Legislative Session 2015

Legislative Update Report

Week 3: February 10, 2014 - February 14, 2014

Overview. Higher Education Day on the Hill was held on Friday, February 14. As part of the day, several students from the College went to the Capitol and met with their counterparts from other institutions, as well as with their legislators. A luncheon was held in the rotunda, attended by many legislators, as well as presidents, regents and trustees. President Huftalin attended the luncheon as did Trustee Joshi and Student Body President Jessica Fowler.

2014-2015 Budget. The Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee held its final presentations this week, including presentations from President Huftalin and President Pershing from the University of Utah. You can listen to the presentation.

The Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee took final action prioritizing its budget requests, recommending the same amounts included in the Board of Regents’ budget request. The Subcommittee prioritized Acute Equity and Distinctive Mission its top priorities. Other notable high priorities include:

  • SLCC Student Access Support and Completion
  • Performance Based Funding
  • USHE Higher Education Technology Initiative
  • USHE Regents' Scholarship
  • Snow College Rural Superintendents Concurrent Enrollment
  • University of Utah Utility Infrastructure
  • Utah State University Graduate School and Veterinary Programs
  • Dixie State University - University Status

The subcommittee also recommended that Higher Education employees receive the same compensation increase granted state employees (an amount not yet determined). The Chairs of the Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee will present its priorities to the Executive Appropriations Committee on Wednesday, February 19. You can listen to a LIVE AUDIO of this meeting.

Capital Budget. The Infrastructure Subcommittee prioritized requests for capital development. The following capital development priorities of the Board of Regents were prioritized by the Subcommittee in the following order:

  • Weber State University – New Science Lab Building (2nd)
  • Utah State University - Statewide Instructional Initiative (4th)
  • University of Utah - Crocker Science Center (9th)

Key Legislation of Interest to SLCC:

HB 32, College Credit for Veterans by Rep. Tim Cosgrove, modifies legislation passed in the 2013 Legislative session requiring student veterans to meet with a student advisor before the award of credit. New legislation requires USHE institutions to provide written notification to student veterans of the requirement to meet with a college counselor before being eligible to transfer college credit. The bill was endorsed by the Veterans Reintegration Taskforce during the interim and received unanimous support from the House and the Senate.

HB 45, In-State Tuition for Military Servicemembers and Veterans by Rep. Curt Oda, provides ability for military service members, veterans and their immediate family members to be considered a resident for in-state tuition purposes. The bill unanimously cleared the House and is scheduled for consideration by the Senate Education Committee this week.

HB 72, Higher Education Grievance Procedure by Rep. Mark Wheatley, requires the Board of Regents to enact regulations requiring all testimony pertaining to an employee grievance hearing be given under oath. The bill is currently awaiting consideration by the full House.

HB 92 (1st Sub), Utah Telehealth and Education Network Amendments by Rep. Ronda Rudd Menlove, combines the functions of the Utah Education Network and the Utah Telehealth Network as well as modifies the board membership of the current Utah Education Network. The substitute bill passed the House Health and Human Services Committee and awaits consideration by the full House.

  • SB 16, Veterans Tuition Gap Coverage by Sen. Luz Robles, provides state funded grants to qualifying military veterans who have maximized federal financial aid benefits. The bill is currently awaiting a committee hearing.
  • SB 22, Workforce Services Job Listing Amendments, by Sen. Peter Knudson, requires all government entities advertise job openings on the state website, jobs.utah.gov. It also requires the state’s Division of Purchasing to provide contact information for companies that contract with the state. USHE is currently working with the sponsor to amend this legislation to exclude job postings for USHE faculty and student-related positions. The bill is currently awaiting a committee hearing.
  • SB 34, Governance of the Utah Education and Workforce Alliance by Sen. Howard Stephenson, establishes a multi-agency governing board for the Utah Futures and Utah Data Alliance initiatives, to be administered by the Utah Education Network. The bill was heard initially by the Senate Education Committee but was held by the bill sponsor for possible amendments to address concerns related to the proposed governance and data security.
  • SB 38 (1st Sub), Snow College Concurrent Education Program by Sen. Ralph Okerlund, Establishes a program that requires Snow College to provide concurrent enrollments courses via interactive video to rural school districts under direction of the Board of. The bill requires Snow College to establish a two-year schedule of course offerings via concurrent enrollment and provide advisory support to secondary school students. The substitute bill passed the full Senate and awaits a House committee hearing.
  • SB 151, Religious Freedom Instruction Requirements by Sen. Stuart Reid, requires, as part of an award of a bachelor’s degree, students must demonstrate reasonable understanding of the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, including religious freedom. The bill is currently awaiting a committee hearing.
  • SB 170, Education Loan Amendments by Senator Peter Knudson, modifies the Utah Consumer Code in relation to student loans by defining unconscionable actions of a higher education institutions and lender. USHE currently opposes this legislation and is working with the bill sponsor on modifications. The bill is currently awaiting a committee hearing.