Legislative Weekly Update Reports

The Utah State Legislative Session begins on Monday, January 28, 2019 and will run through Thursday, March 14, 2019. 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

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February 4th, 2019

The 45-day 2019 Legislative Session commenced on Monday, January 28, 2019. With over 1,100 legislative bills filed, 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.

2019-20 Budget

According to the State’s consensus revenue estimates, the State has significantly more new ongoing revenue projected than last year, as well as some “one-time” budget surplus.

Total New Revenue Available (Education and General Funds):

Ongoing Revenue One-Time Revenue
General Fund $ 187 M $ 67 M
General Fund $ 488 M $ 579 M
General Fund $ 675 M $ 646 M

Updated revenue estimates are anticipated in mid-February.

Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee

The Higher Education Appropriation Subcommittee (HEAS) held an introductory meeting when Board of Regents Chair Harris Simmons and Commissioner Dave Buhler shared general background on key higher education issues. HEAS membership has changed significantly, with new Chairs and several first- year members in the House of Representatives.

The Committee is scheduled to meet twice next week, where it will review the Board of Regents Unified Budget Request. Presentations highlighting the Board’s top priority to fund a College Access Advisor for every high school in Utah will be heard in HEAS on February 5 as well as the Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee on February 6 since the Utah State Board of Education has also endorsed the initiative.

Legislation of Interest

*HB 45, Higher Education Credit Amendments by Rep. Val Peterson, adopted by the Education Interim committee in October 2018, requires the Board of Regents to establish a plan for statewide prior learning (awarding of credit for prior learning, work-based skills, competency-based assessment, etc.). This “framework” supports the Regents’ priority to validate and ensure current statute and polices related to transfer of credit are being followed. Some of the plan’s requirements include: institutional plans for advising and communicating with USHE students and the public about credit for prior learning, how credit for prior learning is transferred between institutions, how it is transcripted, and institutional procedures for maintaining transparency and consistency. Each institution must report to the Board annually regarding the types of prior learning for which credit is provided and the total amount of credit for prior learning the institution awards.

HB 146, Concurrent Enrollment Amendments by Rep. Susan Pulsipher, modifies the eligibility requirements to enroll in concurrent enrollment courses in Utah from only 11-12 grade students to all grades in high school (grades 9-12). Over 36,000 students participated in concurrent enrollment courses last year, saving them over $48.7 million in future tuition expenses. Some institutions have raised concerns these changes would outstretch available resources to keep up with increased demand for college-level courses in high school. There is also a concern that many students in grades 9-10 are
not prepared to tackle college courses. Exceptions for those students who are prepared are already allowed in current policy. The bill awaits its first committee hearing, scheduled for the afternoon of February 4.

*HB 188, T.H. Bell Program Amendments by Rep. Lowry Snow, proposes to transition the T.H. Bell Teaching Incentive Loan Program into a scholarship with a goal to increase the number of students entering education-related college programs. The Utah Council of Education Deans (comprised of deans who oversee teacher preparation programs in Utah’s colleges and universities) has worked closely with Rep. Snow over the interim and has endorsed the legislation. The bill awaits its first committee hearing.

HB 158, 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. The bill also protects belief-based student groups, allowing them to condition group membership on accepting and supporting closely-held beliefs. Institutions 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. The bill awaits its first committee hearing.

*SB 102, Higher Education Capital Facilities by Sen. Ann Millner, would create capital development project funds for state colleges and universities and another for technical colleges. It would also establish criteria for project funding. Currently, colleges and universities submit building proposals to the Utah Board of Regents. The Regents prioritize the requests, and their list is proposed to the State Building Board, then to Legislature’s Infrastructure and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee, and ultimately to the full legislature. The goal of SB 102 is to appropriate colleges and universities funding for cost-effective building planning and design, while maintaining oversight for final approval of state funded construction. SB 102 has moved to the full Senate for further consideration.

As noted last week, the Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee (HEAS) was scheduled this past week to receive several reports, including the USHE Budget Priorities as adopted by the Board of Regents.

Commissioner Buhler briefly reviewed the history and impact of performance-based funding in USHE. Performance-based funding is a higher education funding model several states have adopted in various forms. The Utah Legislature has appropriated varying amounts of one-time and ongoing funds over the past 6 years against performance metrics that have evolved. Currently less than 1% of the overall higher education budget is funded through performance-based funding.

Along with performance-based funding, the Subcommittee spent considerable time reviewing various other metrics used by the Utah Legislature and the Board of Regents to measure higher education performance in Utah for various purposes. The Board of Regents has been working over the past several months to refine its systemwide metrics and goals in anticipation of developing a new long-term strategic plan.

Commissioner Buhler, joined by Board of Regents Vice Chair Nina Barnes and Associate Commissioner Kimberly Henrie, presented the USHE Budget Priorities as a lead up to the presentations by individual institutions scheduled February 13. The Budget Priorities are aligned to the strategic objectives established by the Regents’ Strategic Plan and include the priorities of the institutions. The presentation highlighted the complex dynamics of funding higher education funding sources from legislatively mandated items, related tuition funds, and the granularity beyond the general line items appropriated to institutions by the Legislature every year.

Budget discussions culminated with review of the Board’s top budget priority: Statewide College Access Advisors. If funded, this request will place a college access advisor in every Utah high school with the explicit purpose of helping students navigate the complexities of preparing, applying, and paying for college – especially those students from underserved populations. This initiative has significant support from several stakeholders:

  • Utah State Board of Education
  • Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce Policy Committee
  • Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce
  • Governor’s Education Excellence Commission
  • Ogden-Weber Chamber of Commerce
  • Utah State Superintendents Association
  • Utah School Counselors Association
  • Women in the Economy Commission
  • United Way Promise Partnership Regional Council

The Utah State Board of Education has also prioritized the initiative as one of its budget priorities, leading to an opportunity to present to the Public Education Appropriations Committee, as well as HEAS.

The Subcommittee also received an update on the Higher Education Strategic Planning Commission from its consultant, Mr. Brian Prescott, of the National Center for Higher Education Management. He reviewed the higher education governance landscape in Utah. His presentation was followed by the Office of the Legislative Auditor General with an audit report and recommendations on higher education governance. Governance of higher education in Utah has received increased attention and scrutiny in recent years, and these reports provide valuable contextual guidance as policy discussions continue in the coming year with the Commission.

Legislation of Interest

*HB 45, Higher Education Credit Amendments by Rep. Val Peterson, adopted by the Education Interim committee in October 2018, requires the Board of Regents to establish a plan for statewide prior learning (awarding of credit for prior learning, work-based skills, competency-based assessment, etc.). This “framework” supports the Regents’ priority to validate and ensure current statute and polices related to transfer of credit are being followed. Some of the plan’s requirements include: institutional plans for advising and communicating with USHE students and the public about credit for prior learning, how credit for prior learning is transferred between institutions, how it is transcripted, and institutional procedures for maintaining transparency and consistency. Each institution must report to the Board annually regarding the types of prior learning for which credit is provided and the total amount of credit for prior learning the institution awards. The bill received unanimous support of the Senate Education Standing Committee and awaits consideration by the full Senate.

HB 146, Concurrent Enrollment Amendments by Rep. Susan Pulsipher, modifies the eligibility requirements to enroll in concurrent enrollment courses in Utah from only 11-12 grade students to all grades in high school (grades 9-12). Over 36,000 students participated in concurrent enrollment courses last year, saving them over $48.7 million in future tuition expenses. Some institutions have raised concerns these changes would outstretch available resources to keep up with increased demand for college-level courses in high school. There is also a concern that many students in grades 9-10 are not prepared to tackle college courses. Exceptions for those students who are prepared are already allowed in current policy. The bill passed the House Education Committee with unanimous support.

*HB 188, T.H. Bell Program Amendments by Rep. Lowry Snow, proposes to transition
the T.H. Bell Teaching Incentive Loan Program into a scholarship with a goal to increase the number of students entering education-related college programs. The Utah Council of Education Deans (comprised of deans who oversee teacher preparation programs in Utah’s colleges and universities) has worked closely with Rep. Snow over the interim and has endorsed the legislation. The bill awaits its first committee hearing.

**HB 158, 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 failed to received enough votes to pass the House Judiciary Committee.

*SB 260, Access Utah Promise Scholarship by Rep. Derrin Owens, creates a statewide scholarship program patterned after Dream Weber and SLCC Promise. These innovative programs, which pay the remaining college costs for qualifying students when federal grants fall short, are showing compelling results: Dream Weber students graduate college at significantly higher rates than non-Dream Weber students at Weber State University (73 percent to 44 percent, respectively). The scholarship would be available not only for students right out of high school, but adult learners as well at both USHE and UTECH institutions. This program, if funded, could be major step to help individuals break the bleak cycle of intergenerational poverty in Utah. This bill is scheduled to be heard in the House Education Committee Monday afternoon.

*SB 102, Higher Education Capital Facilities by Sen. Ann Millner, would cr*SB 102, Higher Education Capital Facilitieseate capital development project funds for state colleges and universities and another for technical colleges. It would also establish criteria for project funding. Currently, colleges and universities submit building proposals to the Utah Board of Regents. The Regents prioritize the requests, and their list is proposed to the State Building Board, then to Legislature’s Infrastructure and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee, and ultimately to the full legislature. The goal of SB 102 is to appropriate colleges and universities funding for cost-effective building planning and design, while maintaining oversight for final approval of state funded construction. SB102 moves to the full Senate for further consideration.

Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee

The Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee (HEAS) wrapped up its work capping a busy week filled with requests for appropriations, presentations from presidents of the seven remaining USHE institutions, and ultimately a prioritization of higher education-related budget requests including several of the Board of Regents’ priorities.

On Monday, the Subcommittee reviewed the legislative performance audit of the Utah Board of Regents released in October 2018. Commissioner Buhler was able to provide an updated response covering the steps the Board and the Commissioner have been taking related to the audit and its recommendations. The Commissioner’s presentation provides a summary of the specific actions underway and planned in the coming months.

On Wednesday, the seven remaining presidents gave an overview of their budget priorities adopted by the Board. The presentations were all well-received and conveyed the vibrancy, uniqueness, and innovation of the USHE institutions.

On Friday, the Subcommittee’s work culminated with the prioritization of the Board of Regents’ budget request, the request of the Utah System of Technical Colleges, and additional individual requests for appropriations from legislators. The final Subcommittee prioritization includes a 1.5 % compensation increase that holds the mix of state funds and tuition funds to the traditional 75% state funds/25% tuition funds. The Subcommittee advanced funding requests in all four of the categories requested by the Board of Regents: Workforce and Research, Timely Completion, Student Growth & Capacity, and Affordable Access. The Subcommittee priorities will now be advanced to the Executive Appropriations Committee as revised budget revenues are expected and the Legislature works to compile the full budget in the upcoming weeks.

Legislation of Interest

HB 146, Concurrent Enrollment Amendments by Rep. Susan Pulsipher, modifies the eligibility requirements to enroll in concurrent enrollment courses in Utah from only 11-12 grade students to all grades in high school (grades 9-12). Over 36,000 students participated in concurrent enrollment courses last year saving them over $48.7 million in future tuition expenses. Some institutions have raised concerns these changes would outstretch available resources to keep up with increased demand for college-level courses in high school. There is also a concern that many students in grades 9-10 are not prepared to tackle college courses. Exceptions for those students who are prepared are already allowed in current policy. The bill passed the House and awaits further consideration by the Senate.

HB 188, T.H. Bell Program Amendments by Rep. Lowry Snow, proposes to transition the T.H. Bell Teaching Incentive Loan Program into a scholarship with a goal to increase the number of students entering education-related college programs. The Utah Council of Education Deans (comprised of deans who oversee teacher preparation programs in Utah’s colleges and universities) has worked closely with Rep. Snow over the interim and has endorsed the legislation. The bill received unanimous support of the House Education Committee moving on to be considered by the full House.

HB 248, Education Fund Designation Ratio by Rep. Marsha Judkins, proposes to limit the portion of revenue in the Education Fund (income tax revenues) to be designated for higher education at 15%. Higher education (including USHE, UETN, UTECH, and buildings) received 17.6% from the Education Fund in FY19. In order to get down to 15% for FY19, approximately $117 million would be needed from the General Fund (sales tax revenues) or another source, like tuition, to avoid any budget reductions. The bill has not been assigned a standing committee.

HB 260, Access Utah Promise Scholarship by Rep. Derrin Owens, creates a statewide scholarship program patterned after Dream Weber and SLCC Promise. These innovative programs, which pay the remaining college costs for qualifying students when federal grants fall short, are showing compelling results: Dream Weber students graduate college at significantly higher rates than non-Dream Weber students at Weber State University (73 percent to 44 percent, respectively). The scholarship would be available not only for students right out of high school, but adult learners as well at both USHE and UTECH institutions. This program, if funded, could be major step to help individuals break the bleak cycle of intergenerational poverty in Utah. This bill received unanimous support of the House Education Committee and is expected to be considered by the full House next week.

SB 102, Higher Education Capital Facilities by Sen. Ann Millner, would create capital development project funds for state colleges and universities and another for technical colleges. It would also establish criteria for project funding. Currently, colleges and universities submit building proposals to the Utah Board of Regents. The Regents prioritize the requests, and their list is proposed to the State Building Board, then to Legislature’s Infrastructure and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee, and ultimately to the full legislature. The goal of SB 102 is to appropriate colleges and universities funding for cost-effective building planning and design, while maintaining oversight for final approval of state funded construction. SB 102 moved to the full Senate for further consideration.

SB 164, Student Data Privacy Amendments by Sen. Jacob Anderegg, eliminates the requirement for individual parental consent for student information to be shared from K-12 schools to the Utah State Board of Regents for purposes of outreach and access. This barrier has led to significant challenges in student recruiting and outreach due to legislative action adopted three years ago. These barriers are recognized frustrations by both higher education and K-12 leaders. The bill is awaiting its first hearing in the Senate Education Committee.

Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee

The Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee Chairs presented the subcommittee’s priorities to the Executive Appropriations Committee last week. Final 2019-20 budget revenue projections were announced on February 22. While new revenue estimates are $120 million lower than estimates announced in December 2018, the Legislature will still have over $1 billion surplus going into the final weeks of the 2019 session:

Total New Revenue Available (Education and General Funds):

Ongoing One-Time
Total New Available $ 529 M $ 570 M
General Fund (Sales Tax) $ 52 M $ 178 M
Education Fund (Income Tax) $ 477 M $ 392 M

Further budget action will be taken by Executive Appropriations Committee in the final weeks of the legislative session.

Legislation of Interest

HB 146, Concurrent Enrollment Amendments by Rep. Susan Pulsipher, modifies the eligibility requirements to enroll in concurrent enrollment courses in Utah from only 11-12 grade students to all grades in high school (grades 9-12). Over 36,000 students participated in concurrent enrollment courses last year saving them over $48.7 million in future tuition expenses. Some institutions have raised concerns these changes would outstretch available resources to keep up with increased demand for college-level courses in high school. There is also a concern that many students in grades 9-10 are not prepared to tackle college courses. Exceptions for those students who are prepared are already allowed in current policy. The bill, passed by both the House and Senate, awaits the Governor’s signature for enrolling.

**HB 158, 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. This legislation comes at the same time the US Department of Education is considering similar provisions in the coming months. Passage of this bill may prematurely put schools in conflict with anticipated federal definitions of harassment. The bill failed to pass the House Judiciary Committee but is scheduled for reconsideration by the committee this week.

*HB 188 (1st sub), T.H. Bell Program Amendments by Rep. Lowry Snow, proposes to transition the T.H. Bell Teaching Incentive Loan Program into a scholarship with a goal to increase the number of students entering education-related college programs. The Utah Council of Education Deans (comprised of deans who oversee teacher preparation programs in Utah’s colleges and universities) has worked closely with Rep. Snow over the interim and has endorsed the legislation. The bill received unanimous support of the House Education Committee and awaits consideration of the full House.

**HB 248, Education Fund Designation Ratio by Rep. Marsha Judkins, proposes to limit the portion of revenue in the Education Fund (income tax revenues) to be designated for higher education at 15%. Higher education (including USHE, UETN, UTECH and buildings) receives 17.6% from the Education Fund in FY19. In order to get down to 15% for FY19, approximately $117m would be needed from the General Fund (sales tax revenues) or another source, like tuition, to avoid any budget reductions. The bill was initially heard in the House Education Committee but was held for a future committee scheduled this week.

HB 291, Concurrent Enrollment Modifications by Rep. Mike Winder clarifying legislation from the 2018 legislative session requiring 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 received unanimous support of the House and awaits consideration by the Senate.

HB 346, Higher Education Responses to Allegations by Rep. Kim Coleman, outlines circumstances when an institution turns information over to law enforcement in instances considered 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 sponsor has worked during the interim with advocacy groups and USHE. The Board of Regents does not oppose the legislation and supports the sponsor’s efforts to address a critical component related to the overall campus safety issue.

*SB 260 (3rd Sub.), Access Utah Promise Scholarship by Rep. Derrin Owens, creates a statewide scholarship program patterned after Dream Weber and SLCC Promise. These innovative programs, which pay the remaining college costs for qualifying students when federal grants fall short, are showing compelling results: Dream Weber students graduate college at significantly higher rates than non-Dream Weber students at Weber State University (73% to 44%, respectively). The scholarship would be available not only for students right out of high school, but adult learners as well at both USHE and UTECH institutions. This program, if funded, could be major step to help individuals break the bleak cycle of intergenerational poverty in Utah. Modifications were made to the bill, ultimately leaving intact the Regents’ and New Century Scholarships. This bill received strong support of the House with only three opposing votes and awaits further consideration by the Senate.

*SB 102 (1st Sub.), Higher Education Capital Facilities by Sen. Ann Millner, would create capital development project funds for state colleges and universities and another for technical colleges. It would also establish criteria for project funding. Currently, colleges and universities submit building proposals to the Utah Board of Regents. The Regents prioritize the requests, and their list is proposed to the State Building Board, then to Legislature’s Infrastructure and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee, and ultimately to the full legislature. The goal of the bill is to appropriate colleges and universities funding for cost-effective building planning and design, and while maintaining oversight for final approval of state funded construction. This bill passed the Senate and awaits consideration by the House.

*SB 164, Student Data Privacy Amendments by Sen. Jacob Anderegg, eliminates the requirement for individual parental consent for student information to be shared from K-12 schools to the Utah State Board of Regents for purposes of outreach and access. This barrier has led to significant challenges in student recruiting and outreach due to legislative action adopted three years ago. These barriers are recognized frustrations by both higher education and K-12 leaders. The bill is awaiting a hearing in the Senate Education Committee.

Budget Update

All of the Legislature’s budget attention has been focused on a tax overhaul bill that was released this week and adopted by the House Revenue and Tax Committee on Friday. Talk of tax restructuring has pervaded this year’s legislative session as the state’s latest revenue projections show almost 10 times the amount of new funds in the Education Fund ($477 million) over the General Fund ($52 million) in ongoing funds.

HB 441 proposes to reduce income tax by almost $100 million in FY2020 and $324 million in the two following budget years. It is projected that this reduction would be offset in increased sales tax revenues through expansion of the types of sales transactions that would be taxed.

Of particular interest is a stated goal by legislative leaders to reduce the state’s reliance on the Education Fund to fund public higher education. In 1996, Utah voters approved an amendment to the state’s constitution that affirmed higher education’s ability to be funded from the Education Fund – a move supported by both higher education and K-12 leaders at the time. That amendment added flexibility allowing lawmakers to ensure a balanced budget, with ability to move general fund dollars in and out of higher education and buffer school spending from the ups and downs of the tax base.

Lawmakers have stated the impact of these proposed tax changes may not be fully understood for two to three years. HB 441 awaits consideration by the full House, anticipated early this week. After which, specific budget details for the upcoming fiscal year will likely emerge by week’s end.

Legislation of Interest

HB 158, 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. This legislation comes at the same time the US Department of Education is considering similar provisions in the coming months. Passage of this bill may prematurely put schools in conflict with anticipated federal definitions of harassment. The bill passed the House Judiciary Committee and the full House.

HB 188 (1st sub), T.H. Bell Program Amendments by Rep. Lowry Snow, proposes to transition the T.H. Bell Teaching Incentive Loan Program into a scholarship with a goal to increase the number of students entering education-related college programs. The Utah Council of Education Deans (comprised of deans who oversee teacher preparation programs in Utah’s colleges and universities) has worked closely with Rep. Snow over the interim and has endorsed the legislation. The bill received strong support in the House and is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Education Committee Monday morning.

HB 248, Education Fund Designation Ratio by Rep. Marsha Judkins, proposes to limit the portion of revenue in the Education Fund (income tax revenues) to be designated for higher education at 15% (amended in committee to 20%). In the most recent year, higher education (including USHE, UETN, UTECH and buildings) received 17.6% from the Education Fund in FY19. This bill would have restricted the Legislature’s flexibility and potentially made it more difficult to fund higher education in the future. The bill failed in the House Education Committee.

HB 260 (3rd Sub.), Access Utah Promise Scholarship by Rep. Derrin Owens creates a statewide scholarship program patterned after Dream Weber and SLCC Promise. These innovative programs, which pay the remaining college costs for qualifying students when federal grants fall short, are showing compelling results: Dream Weber students graduate college at significantly higher rates than non-Dream Weber students at Weber State University (73% to 44%, respectively). The scholarship would be available not only for students right out of high school, but adult learners as well at both USHE and UTECH institutions. Modifications were made to the bill, leaving intact the Regents’ and New Century Scholarships. This bill received strong support of the House with only three opposing votes and awaits further consideration by the Senate.

HB 291, Concurrent Enrollment Modifications by Rep. Mike Winder, clarifies legislation from the 2018 legislative session requiring 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 year will continue to be eligible regardless of qualifications. The bill received unanimous support of the House and awaits consideration by the Senate.

HB 346, Higher Education Responses to Allegations by Rep. Kim Coleman, outlines circumstances when an institution turns information over to law enforcement in instances considered 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 sponsor has worked during the interim with advocacy groups and USHE. The Board of Regents does not oppose the legislation and supports the sponsor’s efforts to address a critical component related to the overall campus safety issue. The bill received unanimous support of the House and awaits consideration in the Senate.

HB 442, Family Leave Amendments by Rep. Elizabeth Weight, requires public higher education institutions, along with state agencies, to offer paid parental leave to eligible employees. The University of Utah and Utah Valley University have adopted family leave policies in the few months. The bill awaits a House Committee hearing.

HB 454, Tuition Waiver and Scholarship Study by Rep. Melissa Ballard, requires the Board of Regents to study and report on outcomes of state scholarship and waiver programs including student retention, completion, and participation in Utah’s workforce. The bill awaits assignment to a House Standing Committee.

SB 102 (1st Sub.), Higher Education Capital Facilities by Sen. Ann Millner, would create capital development project funds for state colleges and universities and another for technical colleges. It would also establish criteria for project funding. Currently, colleges and universities submit building proposals to the Board of Regents. The Regents prioritize the requests, and their list is proposed to the State Building Board, then to Legislature’s Infrastructure and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee, and ultimately to the full legislature. The goal of the bill is to appropriate funding to colleges and universities for cost-effective building planning and design, while maintaining oversight for final approval of state- funded construction. This bill received unanimous support of the House Education Committee and awaits consideration of the full House.

SB 164, Student Data Privacy Amendments by Sen. Jacob Anderegg, eliminates the requirement for individual parental consent for student information to be shared from K-12 schools to the Utah State Board of Regents for purposes of outreach and access. This barrier has led to significant challenges in student recruiting and outreach due to legislative action adopted three years ago. These barriers are recognized frustrations by both higher education and K-12 leaders. The bill received unanimous support of the Senate Education Committee and awaits consideration of the full Senate.

Budget Update

The Legislature’s focus on tax reform continued this week until Thursday when efforts stopped and state leaders announced they will continue efforts beyond the legislative session over the coming months. On Friday, scheduled Executive Appropriations meetings to adopt a new budget were cancelled and lawmakers involved in designing the budget were reportedly expecting to work over the weekend on their plan of action. Reports indicate the legislature is considering one option to adopt a “scaled back” budget focused on “core” spending such as student enrollment growth and cost of living pay increases for employees. Another Executive Appropriations Committee meeting is scheduled early Monday morning.

 

Legislation of Interest

HB 158, 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. This legislation comes at the same time the US Department of Education is considering similar provisions in the coming months. Passage of this bill may prematurely put schools in conflict with anticipated federal definitions of harassment. The bill passed the House Judiciary Committee and the full House.

HB 188 (1st sub), T.H. Bell Program Amendments by Rep. Lowry Snow, proposes to transition the T.H. Bell Teaching Incentive Loan Program into a scholarship with a goal to increase the number of students entering education-related college programs. The Utah Council of Education Deans (comprised of deans who oversee teacher preparation programs in Utah’s colleges and universities) has worked closely with Rep. Snow over the interim and has endorsed the legislation. The bill passed the Senate Education Committee Monday morning and passed the first vote in the senate awaiting final passage.

HB 291 (1st Sub.), Concurrent Enrollment Modifications by Rep. Mike Winder clarifying legislation from the 2018 legislative session requiring 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 was substituted to address concerns raised by both public and higher education. The bill received unanimous support of the Senate Education Committee and awaits consideration by the full Senate.

HB 346, Higher Education Responses to Allegations by Rep. Kim Coleman, outlines circumstances when an institution turns information over to law enforcement in instances considered 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 sponsor has worked during the interim with advocacy groups and USHE. The Board of Regents does not oppose the legislation and supports the sponsor’s efforts to address a critical component related to the overall campus safety issue. The bill received unanimous support of the Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee and awaits consideration by the full Senate.

HB 373 (2nd Sub.), Student Support Amendments by Rep. Steve Eliason, is a sweeping school safety bill. Part of the bill removes the matching funds requirement for the adoption of the SafeUT mobile application by USHE institutions. All USHE institutions adopted use of the SafeUT app as part of the Board of Regents’ recommendations on student mental health. The bill received unanimous support of the Senate Education Committee and awaits consideration by the full Senate.

HB 442, Family Leave Amendments by Rep. Elizabeth Weight, requires public higher education institutions, along with state agencies, to offer paid parental leave to eligible employees. The University of Utah and Utah Valley University have adopted family leave policies in the few months. The bill awaits a House Committee hearing.

HB 454, Tuition Waiver and Scholarship Study by Rep. Melissa Ballard, requires the State Board of Regents to study and report on outcomes of state scholarship and waiver programs including student retention, completion and participation in Utah’s workforce. The bill awaits consideration by the House Education Committee.

HB 488, Amendments to Concurrent Enrollment by Rep. Eric Hutchings, enables the State Board of Regents to annually approve a prioritized list of upper division concurrent enrollment courses. It also changes the formula for increasing funding for concurrent enrollment from proportional growth in K-12 to only growth in concurrent enrollment.

SB 260 (3rd Sub.), Access Utah Promise Scholarship by Rep. Derrin Owens creates a statewide scholarship program patterned after Dream Weber and SLCC Promise. These innovative programs, which pay the remaining college costs for qualifying students when federal grants fall short, are showing compelling results: Dream Weber students graduate college at significantly higher rates than non-Dream Weber students at Weber State University (73 percent to 44 percent, respectively). The scholarship would be available not only for students right out of high school, but adult learners as well at both USHE and UTECH institutions. Modifications were made to the bill, leaving intact the Regents’ and New Century Scholarships. This bill received unanimous support of the Senate Education Committee and awaits a vote of the full Senate.

SB 102 (1st Sub.), Higher Education Capital Facilities by Sen. Ann Millner, would create capital development project funds for state colleges and universities and another for technical colleges. It would also establish criteria for project funding. Currently, colleges and universities submit building proposals to the Utah Board of Regents. The Regents prioritize the requests, and their list is proposed to the State Building Board, then to Legislature’s Infrastructure and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee, and ultimately to the full legislature. The goal of the bill is to appropriate colleges and universities funding for cost-effective building planning and design, and while maintaining oversight for final approval of state funded construction. This bill received unanimous support of the House Education Committee and awaits consideration of the full House.

SB 164, Student Data Privacy Amendments by Sen. Jacob Anderegg, eliminates the requirement for individual parental consent for student information to be shared from K-12 schools to the Utah State Board of Regents for purposes of outreach and access. This barrier has led to significant challenges in student recruiting and outreach due to legislative action adopted three years ago. These barriers are recognized frustrations by both higher education and K-12 leaders. The bill received unanimous support of the House Education Committee and awaits consideration of the full House.

SLCC Legislative Presentations