2024 Legislative Update: Week 2

Utah State Capitol building on a cloudy day.

January 22-26, 2024

Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee

The Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee heard presentations from all eight USHE technical colleges (Bridgerland TechDavis TechDixie TechMountainland TechOgden-Weber TechSouthwest TechTooele TechUintah Basin Tech) and from Salt Lake Community CollegeSnow CollegeWeber State UniversityUtah Valley University, and Southern Utah University during the second week. The remaining institutions are expected to present in upcoming HEAS meetings.

HEAS also heard a presentation on innovation and commercialization from The Point and an update on the Prosperity 2020 Report from the Cicero Group.

HEAS also heard the following requests for appropriations, which were included in the Board of Higher Education’s prioritized list of institutional RFAs:

HEAS also heard additional RFAs from: 

  • Smart Defense to fund abuse defense programming in higher education  
  • Sen. Owens on Western Heritage Sustainability 

Upcoming Appropriations Subcommittee Meetings

8 a.m.

View HEAS Agendas & Materials

Legislation of Interest

HB 22 – Concurrent Enrollment Revisions (Rep. Val Peterson, Sen. Lincoln Fillmore) — Expands the PRIME program eligibility by adding participation in a youth apprenticeship to the list of options for qualifying for the TRANSFORM certificate. Removes the previously specified scholarship amount ($500) of a TRANSFORM certificate and requires the Utah Board of Higher Education to determine the scholarship amount based on the number of eligible students and appropriations made by the Legislature. HB 22 was passed out favorably as a committee bill during the September Education Interim Committee meeting and received a favorable recommendation from the Senate Education Committee on January 19. 

HB 29 – Sensitive Material Review Amendments (Rep. Ken Ivory, Sen. Todd Weiler) — Creates a process by which individuals may trigger a formal review of sensitive materials, establishes processes for the evaluation and review of sensitive material allegations, and requires the removal of certain instructional materials statewide if a certain threshold of local education agencies determine that the instructional material constitutes objectively sensitive material. Specifies that sensitive material does not include instructional material for a concurrent enrollment course that contains sensitive material and for which a parent receives notice from the course provider of the material before enrolling and gives the parent’s consent by enrolling. Received a favorable recommendation from the House Education Committee on January 23. 

HB 67 – First Responder Mental Health Services Grant Program Amendments (Rep. Ryan Wilcox, Sen. Don L. Ipson) — Expands eligibility for the program and adds private, nonprofit institutions of higher education in Utah that are accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities to the list of qualifying institutions where the grant may be used. Clarifies that the grant may be applied toward tuition and fees as a last-dollar award after all other aid. Requires that the Board of Higher Education select two periods during each calendar year to accept applications and that applications will be accepted for no fewer than 30 days during each period. 

HB 111 – Employment Training Requirement Limitations (Rep. Tim Jimenez) — Prohibits public and private employers from requiring individuals, as a condition of employment, to profess a belief in certain concepts. Received a favorable recommendation from the House Business and Labor Committee on January 23.

HB 202 – Student Athlete Amendments (Rep. Jordan Teuscher) — Prohibits a student athlete from entering into a Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) arrangement in which the athlete endorses certain prohibited products and services or in which the contract conflicts with institutional contracts or policies. Requires student athletes to disclose NIL contracts to their institution before entering the contract. Requires institutions to review the contract for conflicts and inform the student and any professional representing the student within seven days of identifying the conflict. Requires the student athlete or their professional service provider to resolve any conflicting contract provisions within 10 days of notification. Clarifies that student athletes are not employees of the institution. Requires student athletes to seek written permission from the institution to use institutional logos, uniforms, etc., in NIL activities and to pay the market rate to use institutional facilities for NIL activities. Clarifies that student athletes may earn compensation from selling their autographs so long as there is no conflict with institutional policies or procedures. Provides protections for student athletes, including prohibiting institutions from disqualifying student athletes from scholarships, grants, or financial assistance for earning NIL compensation or hiring a professional service provider.

HB 247 – Statewide Online Education Program Amendments (Rep. Dan Johnson) — Requires the Utah State Board of Education and the Utah Board of Higher Education to coordinate to offer an online concurrent enrollment option, including online concurrent enrollment courses in the Statewide Online Education Program. Requires USBE and the Utah Board of Higher Education to make recommendations to the Education Interim Committee about funding structures and recommendations for allowing a student to be enrolled through multiple Local Education Agencies (LEAs) for access to any online concurrent enrollment course.

HB 253 – Use of Sex-Designated Facilities in Public and Higher Education (Rep. Phil Lyman) — Defines a person’s sex based on the characteristics of a person’s reproductive anatomy present at birth and requires individuals to use the public school or higher education restroom or changing facility that aligns with that sex. Exceptions are made, including for individuals accompanying a minor or elderly individual into these facilities, for individuals administering emergency medical assistance, etc. Requires institutions of higher education to provide restrooms and changing facilities that are sex-designated or unisex, establish use and discipline policies regarding these facilities for students and employees, and report to the Utah Board of Higher Education about compliance with these policies. Requires the Utah Board of Higher Education to make administrative rules to establish procedures to ensure compliance with this section. Authorizes the attorney general to bring a civil action for enforcement.

HB 257 – Sex-Based Designations for Privacy, Anti-Bullying, and Women’s Opportunities (Rep. Kera Birkeland, Sen. Daniel McCay) – This bill has passed both the House and Senate. The bill defines “female” and “male”. The bill also defines “men’s restroom as “a restroom that is designated for the exclusive use of males and not females” and defines “women’s restroom” as “a restroom that is designated for the exclusive use of females and not males”. Requires that each government entity shall ensure the preservation of distinctions on the basis of sex that protect individual privacy and competitive opportunity, as described in this 63G, Chapter 31. For sex-designated changing rooms open to the general public in publicly owned facilities, requires individuals to use the changing room that corresponds to their sex at birth (as defined in the bill). Makes exceptions for when an individual has undergone a primary sex characteristic surgical procedure and has amended their birth certificate, as well as those accompanying dependents who need assistance, those engaging in cleaning or maintenance services, etc. Requires government entities to ensure new construction includes single-occupancy privacy facilities and to consider the feasibility of retrofitting existing spaces to include methods of improving individual privacy in privacy spaces. 

HB 261 – Equal Opportunity Initiatives (Rep. Katy Hall, Sen. Keith Grover) — This billhas passed both the House and Senate. It applies to the public education system, higher education, and governmental employers. Prohibits institutions from engaging in certain prohibited practices, including requiring certain submissions before, during, or after admission or employment and requiring individuals to attend certain training that promotes differential treatment. Prohibits institutions from operating offices named diversity, equity, and inclusion and prohibits institutions from establishing or maintaining an office, division, employment position, or other unit of an institution established to implement, develop, plan, or promote campus policies, procedures, practices, programs, or initiatives, regarding prohibited discriminatory practices. Makes exceptions for the need to comply with federal law, state law, and certain grant, athletics, and accreditation requirements. Prohibits institutions from considering an individual’s personal identity characteristics in determining receipt of state financial aid, including waivers, but excluding private scholarships. Requires institutions to ensure all students have access to programs that provide student success and support. Requires institutions to develop strategies to promote viewpoint diversity and establish policies and procedures to include opportunities for education and research on free speech and civic education. Requires institutions to annually train employees on the separation of personal and political advocacy from an institution’s business and employment activities. Requires the Board to contract with a third party to conduct a campus climate survey. Requires the Board of Higher Education to monitor and report on compliance.

HB 278 – Inmate Education Amendments (Rep. Melissa G. Ballard, Sen. Luz Escamilla) — Requires USHE institutions to consider an inmate a state resident for tuition purposes during the time the inmate is enrolled in coursework and for one year after the day on which the inmate is released from a correctional facility. Requires institutions of higher education providing education to inmates to provide relevant academic and career advising services that are substantially similar to services provided to students who are not incarcerated.

HB 286 – State Aid for Scholarships (Rep. Karen Peterson, Sen. Michael McKell) — Requires that alumni legacy nonresident tuition waivers be given only once and applied to a student’s first full year of non-residency status, first two semesters of non-residency status, or first four quarters of non-residency status. Restricts eligibility to students with at least one parent who attended the institution (removes grandparents). HB 286 received a favorable recommendation from the House Education Committee on January 26. 

HB 310 – Teacher Education Qualifications Amendments (Rep. Ken Ivory) — Assigns the Utah Board of Higher Education the statutory responsibility to establish and maintain pathways for students who earn undergraduate degrees from a non-accredited institution into USHE institution graduate programs.

HB 335 – State Grant Process Amendments (Rep. Val Peterson) – Requires that a state grant recipient agree to deliverables, reporting, audit, and clawback requirements before receiving grant funds. Establishes a default disbursement schedule for grant funds and provides for review after a specified time for grants funded by ongoing appropriations. Provides requirements specific to direct award grants and competitive grants, including allowing the Legislative Fiscal Analyst, in consultation with the appropriations subcommittee, to provide feedback before an agency awards a competitive grant. 

HB 396 – Workplace Discrimination Amendments (Rep. Brady Brammer) – Prohibits an employer from compelling an employee to communicate or otherwise act in a manner that the employee believes would burden or offend the employee’s religious, moral, or conscientious beliefs. 

HB 405 – Medical Student Vaccine Amendments (Rep. Kera Birkeland, Sen. Wayne Harper) – Amends provisions related to vaccine and face covering requirements for students studying in a medical setting at an institution of higher education. 

HB 414 – Student Right to Counsel (Rep. Jordan Teuscher) – Applies to higher education non-academic disciplinary proceedings that can result in an individual student being expelled or suspended for at least 10 days or that can result in the suspension or removal of institutional recognition of a student organization. Establishes that institutions may not prohibit accused students, alleged victims, or accused student groups from being represented, at the student or student group’s expense, by legal representation or a non-attorney advocate. Requires institutions to ensure that an accused student, alleged victim, or accused student organization has access to all material evidence in the institution’s possession no later than one week before the proceeding begins. Requires institutions to notify accused students, alleged victims, and accused student groups of their rights under this section as soon as practicable but no later than seven days before a proceeding. Specifies that the attorney general may bring an action to enjoin a violation of this part against an institution or an institution’s agent acting in the agent’s official capacity. Provides for waivers of immunity. 

HJR 3 – House Joint Resolution Regarding Higher Education Accreditation (Rep. Douglas Welton) — Encourages the Commissioner of Higher Education to form a working group during the 2024 interim session, including staff from the Office of the Legislative Fiscal Analyst, to examine the feasibility of alternative accreditation options, including state-level accreditation, for USHE institutions. HJR 3 received a favorable recommendation from the House Education Committee on January 23.

SB 1 – Higher Education Base Budget (Sen. Keith Grover, Rep. Karen Peterson) has been signed by the Senate president and was sent to the Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel for enrolling. 

SB 78 – Higher Education for Incarcerated Youth Program Amendments (Rep. Kathleen Riebe) — Amends the Higher Education for Incarcerated Youth Program to include youth held in home detention or secure detention.

SB 115 – Higher Education Tuition Amendments (Sen. Ronald Winterton) — Makes children of military members eligible for in-state tuition if the student attended at least one year of 9th-12th grade at a Utah Local Education Agency (LEA).

SB 122 – Youth Apprenticeship Governance Amendments (Sen. Ann Millner, Rep. Tyler Clancy) – Creates a youth apprenticeship governance study. The bill received a favorable recommendation from the Senate Education Committee on January 25. 

SB 150 – Exercise of Religion Amendments (Sen. Todd Weiler) – Prohibits a government entity from taking action that substantially burdens an individual’s exercise of religion unless the burden is essential to furthering a compelling governmental interest and is the least restrictive means of furthering that interest. Prohibits government entities from treating religious conduct more restrictively than conduct of reasonably comparable risk. 

Media Inquiries

Trisha Dugovic
Communications Director
801.646.4779