2024 Legislative Update: Week 3

Utah State Capitol building on a cloudy day.

January 29 – February 2, 2024

Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee & Infrastructure and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee

The Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee heard institutional presentations from the University of UtahUtah State University, and Utah Tech UniversityUtah State University and the University of Utah also jointly facilitated a presentation on the impact of research from R1 institutions. The committee heard a presentation on the economic and fiscal impacts of higher education from the Commissioner’s office and the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, presentations from the Commissioner’s office regarding shared services and the Utah College Advising Corps, and a presentation from the Commissioner’s office and the Utah Office of the State Treasurer on the Student Success Endowment.

HEAS also heard the following requests for appropriations:

The Infrastructure and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee heard presentations on January 31 regarding USHE capital budget requests.

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 passed both the House and Senate.

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. This bill passed the House and has been sent to the Senate.

HB 67, 1st Sub – 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. This bill passed the House and is currently in the Senate.

HB 111 – Employment Training Requirement Limitations (Rep. Tim Jimenez) — Amendments made on February 1 clarify that training can occur on specified concepts, but, for purposes of employment discrimination, employers cannot compel or require a written document or attestation professing an adherence to or belief in certain concepts. This bill passed the 3rd reading in the House.

HB 202 – Student Athlete Amendments (Rep. Jordan Teuscher) — A substitute to HB 202 has been posted online but, as of the morning of February 5, has not yet been adopted. Substitute language would remove most provisions of the original bill. First substitute specifies that student athletes may not enter into contracts in which they endorse prohibited products, including alcohol, tobacco, controlled substances, sexually-oriented businesses, gambling, and firearms the student cannot legally purchase. Requires student athletes to submit agreements that exceed $600 to their institution, and the institution must inform the student in writing if the contract violates institutional policy. Specifies that student athletes’ agreements and communications pertaining to their agreements are not subject to the Government Records Access Management Act (GRAMA). Specifies that an institution may not use funds appropriated by the Legislature for any purposes related to current and prospective student athlete’s agreements.

Original bill contained language that 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 208 – Teacher Licensure Amendments (Rep. Norman Thurston, Sen. Lincoln Fillmore) — Amends qualifications of applicants for teacher licensure. A proposed 1stsubstitute (not yet adopted) requires the Utah State Board of Education and Utah Board of Higher Education to develop, by 2028, a strategy for expanding traditional and alternative programs for training teachers. The House has sent this bill to the House Education Standing Committee.

HB 244, 3rd Sub – Office of Legislative Auditor General Requirements (Rep. Jefferson Burton, Sen. Michael McKell) — Requires an entity that the Office of the Legislative Auditor General audits to waive any privilege that would otherwise entitle the entity to withhold information. Clarifies that OLAG’s request for data and materials from the Utah Data Research Center in connection with an audit of an entity is not a data research request or a request for a data set and requires UDRC to provide OLAG with data and materials that are not de-identified at no cost to OLAG. This bill passed the House and is currently in the Senate.

HB 247, 2nd Sub – Statewide Online Education Program Amendments (Rep. Dan Johnson) — Requires the Utah State Board of Education and the Utah Board of Higher Education to study funding structures and access barriers related to concurrent enrollment for the Statewide Online Education Program and provide recommendations to the Education Interim Committee no later than the committee’s November 2024 meeting. This bill received a favorable recommendation from the House Education Standing Committee on January 31.

HB 248, 1st Sub – Inmate Amendments (Rep. Melissa G. Ballard, Sen. Derrin Owens — The 1st substitute for this bill incorporates language previously found in HB 278 requiring 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 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) – The Governor has signed this bill. 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) — The Governor has signed this bill. 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 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 287 – Advanced Degree Scholarship Program (Rep. Carol Spackman Moss) — Enacts an advanced degree scholarship program for educators who pursue advanced degrees in education and grants the State Board of Education rulemaking authority to create and administer the program.

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, Sen. Jerry Stevenson) — 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. This bill has been sent to the House Government Operations Committee.

HB 346 – Talent Ready Utah Program Amendments (Rep. Jefferson Moss, Sen. Chris Wilson) — Defines terms and makes technical and conforming changes related to Talent Ready Utah. This bill received a favorable recommendation from the House Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee on January 31.

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. Creates exceptions to protect the employer’s core mission, the employer’s ability to conduct business in an effective or financially responsible manner, and the employer’s ability to provide training and safety instruction for the job. This bill has been sent to the House Judiciary Committee.

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. 

HB 425 – Health Insurance Benefit Amendments (Rep. Norman Thurston) — Modifies network requirements for a health maintenance organization. Requires a pharmacy benefit manager to pass through pharmaceutical rebates to health benefit plans. Requires a health benefit plan to ensure pharmaceutical rebates are used for certain purposes. Enacts provisions related to network requirements for pharmacy benefit managers.

HB 438 – Higher Education Revisions (Rep. Karen Peterson) — Requires a president of a degree-granting institution to make policies regarding tenure and post-tenure review. Describes certain minimum requirements for tenure and post-tenure review, including protections for academic freedom, processes for dismissing a tenured faculty member for cause, and more. Requires each institutional president to report annually to the Utah Board of Higher Education no later than October 1 with information from the previous year, including the number of post-tenure reviews completed, analysis of scores from post-tenure reviews (with personal information redacted), the number of post-tenure reviews that resulted in a remediation plan, a qualitative summary of the types of remediation plans created, including average timeline by which faculty are expected to address deficiencies, and, if applicable, a summary of written justification to keep tenured faculty who did not address deficiencies (personal information redacted). The House has sent this bill to the House Education Standing Committee.

HB 460 – Government Employee Conscience Protection Amendments (Rep. Michael Petersen) — Requires a governmental entity to grant an employee’s request to be relieved from performing a certain task if granting the request would not place an undue hardship on the governmental entity. Creates protections for employees who request to be relieved from a certain task. Creates a cause of action for a government employee whose request to be relieved from performing a certain task was denied. Authorizes the attorney general in certain circumstances to file suit on behalf of an employee whose request to be relieved from a certain task was denied.

HJR 3, 1st Sub – 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 passed the House and is currently in the Senate.

SB 1 – Higher Education Base Budget (Sen. Keith Grover, Rep. Karen Peterson) — This bill has been signed by the Governor. 

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. This bill received a favorable recommendation from the Senate Education Committee on January 25.

SB 115 – Higher Education Tuition Amendments (Sen. Ronald Winterton, Rep. Mike Kohler) — 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). This bill received a favorable recommendation from the Senate Education Committee on January 25.

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. The bill has passed the Senate, and the House has sent the bill to the House Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee.

SB 150, 1st Sub – 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. This bill receives a favorable recommendation from the Senate Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee on January 30.

SB 190 – Higher Education Development Areas (Sen. Chris Wilson) — Authorizes certain higher education institutions to designate a development area consisting of property owned by the institution with the approval of the institution’s board of trustees.

SB 192 – Higher Education Amendments (Sen. Ann Millner) — Amends certain statutory responsibilities assigned to the Board of Higher Education and shifts responsibility to institutions to better align with the Board’s role as a governing board. Combines related provisions of presidential powers between technical colleges and degree-granting institutions. Amends the statutes governing performance metrics and performance funding. Creates a requirement to demonstrate evidence of implementation of shared services within a specified period of time. Allows Talent Ready Utah to create talent advisory councils for talent initiatives. Amends requirements related to operations and maintenance funding requests. Makes technical and conforming changes. 

SJR 15 Joint Rules Resolution – Higher Education Operation and Maintenance Costs (Sen. Ann Millner) — Requires the Executive Appropriations Committee to hear a report on construction inflation and the operation and maintenance costs of certain higher education capital development projects and decide whether to address any operation and maintenance costs of the capital development projects.

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