Legislative Weekly Update Reports

The Utah State Legislative Session begins on Monday, January 22, 2018 and will run through Thursday, March 8, 2018. 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.

The 45-day 2018 Legislative Session commenced on Monday, January 22, 2018. With over 1,200 legislative bills filled, several are expected to impact Utah’s public colleges and universities. The early weeks of the session focus on the budget and capital development priorities; however, several pieces of legislation are up for consideration.

2018-19 Budget

According to the State’s consensus revenue estimates, the State has slightly more new ongoing revenue projected than last year, as well as some “one-time” budget surplus. Revenue growth in the coming year is projected to result in $267 million in new funds:

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

ONGOING ONE-TIME

  • General Fund $108m $43m
  • Education Fund $274m $59m
  • Pre-session Adjustments $-90m $-89m
  • Total New Available $382m $12m
  • Updated revenue estimates will be available in mid-February.

Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee

The Higher Education Appropriation Subcommittee (HEAS) met twice focusing on the existing base budget for higher education. Commissioner Buhler provided information to the committee on the financial well-being of public higher education in Utah, including an overview of costs, efficiency trends, tuition levels compared to the rest of the country, and the economic ROI postsecondary education provides both the state and student. The Commissioner also reviewed the Board of Regents’ year-1 implementation of SB 238, Higher Education Governance Revisions ratified in the 2017 legislative session (slides and audio available online). Presentation highlights include:

  • The average cost per completer has increased only 0.3% since 2008, lagging average CPI over the same period, at 1.5%.
  • Utah public 4-year institutions have the 3rd lowest tuition/fees in the country.
  • For every $1 the state invests in USHE, it receives $3 in increased tax revenues.
  • 2016 Utah college graduates earned $470 million more dollars in their first year after graduation (2017) than their peers who didn’t go to college.
  • 45% of all students enroll in at least one online course.
  • Concurrent enrollment students save over $32 million in foregone tuition for more than 1/3 of Utah’s juniors and seniors by taking college courses in high school.
  • According to the Economic Development Corporation of Utah, an educated workforce is the #1 factor for companies relocating to Utah.
  • U.S. News and World Report ranks Utah higher education #2 in the country thanks to low tuition rates, low debt, & high educational attainment.

President Deneece Huftalin, Salt Lake Community College, highlighted the school’s open education resource initiative, saving students over $5 million in textbook costs. She highlighted the ongoing budget reallocations SLCC makes on a regular basis. Commissioner Buhler and Associate Commissioner Kimberly Henrie provided an overview of the factors that contribute to the varying costs of higher education across institutions as well as a discussion on the successes of the SLCC Promise.

Higher Education Day on the Hill

Friday, January 26, 2018, was Higher Education Day on the Hill. Members of the Utah Higher Education Staff Association and students from several institutions met legislators and higher education leaders throughout the day. Student leaders from the Utah Student Association spent the day emphasizing its support for the Regents’ priority on mental health by sharing its new mental health advocacy video. Lunch for legislators, legislative staff, Regents, Trustees, and Presidents in the Capitol Rotunda was the culminating event, in which several Regents and Trustees attended along with over 80 legislators came together.

Higher education events coincided with the rollout of the Governor’s Education Roadmap, a strategic vision for education in Utah based on 4 priorities: Early Learning, Strengthen & Support Educators, Ensure Access and Equity, and Complete Certificates and Degrees. Commissioner Buhler, Board of Regents Chair Dan Campbell, along with several presidents have been involved in the development of the development of the Roadmap, which is dovetailed by the Regents’ 2025 Strategic Plan.

Legislation of Interest

HB 82, Student Right to Active Counsel by Rep. Kim Coleman, introduced similar legislation in the 2016 and 2017 Sessions. The Legislature did not adopt the proposed legislation in either session. In July 2016, the Board of Regents adopted policy that outlines required due process for disciplinary actions and included the role of active counsel in certain proceedings. This bill is unnecessary given the policy already adopted. The bill awaits consideration by House Judiciary Committee.

HB 122, Higher Education Employment Authority Amendments by Rep. Justin Fawson, proposes to move Regents’ authority to appoint presidents to institutional Boards of Trustees. The proposed changes would create a confusing line of governance for the presidents where Regents are responsible for the oversight and accountability of higher education in the state, yet no ability to recruit and hire the best talent to help carry out the state’s higher education objectives. Presidential selection was a major component to 2017’s SB 238, implemented for less than a year. The bill is currently in House Rules Committee.

SB 104, Talent Development and Retention Strategy by Sen. Ann Millner, establishes a loan forgiveness program for students who graduate in programs that lead to high demand jobs. It also enables private business to partner with institutions to help fund the scholarships. The legislation helps address the current outmigration of Utah’s workforce talent. The bill unanimously passed the Senate Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee and awaits further consideration by the full Senate.

The Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee met twice this week, hearing from five of the eight USHE presidents. Each president advocated the Board of Regents’ unified budget priorities, and highlighted specific student successes and efficiencies in the past year.

The subcommittee, as directed by the Executive Appropriations Committee, advanced three major adjustments to reduce the base budget of higher education 1.5% (current budgeted funds):

A tax funds reduction equal to a 1% reduction value of the tuition waivers awarded by the institution in FY 2017.

A 0.5% overall reduction within an institution’s line items that comprised at least 5% of an institution’s overall funding, with the remainder of the cut being taken from the E&G line.

Specific budget reduction recommendations for the New Century Scholarship, Campus Compact, and the Utah Academic Library Consortium.

These reductions are based on a proposal presented to the subcommittee by the Legislative Fiscal Analyst. As a result of this approach to the budget reduction, USHE institutions are not all impacted the same: institutions utilizing tuition waivers more than others experienced a steeper budget reduction as outlined below.

INSTITUTION BASE BUDGET (ALL LINES) 0.5% BASE REDUCTION 1% TUITION WAIVER/OTHER LFA RECOMMENDED REDUCTION TOTAL BUDGET REDUCTION % BASE BUDGET REDUCTION
University of Utah
303,547,200
-1,517,700 -1,622,400 -3,140,100 -1.00%
Utah State University 202,872,000 -1,014,400 -3,011,400 -4,025,800 -2.00%
Weber State University 83,849,700 -419,300 -970,400 -1,389,700 -1.70%
Southern Utah University 38,676,500 -193,400 -852,800 -1,046,200 -2.70%
Snow College 23,918,700 -119,600 -159,600 -279,200 -1.20%
Dixie State University 35,716,000 -178,600 -537,200 -715,800 -2.00%
Utah Valley University 108,206,900 -541,000 -1,407,800 -1,948,800 -1.80%
Salt Lake Community College 96,823,600 -484,100 -374,500 -858,600 -0.90%
Board of Regents/Commissioner 45,105,400 -225,600 -614,900 -840,500 -1.90%
USHE Total 938,716,000 -4,693,700 -9,551,000 -14,244,700 -1.50%

While it is hoped the 1.5% cut is ultimately restored, these proposals add to the challenge of increasing state funding for critical higher education needs in the state

Legislation of Interest

HB 82, Student Right to Active Counsel by Rep. Kim Coleman, introduced similar legislation in the 2016 and 2017 Sessions. The Legislature did not adopt the proposed legislation in either session. In July 2016, the Board of Regents adopted policy that outlines required due process for disciplinary actions and included the role of active counsel in certain proceedings. After almost two hours of discussion and testimony, the bill was voted down by the House Judiciary Committee.

HB 116, Student Civil Liberties Protection Act by Rep. Kim Coleman, is the culmination of efforts by the Administrative Rules Review Committee’s review of the policy development processes at USHE institutions over the past year. The bill requires USHE institutions to review current policies and repeal or initiate rulemaking proceedings for each policy that directly affects a student’s civil liberty. It also requires the Board of Regents to establish a process to receive student complaints about a policy to the Board. While current policies uphold civil liberties for students, higher education supports this additional review and rulemaking for greater transparency. The bill will be considered in the House Education Committee on Monday, February 5.

HB 122, Higher Education Employment Authority Amendments by Rep. Justin Fawson, proposes to move Regents’ authority to appoint presidents to institutional Boards of Trustees. The proposed changes would create a confusing line of governance for the presidents where Regents are responsible for the oversight and accountability of higher education in the state, yet have no ability to recruit and hire the best talent to help carry out the state’s higher education objectives. Presidential selection was a major component to 2017’s SB 238, implemented for less than a year. The bill is currently in House Rules Committee.

HB 300, Higher Education Governance Amendments by Rep. Jon Stanard, provides for gubernatorial appointment of the local boards of directors in of the Utah System of Technology Colleges (USTC) to be parallel with board appointments in USHE, and removes the provision requiring Senate consent for the appointment of the student member of the State Board of Regents, an inadvertent result of last year’s passage of SB 238. The bill also provides that board members in both USTC and USHE could be removed by the Governor for cause.

SB 104, Talent Development and Retention Strategy by Sen. Ann Millner, establishes a loan forgiveness program for students who graduate in programs that lead to high demand jobs. It also enables private business to partner with institutions to help fund the scholarships. The legislation helps address the current outmigration of Utah’s workforce talent. The bill unanimously passed the Senate Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee and awaits further consideration by the full Senate.

SCR 3, Concurrent Resolution on the Importance of Civil Liberties for Students by Sen. Jim Dabakis, acknowledges the transformative opportunities higher education provides. It also encourages state institutions of higher education to defend the civil liberties of students and create an avenue by which a student may appeal a policy. The bill received unanimous support of the Senate and awaits consideration by the House.

Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee

The Subcommittee met for its final scheduled hearing this week, focusing on the Board of Regents’ budget Priorities. The committee also considered other budget requests as well as the budget priorities of the Utah System of Technical Colleges. A major focus for the Subcommittee and the Commissioner’s Office has been restoration of the base budget cuts made on Friday, January 26.

The committee placed compensation as its top priority, a 2% merit increase, as well as the Board- approved equity adjustments for Snow College and Dixie State University. The Subcommittee then went to work restoring the 1.5% cut to the base budget it made last week. In a bifurcated set of motions, the committee prioritized restoring .5% of the cuts above most of the USHE budget priorities. While still prioritized, the remaining 1% of the base budget cut was ranked lowest among the committee’s USHE budget rankings. In the end, the Subcommittee prioritized approximately 55% of the original budget priorities of the Board of Regents (not including merit compensation increases):

Higher Education Appropriations

Subcommittee
TOTAL (NOT INCLUDING RESTORATION OF 1.5% BASE BUDGET CUTS) $30,130,900 $54,726,800
Equity Compensation adjustments $1,635,900 $1,635,900
Restoration of USHE 0.5% Subcommittee reduction $4,693,500  
Student Growth and Capacity $8,645,000 $15,969,000
Completion $4,705,000 $7,958,000
Workforce $8,750,000 $15,848,900
Statewide Priorities:    
-Performance Funding*   $3,850,000

Board of Regents Budget Priorities

Higher Education Appropriations

Subcommittee
-Regents/New Century Scholarship $3,345,000 $3,345,000
-IT Network/Infrastructure $2,400,000 $4,900,000
-Utah Academic Library Consortium $650,000 $1,300,000
Restoration of 1% reduction associated with Tuition Waivers $9,551,200  

Board of Regents Budget Priorities

*The Subcommittee did not prioritize the Board’s request for Performance Funding which is part of a restricted account as established in SB117 adopted in 2017, and are expected to be part of the budget considerations of the Executive Appropriations Committee.

The Subcommittee also prioritized approximately $9.5M in additional one-time and ongoing appropriations requests for additional appropriations, ranked below other budget priorities. All of the Subcommittee’s recommendations will be advanced to the Executive Appropriations Committee, in the formulation of the state’s FY 2019 budget of new revenues. Further budget action is not expected until new revenue figures are announced towards the end of February 2017.

Tuition Waivers

The Subcommittee endorsed a set of options advanced by the Commissioner’s Office to decrease the amount of tuition waived. The proposed adjustments deal with four specific waivers, amounting to 80% of the $125m awarded annually in waivers: Resident 10% Waivers, Non-resident meritorious undergraduate waivers, Alumni Legacy Tuition Waivers and other similar waivers, WICHE WUE/WGRP Tuition Waivers. The Commissioner’s Office is working with legislators on the necessary statutory and policy changes to enable the Board to implement these changes.

Capital Development Budget

The IGG Subcommittee approved all of the Regents’ proposed non-state funded projects, including the SLCC Jordan Campus Student Center request.

Legislation of Interest

HB 116, Student Civil Liberties Protection Act by Rep. Kim Coleman, is based on the Administrative Rules Review Committee’s review of the policy development processes at USHE institutions over the past year. The bill requires USHE institutions to review current policies and repeal or initiate rulemaking proceedings for each policy that directly affects a student’s civil liberty. While current policies uphold civil liberties for students, higher education supports this additional review and rulemaking for greater transparency. The bill passed the House Education Committee, and awaits further consideration by the House.

HB 122, Higher Education Employment Authority Amendments by Rep. Justin Fawson, proposes to move Regents’ authority to appoint presidents to institutional Boards of Trustees. The proposed changes would create a confusing line of governance for the presidents where Regents are responsible for the oversight and accountability of higher education in the state, yet no ability to recruit and hire the best talent to help carry out the state’s higher education objectives. Presidential selection was a major component to 2017’s SB 238, implemented for less than a year. The bill is currently in House Rules Committee.

HB 300, Higher Education Governance Amendments by Rep. Brad Last provides for gubernatorial appointment of the local boards of directors in of the Utah System of Technology Colleges (USTC) to be parallel with board appointments in USHE, and removes a provision requiring Senate consent for the appointment of the student member of the State Board of Regents. The bill also provides that board members could be removed by the Governor for cause. The bill unanimously passed the House Education Committee.

SB174, Higher Education Capital Facilities by Sen. Ann Millner, establishes a new procedure and funding mechanism for higher education capital development projects using metrics established by the Board of Regents in these areas: enrollment, total performance according to performance funding requirements, regional growth in student population, facility age and condition, and adequacy of academic space. The use of these funds are dependent on the amount the Legislature appropriates to the institutions. The bill awaits a Senate committee assignment.

Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee

The Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee Chairs presented the subcommittee’s priorities to the Executive Appropriations Committee on Thursday. Final 2018-19 budget revenue projections are expected to be announced in the coming week. From this, additional budget action will be taken by Executive Appropriations Committee in the final weeks of the legislative session.

Legislation of Interest

HB 116 (1st Sub.), Student Civil Liberties Protection Act by Rep. Kim Coleman, is based on the Administrative Rules Review Committee’s review of the policy development processes at USHE institutions over the past year. The bill requires USHE institutions to review current policies and repeal or initiate rulemaking proceedings for each policy that directly affects a student’s civil liberty. While current policies uphold civil liberties for students, higher education supports this additional review and rulemaking for greater transparency. The bill passed House Education Committee, and awaits further consideration by the House.

HB 122, Higher Education Employment Authority Amendments by Rep. Justin Fawson, proposes to move Regents’ authority to appoint presidents to institutional Boards of Trustees. The proposed changes would create a confusing line of governance for the presidents where Regents are responsible for the oversight and accountability of higher education in the state, yet no ability to recruit and hire the best talent to help carry out the state’s higher education objectives. Presidential selection was a major component to 2017’s SB 238, implemented for less than a year. The bill is currently in House Rules Committee.

HB237 (1st Sub.), Concurrent Enrollment Enhancements by Rep. Mike Winder requires the Board of Regents to establish policy, in coordination with higher education concurrent enrollment directors, that defines the qualifications to be an eligible concurrent enrollment instructor. Current instructors for the 2017-18 academic years will continue to be eligible regardless of qualifications.

HB 254, Campus Sexual Violence Reporting by Rep. Kim Coleman outlines non-binding circumstances when an institution may turn information over to law enforcement, even against the wishes of a victim of sexual violence desire for confidentiality, based on an articulable and significant threat to campus safety. The bill also mandates that colleges offer amnesty from conduct-code violations for students, which USHE institutions already have in policy. The bill passed the House Judiciary and awaits consideration in the House.

HB 300, Higher Education Governance Amendments by Rep. Brad Last provides for gubernatorial appointment of the local boards of directors in of the Utah System of Technology Colleges (USTC) to be parallel with board appointments in USHE, and removes a provision requiring Senate consent for the appointment of the student member of the State Board of Regents. The bill also provides that board members could be removed by the Governor for cause.  The bill unanimously passed the House Education Committee awaits further consideration in the House.

HB 349, Higher Education Legacy Scholarship Amendments by Rep. Val Potter repeals a provision that restricts a student who receives an alumni legacy scholarship from counting time towards establishing residency. If passed, students who receive this scholarship would be eligible to receive in-state tuition after 12 months in Utah. The bill unanimously passed the House Education Committee awaits further consideration in the House.

HB 388 Public Education Funding Allocation Assurance by Rep. LaVar Christensen requires a minimum funding level assurance of at least 90% for K-12 education from the state Education Fund. Higher education is funded from a combination of Education and General Fund tax dollars, varying from year to year based on legislative discretion. That flexibility helps the state maintain a balanced budget. This proposal would cap Education Funds to higher education, not only limiting the state’s ability to balance the budget, but resulting in greater restriction in funding higher education in the future. The bill awaits a committee assignment.

HB 398, Higher Education Student Speech Rights by Rep. Kim Coleman establishes a specific threshold that determines when student-on-student speech becomes harassment as opposed to protected speech. It may put schools in conflict with existing federal guidance and definitions of harassment. The bill also protects belief-based student groups, allowing them to condition group membership on accepting and supporting closely held belief. Schools would be prohibited from discriminating against belief-based groups by either denying the groups official recognition and funding or by requiring the groups to maintain open membership. These provisions present possible situations in which a formally recognized school group could discriminate against certain protected classes. The bill is awaits assignment to a standing committee.

SB 104, Talent Development and Retention Strategy by Sen. Ann Millner, establishes a loan forgiveness program for students who graduate in programs that lead to high demand jobs. It also enables private business to partner with institutions to help fund the scholarships. The legislation helps address current outmigration of Utah’s workforce talent. The bill passed the Senate and awaits consideration by the House.

SB 162, Intergenerational Poverty Matching – Education Savings Plan by Sen. Evan Vickers creates an education savings pilot program to provide matching contributions to Utah’s My 529 on behalf of children experiencing intergenerational poverty. The program is to be administered by the Utah Department of Workforce Services in partnership with My 529.

SB174, Higher Education Capital Facilities by Sen. Ann Millner, establishes a new procedure and funding mechanism for higher education capital development projects using metrics established by the Board of Regents in these areas: enrollment, total performance according to performance funding requirements, regional growth in student population, facility age and condition, and adequacy of academic space. The use of these funds are dependent on the amount the Legislature appropriates to the institutions. The bill was unanimously support by the Senate Education Committee and awaits consideration of the full Senate.

SB 195, Credit Acceptance by Higher Education Institutions by Sen. Howard Stephenson would allow students to transfer credit from a Regent-approved private provider or a regionally accredited institution. USHE institutions have several agreements with private providers and partner institutions, this would require a state option for such agreements and transfer. The bill is awaits assignment to a standing committee.

SCR 3, Concurrent Resolution on the Importance of Civil Liberties for Students by Sen. Jim Dabakis recognizes the unique role of USHE institutions in the state and encourages USHE institutions to defend the civil liberties of students and ensure an avenue by which students may appeal a school policy.

Revised Budget Revenues Announced

The Legislature has $209 million more than expected to spend in budgets as it prepares the 2018-19 budget. This came from projections released by legislative analysts, the Governor’s Office and the Utah Tax Commission last week based on new quarterly revenue estimates:

AVAILABLE REVENUE (FEBRUARY, 2018) ONE-TIME ONGOING

General Fund

$ 27 M

$ 173 M

Education Fund

$ 102 M

$ 280 M

Total

$ 128 M

$ 453 M

Additional details on the revenues are available here

Legislation of Interest

HB 116 (1st Sub.), Student Civil Liberties Protection Act by Rep. Kim Coleman is based on the Administrative Rules Review Committee’s review of the policy development processes at USHE institutions over the past year. The bill requires USHE institutions to review current policies and repeal or initiate rulemaking proceedings for each policy that directly affects a student’s civil liberty. While current policies uphold civil liberties for students, higher education supports this additional review and rulemaking for greater transparency. The bill passed the House and will be considered by the Senate Education Committee on February 26, 2018.

HB 122, Higher Education Employment Authority Amendments by Rep. Justin Fawson proposes to move Regents’ authority to appoint presidents to institutional Boards of Trustees. The proposed changes would create a confusing line of governance for the presidents where Regents are responsible for the oversight and accountability of higher education in the state, yet no ability to recruit and hire the best talent to help carry out the state’s higher education objectives. Presidential selection was a major component to 2017’s SB 238, implemented for less than a year. The bill is currently in House Rules Committee.

HB237 (1st Sub.), Concurrent Enrollment Enhancements by Rep. Mike Winder requires the Board of Regents to establish policy, in coordination with higher education concurrent enrollment directors, that defines the qualifications to be an eligible concurrent enrollment instructor. Current instructors for the 2017-18 academic years will continue to be eligible regardless of qualifications. It awaits full consideration of the Senate.

HB 254, Campus Sexual Violence Reporting by Rep. Kim Coleman outlines non-binding circumstances when an institution may turn information over to law enforcement, even against the wishes of a victim of sexual violence desire for confidentiality, based on an articulable and significant threat to campus safety. The bill also mandates that colleges offer amnesty from conduct-code violations for students, which USHE institutions already have in policy. The bill passed the House Judiciary and awaits consideration in the House.

HB 300, Higher Education Governance Amendments by Rep. Brad Last provides for gubernatorial appointment of the local boards of directors in of the Utah System of Technology Colleges (USTC) to be parallel with board appointments in USHE, and removes a provision requiring Senate consent for the appointment of the student member of the State Board of Regents. The bill also provides that board members could be removed by the Governor for cause.  The bill unanimously passed the House and awaits further consideration by the Senate Education Committee on February 26, 2018.

HB 349, Higher Education Legacy Scholarship Amendments by Rep. Val Potter repeals a provision that restricts a student who receives an alumni legacy scholarship from counting time towards establishing residency. If passed, students who receive this scholarship would be eligible to receive in-state tuition after 12 months in Utah. The bill unanimously passed the House Education Committee awaits further consideration in the House.

HB 388 Public Education Funding Allocation Assurance by Rep. LaVar Christensen requires a minimum funding level assurance of at least 90% for K-12 education from the state Education Fund. Higher education is funded from a combination of Education and General Fund tax dollars, varying from year to year based on legislative discretion. That flexibility helps the state maintain a balanced budget. This proposal would cap Education Funds to higher education, not only limiting the state’s ability to balance the budget, but resulting in greater restriction in funding higher education in the future. The bill awaits consideration by the House Education Standing Committee.

HB 398, Higher Education Student Speech Rights by Rep. Kim Coleman establishes a specific threshold that determines when student-on-student speech becomes harassment as opposed to protected speech. It may put schools in conflict with existing federal guidance and definitions of harassment. The bill will be considered by the House Judiciary Standing Committee on February 27, 2018.

HCR 16, Concurrent Resolution Honoring President Matthew S. Holland by Rep. Brad Daw honors President Holland for his nine-year service at Utah Valley University. The resolution will be presented at 11:00 AM in the House and 11:30 AM in the Senate on Monday, February 26. Live streaming available here.

SB 104, Talent Development and Retention Strategy by Sen. Ann Millner establishes a loan forgiveness program for students who graduate in programs that lead to high demand jobs. It also enables private business to partner with institutions to help fund the scholarships. The legislation helps address current outmigration of Utah’s workforce talent. The bill passed House Workforce Services Committee and awaits consideration by the full House.

SB 162, Intergenerational Poverty Matching – Education Savings Plan by Sen. Evan Vickers creates an education savings pilot program to provide matching contributions to Utah’s My 529 on behalf of children experiencing intergenerational poverty. The program is to be administered by the Utah Department of Workforce Services in partnership with My 529. The bill awaits consideration by the Senate Education Committee.

SB174, Higher Education Capital Facilities by Sen. Ann Millner establishes a new procedure and funding mechanism for higher education capital development projects using metrics established by the Board of Regents in these areas: enrollment, total performance according to performance funding requirements, regional growth in student population, facility age and condition, and adequacy of academic space. The use of these funds are dependent on the amount the Legislature appropriates to the institutions. The bill was unanimously supported by the Senate Education Committee and awaits consideration of the full Senate.

SB 195, Credit Acceptance by Higher Education Institutions by Sen. Howard Stephenson would allow students to transfer credit from a Regent-approved private provider or a regionally accredited institution. USHE institutions have several agreements with private providers and partner institutions; this would require a state option for such agreements and transfer. The bill was unanimously supported by the Senate Education Committee and awaits consideration of the full Senate.

Budget Update

Legislative leaders are in the final stages of compiling the 2018-19 budget in the final days of the legislative session. The Executive Appropriations Committee is scheduled to meet on Monday to approve the major components of the new budget appropriations for consideration by the full legislature. The latest quarterly revenue estimates indicate there will be some new funds for higher education, including replacement of the base budget cuts made earlier this session.

Legislation of Interest

The final day for bills to be considered by a standing committee is Monday, March 5, with the session ending at midnight, March 8. Generally, non-budget bills that have not had at least one committee hearing are not likely to get full consideration by the Legislature. However, some exceptions do occur.

HB 116 (1st Sub.), Student Civil Liberties Protection Act by Rep. Kim Coleman is based on the Administrative Rules Review Committee’s review of the policy development processes at USHE institutions over the past year. The bill requires USHE institutions to review current policies and repeal or initiate rulemaking proceedings for each policy that directly affects a student’s civil liberty. While current policies uphold civil liberties for students, higher education supports this additional review and rulemaking for greater transparency. The bill passed awaits the full consideration of the Senate.

HB 122, Higher Education Employment Authority Amendments by Rep. Justin Fawson proposes to move Regents’ authority to appoint presidents to institutional Boards of Trustees. The proposed changes would create a confusing line of governance for the presidents where Regents are responsible for the oversight and accountability of higher education in the state, yet have no ability to recruit and hire the best talent to help carry out the state’s higher education objectives. Presidential selection was a major component to 2017’s SB 238, implemented for less than a year. The bill remains in the House Rules Committee.

HB237 (1st Sub.), Concurrent Enrollment Enhancements by Rep. Mike Winder requires the Board of Regents to establish policy, in coordination with higher education concurrent enrollment directors, that defines the qualifications to be an eligible concurrent enrollment instructor. Current instructors for the 2017-18 academic years will continue to be eligible regardless of qualifications. The bill has now passed the house and Senate and is expected to be signed into law by the Governor.

HB 254 (1st Sub.), Campus Sexual Violence Reporting by Rep. Kim Coleman outlines non-binding circumstances when an institution may turn information over to law enforcement, even against the wishes of a victim of sexual violence desire for confidentiality, based on an articulable and significant threat to campus safety. The bill also mandates that colleges offer amnesty from conduct-code violations for students, which USHE institutions already have in policy. The bill threatens the ability for victims of sexual violence to maintain anonymity. The bill passed the House and awaits consideration by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

HB 300 (1st Sub.), Higher Education Governance Amendments by Rep. Val Peterson provides for gubernatorial appointment of the local boards of directors in of the Utah System of Technology Colleges (USTC) to be parallel with board appointments in USHE, and removes a provision requiring Senate consent for the appointment of the student member of the State Board of Regents. The bill also provides that board members could be removed by the Governor for cause. The bill also creates a two-year commission comprised of Regents, USTC Trustees, the Commissioners, legislators and economic and workforce agency heads. The bill awaits consideration by the Senate.

HB 349, Higher Education Legacy Scholarship Amendments by Rep. Val Potter repeals a provision that restricts a student who receives an alumni legacy scholarship from counting time towards establishing residency. If passed, students who receive this scholarship would be eligible to receive in-state tuition after 12 months in Utah. The bill unanimously passed the Senate Education Committee awaits further consideration in the Seante.

HB 388 Public Education Funding Allocation Assurance by Rep. LaVar Christensen requires a minimum funding level assurance of at least 90% for K-12 education from the state Education Fund. Higher education is funded from a combination of Education and General Fund tax dollars, varying from year to year based on legislative discretion. That flexibility helps the state maintain a balanced budget. This proposal would cap Education Funds to higher education, not only limiting the state’s ability to balance the budget, but resulting in greater restriction in funding higher education in the future. The bill passed the House Education Committee, awaiting consideration by House.

HB 398, Higher Education Student Speech Rights by Rep. Kim Coleman establishes a specific threshold that determines when student-on-student speech becomes harassment as opposed to protected speech. It will put schools in conflict with existing federal definitions of harassment. The bill passed the House Judiciary Standing Committee and awaits further consideration by the House.

HCR 16, Concurrent Resolution Honoring President Matthew S. Holland by Rep. Brad Daw honors President Holland for his nine-year service at Utah Valley University. President Holland was honored by the House and Senate last Monday, February 26. Streamed recording available here.

SB 104, Talent Development and Retention Strategy by Sen. Ann Millner establishes a loan forgiveness program for students who graduate in programs that lead to high demand jobs. It also enables private business to partner with institutions to help fund the scholarships. The legislation helps address current outmigration of Utah’s workforce talent. The bill passed House Workforce Services Committee and awaits consideration by the full House.

SB 162, Intergenerational Poverty Matching – Education Savings Plan by Sen. Evan Vickers creates an education savings pilot program to provide matching contributions to Utah’s My529 on behalf of children experiencing intergenerational poverty. The program is to be administered by the Utah Department of Workforce Services in partnership with My529. The bill passed the Senate and awaits consideration by the House.

SB174, Higher Education Capital Facilities by Sen. Ann Millner establishes a new procedure and funding mechanism for higher education capital development projects using metrics established by the Board of Regents in the following areas: enrollment, total performance according to performance funding requirements, regional growth in student population, facility age and condition, and adequacy of academic space. The use of these funds are dependent on the amount the Legislature appropriates to the institutions. The bill was unanimously supported by the Senate Education Committee and awaits consideration of the full Senate.

SB 195, Credit Acceptance by Higher Education Institutions by Sen. Howard Stephenson would allow students to transfer credit from a Regent-approved private provider or a regionally accredited institution. USHE institutions have several agreements with private providers and partner institutions; this would require a state option for such agreements and transfer. The bill was unanimously supported by the House Education Committee and awaits consideration of the full House.

The 2018 Legislative Session ended, March 8. The following is a brief summary of budget increases and key legislation.

Budget Update

Legislative leaders adopted priorities for the 2018-19 budget during the final week of the Legislative Session. The latest quarterly revenue estimates provided new funds for higher education, including the replacement of the base budget cuts made earlier in the session. Over the course of the last week, Executive Appropriations prioritized a 6.7% ongoing operating budget increase for USHE:

Compensation: 2.5% labor market adjustment increase (plus funding for health insurance rate increases), with the ratio of funding at 75% from state funds and 25% of tuition funds. The Legislature also funded the staffing and equity adjustments for Snow College and Dixie State University requested by the Board.

Budget Priorities:

  • Student Growth & Capacity $9,073,800
  • Completion $4,763,700
  • Workforce $9,188,300
  • Performance-based Funding $3,850,000

Statewide Initiatives:

  • Regents’/New Century $3,345,000
  • Utah Academic Library Consortium $800,000

1.5% Base Budget Replacement: Earlier in the 2018 session, the Legislature approved a 1.5% base budget cut to higher education – a cut of $14.2 million. Last week’s approval restores those cuts back into the higher education base budget, with the exception of state funding of the Campus Compact.

Legislation Passed

HB 116 (1st Sub.), Student Civil Liberties Protection Act by Rep. Kim Coleman is based on the Administrative Rules Review Committee’s review of the policy development processes at USHE institutions over the past year. The bill requires USHE institutions to review current policies and repeal or initiate rulemaking proceedings for each policy that directly affects a student’s civil liberty. While current policies uphold civil liberties for students, higher education supports this additional review and rulemaking for greater transparency.

HB237 (1st Sub.), Concurrent Enrollment Enhancements by Rep. Mike Winder requires the Board of Regents to establish policy, in coordination with higher education concurrent enrollment directors, that defines the qualifications to be an eligible concurrent enrollment instructor. Current instructors for the 2017-18 academic years will continue to be eligible regardless of qualifications.

HB 300 (1st Sub.), Higher Education Governance Amendments by Rep. Val Peterson provides for gubernatorial appointment of the local boards of directors in of the Utah System of Technology Colleges (USTC) to be parallel with board appointments in USHE, and removes a provision requiring Senate consent for the appointment of the student member of the State Board of Regents. The bill also provides that board members could be removed by the Governor for cause. The bill also creates a two-year commission comprised of Regents, USTC Trustees, the Commissioners, legislators and economic and workforce agency heads.

HB 349, Higher Education Legacy Scholarship Amendments by Rep. Val Potter repeals a provision that restricts a student who receives an alumni legacy scholarship from counting time towards establishing residency. Students who receive this scholarship would be eligible to receive in-state tuition after 12 months in Utah.

HCR 16, Concurrent Resolution Honoring President Matthew S. Holland by Rep. Brad Daw honors President Holland for his nine-year service at Utah Valley University. President Holland was honored by the House and Senate on Monday, February 26. Streamed recording available here.

SB 104, Talent Development and Retention Strategy by Sen. Ann Millner establishes a loan forgiveness program for students who graduate in programs that lead to high demand jobs. It also enables private business to partner with institutions to help fund the scholarships.

SB 195, Credit Acceptance by Higher Education Institutions by Sen. Howard Stephenson would allow students to transfer credit from a Regent-approved private provider or a regionally accredited institution. This puts in place a state-level option where USHE institutions have several agreements with private providers and partners.

SB 207, Student Data Protection Amendments by Sen. Jacob Anderegg allows higher education institutions to use contact information of high school students and their parents who have opted-in for purposes of postsecondary outreach.

Proposed Legislation Not Passed

HB 82, Student Right to Active Counsel by Rep. Kim Coleman, who introduced similar legislation in the 2016 and 2017 Sessions. The Legislature did not adopt the proposed legislation in either session. In July 2016, the Board of Regents adopted policy that outlines required due process for disciplinary actions and included the role of active counsel in certain proceedings. This bill is unnecessary given the policy already adopted.

HB 122, Higher Education Employment Authority Amendments by Rep. Justin Fawson proposes to move Regents’ authority to appoint presidents to institutional Boards of Trustees. The proposed changes would create a confusing line of governance for the presidents where Regents are responsible for the oversight and accountability of higher education in the state.

HB 254 (1st Sub.), Campus Sexual Violence Reporting by Rep. Kim Coleman outlines non-binding circumstances when an institution may turn information over to law enforcement, even against the wishes of a victim of sexual violence desire for confidentiality, based on an articulable and significant threat to campus safety. The bill also mandates that colleges offer amnesty from conduct-code violations for students, which USHE institutions already have in policy. The bill threatens the ability for victims of sexual violence to maintain anonymity.

HB 388 Public Education Funding Allocation Assurance by Rep. LaVar Christensen requires a minimum funding level assurance of at least 90% for K-12 education from the state Education Fund. Higher education is funded from a combination of Education and General Fund tax dollars, varying from year to year based on legislative discretion. That flexibility helps the state maintain a balanced budget.

HB 398, Higher Education Student Speech Rights by Rep. Kim Coleman establishes a specific threshold that determines when student-on-student speech becomes harassment as opposed to protected speech. It will put schools in conflict with existing federal definitions of harassment.

SB 162, Intergenerational Poverty Matching – Education Savings Plan by Sen. Evan Vickers creates an education savings pilot program to provide matching contributions to Utah’s My529 on behalf of children experiencing intergenerational poverty.

SB174, Higher Education Capital Facilities by Sen. Ann Millner establishes a new procedure and funding mechanism for higher education capital development projects using metrics established by the Board of Regents in the following areas: enrollment, total performance according to performance funding requirements, regional growth in student population, facility age and condition, and adequacy of academic space. The use of these funds are dependent on the amount the Legislature appropriates to the institutions.

SLCC Legislative Presentations