposal to Amend Utah Constitution – Education Funding by Sen. Jim Dabakis is a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would have removed all education funds from the USHE budget. USHE opposed the legislation and the Board of Regents formally took a position against the resolution at its January Board mtg. Senator Dabakis assured the Commissioner that he supports new revenue to replace any cuts from education funds to higher education. The resolution failed in the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee.

SLCC Legislative Presentations