2024 Legislative Update: Week 4

Utah State Capitol building on a cloudy day.

February 5-9, 2024

Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee

On Monday, February 5, the Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee heard presentations on the higher education space utilization master planConcurrent Enrollmentmy529simplified admissions, and state-funded financial aid.  

HEAS also heard the following requests for appropriations: 

On February 7, HEAS approved motions related to the Chairs’ proposed reductions and increases, proposed adjustments to Dedicated Credits, USHE requested internal reallocations, distribution of previously earned performance funding, vehicle expansion requests, intent language, special motions, and subcommittee proposed reallocations and increases. The committee also voted to fund 21 USHE-prioritized RFAs with reallocated funds and to advance 18 other RFAs to the Executive Appropriations Subcommittee for consideration. 

HEAS meetings have concluded for the 2024 General Session, and the committee’s recommendations will be considered by the Executive Appropriations Subcommittee. 

View All Previous HEAS Agendas & Materials

Legislation of Interest

Signed Into Law

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. 

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

In Progress

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 received a favorable recommendation from the Senate Education Committee on February 9.

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 Senate.

HB 111 – Employment Training Requirement Limitations (Rep. Tim Jimenez, Sen. Daniel McCay) — 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 House but failed to receive a favorable recommendation in the February 9 Senate Business and Labor Committee meeting.

HB 202, 1st Sub – Student Athlete Amendments (Rep. Jordan Teuscher) — This bill prohibits student athletes from entering 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. This bill received a favorable recommendation from the House Education Committee on February 9.

HB 208, 2nd Sub – Teacher Licensure Amendments (Rep. Norman Thurston, Sen. Lincoln Fillmore) — Amends qualifications of applicants for teacher licensure. Requires the Utah State Board of Education and Utah Board of Higher Education, in consultation with administrators and staff responsible for hiring licensed educators at an LEA or regional education service agency, to develop a strategy by 2028 for expanding traditional and alternative programs for training teachers. This bill received a favorable recommendation from the House Education Standing Committee on February 8.

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 received a favorable recommendation from the Senate Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee on February 1.

HB 247, 2nd Sub – Statewide Online Education Program Amendments (Rep. Dan Johnson, Sen. Ann Millner) — 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. This bill has passed the House and received a favorable recommendation from the Senate Education Committee on February 9.

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 286, 1st Sub – 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). This bill passed the House and received a favorable recommendation from the Senate Business and Labor Committee on February 9.

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, 1st Sub – 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. Provides requirements specific to direct award grants and competitive grants. This bill received a favorable recommendation from the House Government Operations Committee on February 8.

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 has passed the House and has been sent to the Senate Education Committee.

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 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 received a favorable recommendation from the House Judiciary Committee on February 2.

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. This bill has been sent to the House Judiciary Committee.

HB 414 – Student Right to Counsel (Rep. Jordan Teuscher) — Applies to higher education non-academic disciplinary proceedings (adjudicatory hearings in front of hearing officers or hearing panels) 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. This bill received a favorable recommendation from the House Judiciary Committee on February 9.

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. This bill has been sent to the House Business and Labor Committee.

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 or for program discontinuation or significant program modification, 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). This bill received a favorable recommendation from the House Education Standing Committee on February 8.

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.

HB 491 – Data Privacy Amendments (Rep. Jefferson Moss) — Describes governmental entity duties related to personal data privacy, including breach notification, limits on data collection and use, and the ability to correct and access personal data. Creates the state data privacy policy that outlines the broad data privacy goals for the state. Creates the Utah Privacy Governing Board to recommend changes in the state data privacy policy. Establishes the Office of Data Privacy to coordinate the implementation of privacy protections.

HB 493 – Concurrent Enrollment Participation Amendments (Rep. Ryan Wilcox) —Provides that certain private institutions may participate in the concurrent enrollment program and provides additional reporting requirements related to the right of first refusal.

HB 494 – Funds Administration Modifications (Rep. Jefferson Moss) — Provides, for endowment funds of higher education institutions (including funds of the Higher Education Student Success Endowment), the public body that administers certain funds may hold a closed meeting to discuss certain matters pertaining to the funds. The bill excludes certain information related to endowment funds from the Government Records Access and Management Act.

HB 506 – Higher Education Residency Amendments (Rep. Marsha Judkins) —Provides that individuals on U and T nonimmigrant status, and those who can provide evidence they have applied for U and T visas, may qualify for resident tuition at USHE institutions.

HJR 3, 1st Sub – Joint Resolution Regarding Higher Education Accreditation (Rep. Douglas Welton, Sen. Lincoln Fillmore) — 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 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 passed the Senate and has been sent to the House Education Committee.

SB 122 – Youth Apprenticeship Governance Amendments (Sen. Ann Millner, Rep. Tyler Clancy) — Creates a youth apprenticeship governance study. This bill has passed both the House and Senate and has been sent to the Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel for enrolling.

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 received a favorable recommendation from the Senate Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee on January 30.

SB 190, 1st Sub – 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. Prohibits a trustee from participating in a development action if the trustee or a family member owns an interest in, is directly affiliated with, or is an employee or officer of a private firm, private company, or other private entity that the board member reasonably believes is likely to participate in or receive a direct financial benefit from the development of land that is the subject of a development agreement. Requires trustees to disclose conflicts in writing to the board of trustees. This bill received a favorable recommendation from the Senate Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee on February 7.

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. This bill has been sent to the Senate Education Committee. 

SB 206 – Young Adult Service Fellowship (Sen. Ann Millner) — Creates the One Utah Service Fellowship to provide a one-year service opportunity to Utah high school graduates. Provides participants a living stipend and a tuition award, as well as guidance on educational, training, certification, and apprenticeship opportunities. This bill has been sent to the Senate Education Committee.

SB 223 – Youth Fee Waiver Amendments (Sen. Jen Plumb) — Requires the Utah Board of Higher Education to create policies requiring USHE institutions to waive transcript fees for students under the age of 26 who are experiencing homelessness, whose primary nighttime residence is not designed for or ordinarily used as a sleeping accommodation, who are in the custody of the Division and Child Family Services, or who were in the custody of DCFS but aged out of the program.

SB 226 – School of General Education Act (Sen. John Johnson) — Establishes a School of General Education in the University of Utah and specifies duties, authority, course requirements, and reporting requirements for the University of Utah School of General Education. Establishes core general education requirements for graduation (including credit hours and certain areas of study) for associate and bachelor’s degrees at all USHE degree-granting institutions. Prohibits core curriculum from including, requiring, or awarding credit for student participation in civic advocacy, lobbying, or public policy activism.

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. This bill received a favorable recommendation from the Senate Education Committee on February 8.

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