2016 Legislative Update – Week 2

The Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee

The Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee met twice this week, focusing on the existing base budget for higher education as well as extensive discussion on career and technical education (CTE) at postsecondary institutions. More information is available from the USHE 2015 CTE Report.

Presidents Dave Pershing of the University of Utah and Stan Albrecht of Utah State University gave overview presentations of the state’s two public Research I institutions.  Both presidents provided outstanding context to the major issues in Utah higher education, including both the extraordinary accomplishments as well as some of the challenges the institutions face.

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

The Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee will meet three more times to consider requests for new funding.  Board Chair Dan Campbell and Commissioner Buhler will present the Board’s priorities for new funding on February 8. Agendas, audio recordings and materials, including presentations, for all Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee meetings are online. To access materials for a specific meeting, click “View List” on the right column under “Meeting Materials”.

Capital Budget

Commissioner Buhler presented the capital development priorities of the State Board of Regents to the Infrastructure & General Government, he reviewed the process and considerations the Board makes in ranking the capital requests of USHE institutions.  The priority rankings established by the Board for the 2016 Legislative Session are:

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

The Infrastructure and General Government Committee will prioritize capital development requests this upcoming week.

Key Legislation of Interest to USHE

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

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

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

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

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

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

* USHE has taken an official position in support; ** USHE has taken an official position in opposition. For more information on legislation, committee agendas, or to view or listen to floor debates, see: http://le.utah.gov/
Media Inquiries

Trisha Dugovic
Communications Director