February 27 – March 3, 2023
The 2023 Legislative Session ended Friday, March 3, at midnight. Governor Cox hosted an end-of-session press conference that was posted to Gov. Cox’s YouTube channel. At the time of this update, Gov. Cox has signed 26 pieces of legislation from the 2023 General Legislative Session to date. This week, he signed 11 additional bills. Information on the bills signed this week is below.
- SB 136: Legislative Offices Amendments
- HB 59: First Responder Mental Health Amendments
- SB 44: Reading Software Amendments
- SCR 1: Concurrent Resolution Supporting the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act
- SCR 3: Concurrent Resolution Encouraging Support for the Listen and Explain Cooperate and Communicate Campaign
- HB 22: Local District Amendments
- HB 77: Local District Reviews
- HB 119: Charitable Organization Registration
- HB 146: Sex Offender Restricted Area Amendments
- SCR 2: Environmental Impact of Vehicle Idling
- SCR 4: Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Awareness and Screening
As the 2023 General Legislative Session comes to a close, a first review of primary appropriations acts reveals nothing short of an outstanding year for higher education funding. Select new funding items and detail are summarized below, with a more comprehensive report to be presented to the Utah Board of Higher Education at its upcoming meeting on March 24.
- Salary and Benefits: House Bill 8 S1, State Agency and Higher Education Compensation Appropriations, includes funding to support a discretionary 8.75% general salary increase for higher education employees and parity with state employees for health and dental benefit cost increases.
- Tuition Freeze Offset: In addition, a 12.5% increase in state cost sharing for degree-granting institutions was provided in the final appropriations adjustment bill (Feb. 24, EAC Item 147 and March 2, EAC Item 84) to help offset the costs of this year’s tuition freeze.
Technical Colleges & Degree-Granting Institutions
- Technical College Growth and Capacity: $10,467,100 in ongoing funding
- Technical College Equipment: $3,000,000 in one-time funding
- Technical College Custom Fit: $500,000 in ongoing funding
- Degree-Granting Institution Performance Funding: $35,000,000 in ongoing funding*
- Degree-Granting Institution Growth Funding: $604,000 in ongoing funding
- Targeted Workforce Development in Computer Science and Healthcare: $9,000,000 in ongoing funding
- Public Safety Officer Scholarship Program: $5,000,000 in one-time funding
- Behavioral Health Workforce Initiative: $931,300 in one-time and $1,167,800 in ongoing funding**
- Internal Service Fund Rate Payments: $5,290,200 in ongoing funding
Requested Capital Project Funding
- All of the Board’s capital development priorities were included in the proposed funding items, including the following:
- Mountainland Technical College – Wasatch Campus
- University of Utah – Computing and Engineering Building
- Degree-Granting Institution Dedicated Project Proposals
- Board requested landbanks
In addition, there was $110 million appropriated to the Division of Facilities Construction and Management to cover inflation and cost escalation on previously approved construction projects.
Select Institution Funding Items
University of Utah
- Fort Douglas Real Property Transfer: $100,000,000 in one-time funding
- University of Utah West Valley Hospital: $25,000,000 in one-time funding
- Huntsman Mental Health Crisis Receiving Center: $6,000,000 in one-time funding
- Long COVID Clinic: $4,000,000 in one-time funding
Utah State University
- ASPIRE Institute Electric Vehicle Infrastructure: $2,100,000 in ongoing funding
- Electric Train Research: $6,000,000 in one-time funding
- Utah Earthquake Engineering Center: $2,500,000 in one-time funding
- Agriculture and Small Business Innovation/Sustainability: $1,110,000 in one-time funding
- Utah Women and Leadership Project: $500,000 in ongoing funding
Utah Valley University
- UVU Lehi Campus for Health Professionals Renovations: $4,000,000 in one-time funding
- Civic Thought and Leadership Initiative: $900,000 in one-time and $875,000 in ongoing funding.
- Native American Excellence Opportunity: $1,506,700 in one-time and $503,500 in ongoing funding.
Utah Tech University
- Innovation Lab: $400,000 in ongoing funding
- Digital Forensics Crime Lab: $100,000 in one-time funding
Weber State University
- Missile & Energy Research Center (MERC): $20,000,000 in one-time funding
- Farmington Station Infrastructure: $5,300,000 in one-time funding
Southern Utah University
- Helen Foster Snow Cultural Center: $300,000 in one-time funding
- Utah Rural Leadership Academy: $155,600 in ongoing funding
- Innovative Agricultural Center: $1,500,000 in one-time funding
- Rural Technical Training Outreach: $324,400 in one-time and $175,700 in ongoing funding
Salt Lake Community College
- SLCC Scholarships: $250,000 in ongoing funding
Dixie Technical College
- Washington County Bond Defeasance: $7,479,400 in one-time funding
Note that the funding items listed above are subject to change or correction pending final passage and enactment of all 2023 General Session appropriations acts and a comprehensive review by the Commissioner’s office prior to the March 24 higher education Board meeting.
*Degree-Granting Performance Funding was appropriated one-time in FY 2024 and ongoing in FY 2025
**The Behavioral Health Workforce Initiative Funding is to be allocated to Utah State University, Weber State University, Utah Valley University, and the University of Utah.
Legislation of Interest
HB 8 – State Agency and Higher Education by Rep. Spendlove — Provides funding for a 5% labor market increase for state employees; provides funding for a 3.75% targeted compensation increases for state employees; provides funding for an average 2.5% discretionary pay increases for state employees; provides funding for an 8.75% discretionary compensation increase for higher education employees; provides funding for an average 7.2% increase in health insurance benefits rates and 0.9% increase in dental insurance benefits rates for state and higher education employees; provides funding for discretionary compensation increase for offices of the Legislature, statewide elected officials, and the Judiciary; provides funding for an up-to $26 per pay period 401(k) match for qualifying state employees; and provides funding for other compensation adjustments as authorized.
HB 19 – Rape Crisis Modifications by Rep. Romero — Amends definitions relating to rape crisis centers and sexual assault counselors. Edited, in part, to state that “rape crisis and services center does not include a qualified institutional victim services provider as defined in Section 53B-28-201”.
HB 26 – License Plate Amendments by Rep. Thurston — Amends provisions regarding standard license plates; creates the sponsored special group license plate program and changes the process to establish a new special group license plate; provides for continuation of special group license plates that were created by a legislative act; establishes eligibility criteria for different categories of sponsored special group license plates; allows a county to exempt a motor vehicle from an emissions inspection under certain circumstances; creates a restricted account to administer existing fees related to license plates and vehicle registration; repeals certain restricted accounts and other provisions related to license plate.
HB 42 – Technology Commercialization Amendments by Rep. Stenquist — Establishes the Utah Innovation Lab (innovation lab). Qualified business means, in part, a business entity that is established to commercialize a technology, product, or service developed through a technology commercialization program at an institution of higher education described in Section 53B-1-102. The Utah innovation fund shall, subject to board approval, make qualified investments. The board of directors will include, in part, one individual who represents technology commercialization initiatives within the Utah System of Higher Education, appointed by the Commissioner of Higher Education, or the individual’s designee.
HB 67 – Title 71A – Veterans and Military Affairs by Rep. Burton — As it relates to institutions of higher education, makes technical changes for the term “service member.”
HB 78 – Behavioral Health Treatment Access Amendments by Rep. Eliason — Beginning January 1, 2024, a health benefit plan that offers coverage for mental health treatment shall, upon request of a health benefit plan enrollee who is employed as a health care provider, offer a single case agreement that allows the enrollee to receive covered mental health treatment from an out-of-network mental health provider selected by the enrollee.
HB 102 – Education Residency Amendments by Rep. Teuscher — Amends higher education residency provisions by requiring an institution to grant residency status to an individual who is not a citizen of the U.S. but has been granted or has applied for certain immigration status.
HB 109 – Veteran Dependent Tuition Amendments by Rep. Musselman — Provides the conditions under which a state institution of higher education is required to waive undergraduate tuition for the dependent of a disabled veteran.
HB 116 – Intergenerational Poverty Solution by Rep. Thurston — Creates the Education Savings Incentive Program (the program), including: providing a process for an individual identified by the Department of Workforce Services as experiencing intergenerational poverty to receive a state match of deposits into certain 529 savings accounts; providing for the sharing of information between the Department of Workforce Services, the Utah Educational Savings Plan, and the State Tax Commission; and requiring the Department of Workforce Services and the Utah Educational Savings Plan to provide information about the program to the Legislature through the department’s annual report.
HB 131 – Vaccine Passport Prohibition by Rep. Brooks — Makes it unlawful for a place of public accommodation to discriminate against an individual based on the individual’s immunity status; with certain exceptions, prohibits a governmental entity from requiring proof of immunity status; with certain exceptions, makes it unlawful discrimination for an employer to require proof of immunity status; and prohibits a governmental entity or employer from requiring an individual to receive a vaccine.
HB 197 – Higher Education Financial Amendments by Rep. Clancy — Allows a president of a state institution of higher education to waive tuition for students who are members of certain tribes; extends the length of eligibility for promise grants; allows the Utah Board of Higher Education to name a promise partner grant after a business that has funded the grant; extends promise partner grants to dependents of promise partner employees; allows Veterans Tuition Gap Program funds to be applied to education-related supplies and housing allowances.
HB 199 – Voluntary Firearm Safekeepking Amendments by Rep. Cutler — Prohibits a law enforcement agency that receives a firearm from the owner or the owner’s cohabitant for safekeeping from returning the firearm to the owner if the owner:
- is a restricted person; or
- is alleged to have committed a domestic violence offense and is subject to a jail release agreement or a jail release court order;
directs the Department of Public Safety to create a pamphlet detailing a domestic violence victim’s rights to commit the perpetrator’s firearm to a law enforcement agency under certain circumstances.
HB 230 – Center for Medical Cannabis Research by Rep. Dailey-Provost — Creates the Center for Medical Cannabis Research (center) within the University of Utah.
HB 234 – University Recognition for International Baccalaureate Achievement by Rep. Spackman — Amends the Board’s requirement for acceptance of credit for prior learning; requires institutions to award credit for International subject scores under certain circumstances; allows institutions, in collaboration with the International Baccalaureate State Association and school International Baccalaureate program coordinators, to determine to what degree requirements the credit will be awarded; requires the Board to consult with the International Baccalaureate State Association and school International Baccalaureate program coordinators to develop policies regarding standards for awarding International Baccalaureate program credits.
HB 238 – Political Party Public Meetings Facilities by Rep. Brammer — Amends the use of public meeting buildings by political parties to include public institutions of higher education.
HB 278 – First Responder Mental Health Services Grant by Rep. Wilcox — Creates the First Responder Mental Health Services Grant Program to be administered by the Utah Board of Higher Education to provide grants for specific retirees who are studying at certain educational institutions to become mental health therapists.
HB 281 – Social Credit Score Amendments by Rep. Acton — Prohibits a governmental entity from using, enforcing, providing data for use in, or otherwise participating in the creation or use of a system that, based on a social credit score, discriminates against, advocates for, or causes adverse or preferential treatment of a person.
HB 302 – Cultural and Community Engagement Amendments by Rep. Spendlove — A political subdivision or state institution of higher education may submit to the division a digital copy of any information the political subdivision or state institution of higher education makes available to the public. With respect to information submitted to the division by political subdivisions and state institutions of higher education, the division may select the information the division considers appropriate for permanent public access in the digital library.
HB 318 – Prime Pilot Programs Amendment by Rep. Petersen — Changes the PRIME Pilot Program to an ongoing program; clarifies the types of courses required for a student to earn the LAUNCH certificate, DISCOVER breadth certificate, or TRANSFORM general education certificate; requires the Utah Board of Higher Education to award a scholarship to a student who earns the TRANSFORM general education certificate; requires the state board to create a funding formula for LEAs that participate in the program.
HB 319 – Uintah Basin Air Quality Research Project Amendments by Rep. Chew — This bill appropriates in fiscal year 2024: to Utah State University – Bingham Entrepreneurship and Energy Research Center – Uintah Basin Air Quality Research Project as an ongoing appropriation: from the General Fund Restricted — Infrastructure and Economic Diversification Investment Account, $150,000.
HB 322 – Budget Reporting Requirements by Rep. Ballard — Requires a state agency to submit a report to a legislative appropriations subcommittee that describes the agency’s plan to expend the agency’s non-lapsing appropriation balance; when a state agency is subject to an accountable budget process, requires the agency to evaluate the agency’s internal budget processes and controls and report the results to a legislative appropriations subcommittee.
HB 324 – Workplace Violence Protective Orders by Rep. Clancy — Allows an employer to petition for a workplace violence protective order; requires an employer to notify certain individuals when seeking a workplace violence protective order; establishes relief a court may include as part of a workplace violence protective order; requires a court to take certain action after issuing a workplace violence protective order; establishes circumstances under which a court may modify or vacate a workplace violence protective order; requires a court to set a date for a hearing on a workplace violence protective order within a certain time period; establishes provisions related to the service, expiration, modification, and extension of a workplace violence protective order.
HB 335 – Alternative Concurrent Enrollment Options for Capacity Flexibility by Rep. Wilcox — Provides that a local education agency (LEA) may contract with a non-designated institution of higher education to provide concurrent enrollment courses under certain circumstances.
HB 343 – Records Modifications by Rep. Moss — In part, modifies the duties and training of a records officer; requires the appointment of one or more privacy officers for an executive branch agency to fulfill certain duties relating to the agency’s records; requires the appointment of one or more security officers for an executive branch agency to assess, coordinate, and manage cybersecurity for the agency; modifies individual rights with respect to records that may be classified as private or controlled or that may contain personal identifying information; changes the title of the “government operations privacy officer” to the “chief privacy officer.”
HB 355 – Utah Data Research Center Amendments by Rep. Petersen — Adds the Department of Commerce to the Utah Data Research Advisory Board as a participating entity and advisory board member.
HB 394 – Grant Funding for Supplemental Educational Opportunities by Rep. Peterson — Establishes and provides funding for the Boost Up Supplemental Grant Program (program); provides requirements for program eligibility and the use of program funds; requires the State Board of Education (state board) to: administer the program, including facilitating payment to program service providers; create an online platform to facilitate program services; and annually report to the Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee regarding the program. The board may appoint an institution of higher education as a service provider.
HB 426 – Statewide Energy Policy Amendments by Rep. Moss — Requires the Office of Energy Development to prepare a strategic energy plan; creates the Utah Energy Research Grant Program and gives the Office of Energy Development the authority to administer the grant program; and creates the Utah Energy Research Fund. The strategic plan shall include private and public institutions of higher education within the state conducting energy-related research.
HB 555 – Talent Ready Utah Program Modifications by Rep. Moss — Provides that a public school student participating in a youth apprenticeship is considered a volunteer government worker for purposes of workers’ compensation and risk management; provides that an internship through an institution of higher education or public or private school may be with compensation; provides that an intern participating in an internship through an institution of higher education or public school is considered a volunteer government worker for purposes of workers’ compensation and risk management; creates an apprenticeship intermediary position to foster relationships between the Talent Ready Utah Program, local education agencies, and industry partners.
SB 8 – State Agency Fees and Internal Service Fund Rate Authorization and Appropriations by Sen. Ipson — Provides budget increases and decreases for the use and support of certain state agencies and institutions of higher education.
SB 18 – Public Expression Protection Act by Sen Bramble — Except as provided in Subsection (3), this chapter applies to a cause of action asserted in a civil action against a person based on the person’s: (a) communication in a legislative, executive, judicial, administrative, or other governmental proceeding; (b) communication on an issue under consideration or review in a legislative, executive, judicial, administrative, or other governmental proceeding; or (c) exercise of the right of freedom of speech or of the press, the right to assemble or petition, or the right of association, guaranteed by the United States Constitution or Utah Constitution, on a matter of public concern. (3) This chapter does not apply to a cause of action asserted: (a) against a governmental unit or an employee or agent of a governmental unit acting or purporting to act in an official capacity. On a motion for expedited relief to dismiss the cause of action, the court shall award court costs, reasonable attorney fees, and reasonable litigation expenses related to the motion: (1) to the moving party if the moving party prevails on the motion; or(2) to the responding party if the responding party prevails on the motion and the court finds that the motion was frivolous or filed solely with intent to delay the proceeding.
SB 43 – Public Notice Requirements by Sen. Pitcher — Changes requirements for proposed tuition increases — Notice — Hearings.
SB 47 – Incarcerated Youth Education Amendments by Sen. Owens — Clarifies a definition related to the Utah Tech University Higher Education for Incarcerated Youth Program.
SB 55 – Public School Instructional Materials by Sen. Fillmore — Requires a process for a local school board or charter school governing board to follow if the board chooses to adopt or approve instructional materials for classroom use across the school district or charter school; requires local school boards and charter school governing boards to adopt policies to provide guidance to educators on the use of certain learning materials that have not been adopted or approved under the open process; requires that contracts for online or digital learning materials include a requirement for notice if the provider changes the content of the materials.
SB 89 – Utah Retirement Amendments by Sen. Harper — Requires an employer to automatically enroll a newly hired benefit-eligible state employee to make a biweekly contribution to a Utah Retirement Systems 401(k) retirement savings account in an amount equal to the amount that is eligible for an employer match; and allows an employee to modify the automatic enrollment, including:
- opting out of automatic enrollment;
- changing the amount of a contribution; and
- changing the Utah Retirement Services retirement savings account into which the contribution is made.
SB 96 – Fiduciary Duty Modifications by Sen. Wilson — Requires a person who manages or invests funds on behalf of a governmental entity or votes on an ownership share in a governmental entity to consider only certain factors; creates a rebuttable presumption that a person did not comply with the requirement to consider only certain factors under certain circumstances; addresses proxy voting requirements within a governmental entity; and requires a governmental entity to compile and publicly provide proxy voting reports.
SB 97 – Public Contract Requirements by Sen. Wilson — Subject to exceptions, prohibits a public entity from entering into a contract with a company that engages in certain environmental boycott actions.
SB 117 – Domestic Violence Amendments by Sen. Weiler — Requires a law enforcement officer to conduct a lethality assessment when responding to a report of domestic violence between intimate partners; describes the protocol for a lethality assessment; requires a law enforcement officer who conducts a lethality assessment to: include the results of the assessment with a probable cause statement and incident report; and submit the results to the Department of Public Safety; requires the Department of Public Safety to: develop and maintain a reporting mechanism by which law enforcement can submit lethality assessment data; provide analytical support to a law enforcement officer who submits the results of a lethality assessment.
SB 125 – Transportation Infrastructure Amendments by Sen. Wilson —Designates the ASPIRE Engineering Research Center at Utah State University as the research center for strategic planning for electrification of transportation infrastructure in this state; creates a steering committee and requires the creation of an industry advisory board to assist in the direction of the research center and initiative; provides duties of the steering committee, industry advisory board, and the research center; requires reports on the proposed action plan and goals of the initiative.
SB 127 – Cybersecurity Amendments by Sen. Harper — A governmental entity shall contact the Utah Cyber Center as soon as practicable when the governmental entity becomes aware of a breach of system security. The Utah Cyber Center shall provide the governmental entity with assistance in responding to the breach of system security, which may include:(a) conducting all or part of the investigation required under Subsection 13-44-202(1)(a);(b) assisting law enforcement with the law enforcement investigation if needed;(c) determining the scope of the breach of system security;(d) assisting the governmental entity in restoring the reasonable integrity of the system; or(e) providing any other assistance in response to the reported breach of system security. Beginning January 1, 2025, a governmental entity shall use an authorized top-level domain (gov, edu, mil) for:(a) the website address for the governmental entity’s government website; and(b) the email addresses used by the governmental entity and the governmental entity’s employees.
SB 128 – Public Safety Officer Scholarship Program by Sen. Ipson — Creates a public safety officer scholarship program for high school graduates.
SB 136 – Legislative Office Amendments by Sen. Bramble — When requested by the Office of the Legislative Auditor General, each entity that the legislative auditor general is authorized to audit under Utah Constitution shall, notwithstanding any other provision of law, provide the office with immediate access to information, materials, or resources the office determines is necessary to conduct an audit, examination, investigation, or review.
SB 146 – Higher Education Amendments by Sen. Millner — removes an exception for public employment of a relative under certain circumstances; creates, within the University of Utah, the Office of the Commissioner of the Utah System of Higher Education and the Utah Board of Higher Education for the purposes of shared administrative services; amends the duties of the Commissioner and various aspects of the Board, including membership and duties, nominating and appointment process; repeals requirements regarding the establishment of certain committees; amends provisions regarding the employment, support, and evaluation of institution of higher education presidents; amends provisions regarding the approval of programs; requires the Board to engage in certain program and discipline reviews; amends provisions regarding the set aside and reallocation of new performance funding; repeals obsolete provisions regarding past requirements.
SB 194 – Higher Education Funding Amendments by Sen. Vickers — Authorizes certain public and private entities to provide money to the Higher Education Student Success Endowment; creates the Utah Higher Education Savings Board of Trustees to act as fiduciary for the Utah Education Savings Plan; allows the board to hold a closed meeting to discuss certain fiduciary or commercial information.
SB 225 – Commercial Email Act by Sen. Cullimore — Enacts the Utah Commercial Email Act that: prohibits an advertiser or a person initiating an email from sending unauthorized or misleading commercial emails from this state or to an email address within this state; creates a cause of action for the Office of the Attorney General, the electronic mail service provider, the recipient of the unsolicited commercial email, and any person whose brand, trademark, email address, or domain name is used without permission to recover damages related to unauthorized or misleading commercial emails; and permits the prevailing party to recover attorney fees and costs in an action related to unauthorized or misleading commercial emails.
SB 231 – Government Records Access and Management Act by Sen. Bramble — Provides that a governmental entity is not required to create a document indicating that a requested record does not exist; requires a governmental entity to conduct a reasonable search for a record; requires a person outside of a governmental entity who makes a claim of business confidentiality for a record the person provided to a governmental entity to indemnify the governmental entity in an action arising from the governmental entity’s denial of access to the record; provides that a governmental entity’s failure to provide access to a record is not an access denial if the failure to provide access is because the governmental entity: does not retain the record; does not retain a record that is responsive to the request; or is not required by the act to respond to or fill the request; limits judicial review of an appeal to the State Records Committee (committee) to the issues raised before the committee.
SB 245 – Close Public Meeting Amendments by Sen. Bramble — Includes the consideration of a loan application among the reasons for which a meeting of a public body may be closed, if public discussion of the loan application would disclose certain nonpublic information.
SB 265 – Education Data Privacy Amendments by Sen. Anderegg — Prohibits the sharing of certain student data; extends a deadline for the state board regarding data integration with a local education agency (LEA); allows an LEA to request from the State Board of Education the name and address of a student who is not enrolled in the LEA; prohibits an education entity from sharing student data with a federal agency, except as required by federal law.
SB 273 – State Settlement Agreements Requirements by Sen. Ipson — Requires notice of certain settlements be provided to the Legislative Management Committee; adjusts thresholds for executive and legislative approval of settlement agreements involving the state or the state’s subdivisions; clarifies that final approval is contingent upon receipt of approvals of lower threshold amounts; requires the Legislature’s general counsel to receive notice of and updates on negotiation proceedings, and permits the general counsel to attend negotiations in some circumstances; requires notice of certain settlements to be sent to the Legislative Management Committee.
SB 296 – Performance Reporting and Efficiency Process by Sen. Ipson — Increases the threshold for a funding item that requires a performance measure; requires the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget and the Office of the Legislative Fiscal Analyst to compile and provide to executive agencies a list of funding items passed each session; clarifies the process for finalizing an executive agency’s proposed performance measures; modifies the requirements of the efficiency improvement process; clarifies the role of the legislative auditor general in the review and response to an efficiency evaluation.
SB 297 – Revenue Bond and Capital Facilities Amendments by Sen. Wilson — Addresses the use of money appropriated to the State Store Land Acquisition and Building Construction Fund; and expresses the Legislature’s intent relating to the Utah Board of Higher Education’s issuance, sale, and delivery of revenue bonds to finance the construction of: the West Village Family and Graduate Housing Phase Two at the University of Utah; the Undergraduate Student Housing project at the University of Utah; the South Campus Garage at the University of Utah; the John and Marcia Price Computing and Engineering project at the University of Utah; the South Campus Residence Hall at Utah State University; and the South Campus Parking Terrace project at Utah State University.
SRJ 10 – Proposal to Amend Utah Constitution – Income Tax by Sen. McCay — Removes the following: [(5) All revenue from taxes on intangible property or from a tax on income shall be47 used:] 48 [(a) to support the systems of public education and higher education as defined in49 Article X, Section 2; and] 50 [(b) to support children and to support individuals with a disability.]