Final 2024 Legislative Update: Week 7

Utah State Capitol building

February 26  March 1, 2024

Executive Appropriations Subcommittee

On February 23, the Executive Appropriations Committee adopted the FY 2024 and FY 2025 budget projections and took action to adopt proposed funding items and intent language for the 2024 General Session budget. See the EAC’s proposed funding items and the list of consolidated motions. EAC’s final meeting took place on February 29, where the committee approved additional funding items and end-of-session budget actions.

Legislation of Interest

(PASSED) HB 3 – Appropriations Adjustments (Rep. Val Peterson, Sen. Jerry Stevenson) — This bill supplements or reduces appropriations otherwise provided for the support and operation of state government for the fiscal year beginning on July 1, 2023, and ending on June 30, 2024, and for the fiscal year beginning on July 1, 2024, and ending on June 30, 2025.

(PASSED) 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 the House and Senate.

(PASSED) HB 29, 2nd Sub – 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 Senate.

(PASSED) 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.

(PASSED) HB 202, 1st Sub – Student Athlete Amendments (Rep. Jordan Teuscher, Sen. Chris H. Wilson) — 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, including those made before May 1, 2024, 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 passed the House and Senate.

(PASSED) 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 a Utah Local Education Agency (LEA) or regional education service agency, to develop a strategy by 2028 for expanding traditional and alternative programs for training teachers. This bill passed the House and Senate.

(PASSED) HB 244, 4th Sub – Office of Legislative Auditor General Requirements (Rep. Jefferson Burton, Sen. Michael McKell) — Establishes requirements related to the Office of the Legislator Auditor General. 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 has passed the House and Senate.

(PASSED) HB 247, 4th 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 passed the House and Senate.

(PASSED) HB 248, 2nd Sub – Inmate Amendments (Rep. Melissa G. Ballard, Sen. Derrin Owens) — 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 degree-granting 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 Senate.

(NOT PASSED) 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.

(PASSED) 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. 

(PASSED) 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. 

(PASSED) 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 has passed the House and Senate.

(NOT PASSED) 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.

(NOT PASSED) 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.

(PASSED) HB 335, 4th 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 passed the House and Senate.

(PASSED) HB 346 – Talent Ready Utah Program Amendments (Rep. Jefferson Moss, Sen. Ann Millner) — Defines terms and makes technical and conforming changes related to Talent Ready Utah. This bill has passed the House and Senate.

(PASSED) HB 396, 1st Sub – Workplace Discrimination Amendments (Rep. Brady Brammer, Sen. Michael Kennedy) — 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 sincerely held 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. Provides a process for an employer to accommodate an employee’s religious liberties. This bill passed the House and Senate.

(PASSED) HB 405, 1st Sub – Public Health Amendments (Rep. Kera Birkeland, Sen. Wayne Harper) — Modifies state law 53B-2-113 that prohibits higher education institutions from requiring students to be vaccinated or wear masks as a condition of attendance or enrollment. Specifies that 53B-2-113 does not apply to a student studying in a medical setting if the institution of higher education provides the student the same rights under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act to seek an exemption from a vaccination mandate or face covering mandates as the institution provides to a health care professional employed by the institution of higher education. This bill passed the House and Senate.

(PASSED) HB 414, 1st Sub – Student Right to Counsel (Rep. Jordan Teuscher, Sen. Todd Weiler) — 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 certain evidence (journals and medical and therapy-related records) cannot be used in student disciplinary proceedings and clarifies that evidence used in student disciplinary proceedings is confidential and may not be used in subsequent proceedings or disclosed to a third party other than for the purpose of the 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. Amends government immunity provisions. This bill passed the House and Senate.

(NOT PASSED) HB 425, 2nd Sub – Health Insurance Benefit Amendments (Rep. Norman Thurston, Sen. Curtis S. Bramble) — 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 pharmacy network requirements for health benefit plans. Requires pharmacy benefit managers to offer certain options to self-funded benefit plans. This bill passed the House but did not pass the Senate.

(PASSED) HB 438, 2nd Sub – Higher Education Revisions (Rep. Karen Peterson, Sen. Evan J. Vickers) — Requires a president of a degree-granting institution, in consultation with the Board of Trustees, 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, appeals processes, 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 passed the House and Senate.

(PASSED) HB 460, 3rd Sub – Government Employee Conscience Protection Amendments (Rep. Michael Petersen, Sen. Todd Weiler) — Requires a governmental entity to grant an employee’s request to be relieved from performing a certain task if the task violates the employee’s conscience as defined in the bill and 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. This bill passed the House and Senate.

(PASSED) HB 491, 3rd Sub – Data Privacy Amendments (Rep. Jefferson Moss, Sen. Kirk Cullimore) — 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. This bill passed the House and Senate.

(PASSED) HB 493 – Concurrent Enrollment Participation Amendments (Rep. Ryan Wilcox, Sen. David Hinkins) — For a student who wants to enroll in an existing concurrent enrollment course that is not offered online by a local education entity’s designated institution of higher education, requires the local education agency (LEA) to contract with any eligible institution that offers the online concurrent enrollment course. This bill passed the House and Senate.

(PASSED) HB 494 – Funds Administration Modifications (Rep. Jefferson Moss, Sen. Chris Wilson) — 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. This bill passed the House and Senate.

(NOT PASSED) HB 506 – Higher Education Residency Amendments (Rep. Marsha Judkins, Sen. Todd Weiler) — 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. This bill received a favorable recommendation from the House Education Committee on February 22 but did not pass the Senate before the conclusion of the session. 

(NOT PASSED) HB 527 – Public Employee Gender-Specific Language Requirements (Rep. Tim Jimenez) — Prohibits a public employer from taking disciplinary action against an employee who, in good faith, uses a pronoun or other gender-specific language in relation to another individual that conflicts with the individual’s personal gender-specific language preference, or who, because of the employee’s sincerely held religious or moral belief, uses a pronoun or other gender-specific language in relation to another individual that conflicts with the individual’s personal gender-specific language preference.

(NOT PASSED) HB 556 – Sexually Oriented Business Regulations for Higher Education (Rep. Ken Ivory) — Defines “pornography courses” offered at higher education institutions and creates requirements for institutions that offer courses that meet the bill’s definition.

(NOT PASSED) 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 received a favorable recommendation from the Senate Education Committee on February 26, but failed on the Senate floor.

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

(NOT PASSED) 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.

(PASSED) 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 House.

(PASSED) SB 122 – Youth Apprenticeship Governance Amendments (Sen. Ann Millner, Rep. Tyler Clancy) — Creates a youth apprenticeship governance study. This bill passed the Senate and House.

(PASSED) SB 150, 2nd Sub – Exercise of Religion Amendments (Sen. Todd Weiler, Rep. Jordan Teuscher) — 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 passed the Senate and House.

(PASSED) SB 190, 3rd Sub – Higher Education Development Areas (Sen. Chris Wilson, Rep. Steve Eliason) — Requires the Political Subdivisions Interim Committee to study issues related to a university’s development of university-owned property assessing questions such as: How much land a university should be allowed to develop; conditions under which a university may entire into a development agreement with a private entity for the development of university-owned property, what the approval process should look like for entering into such agreements, whether a university should be required to include restrictions on a development partner that enters into such an agreement, and how such development agreements would impact counties, cities, etc.; whether a privilege tax should apply to buildings and other improvements constructed on university-owned property; if privilege tax does not apply, how the revenue that would have resulted from the privilege tax should be apportioned or retained; if privilege tax does apply, how the revenue from the tax should be distributed. This bill passed the Senate and House. 

(PASSED) SB 192, 4th Sub – Higher Education Amendments (Sen. Ann Millner, Rep. Karen Peterson) — 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 and clarifies the authority and responsibilities of presidents. Amends the statutes governing performance metrics and performance funding. Creates a requirement to demonstrate evidence of implementation of shared services and program alignment 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 and appropriations. This bill passed the Senate and House.

(PASSED) SB 206, 1st Sub – Young Adult Service Fellowship (Sen. Ann Millner, Rep. Val Peterson) — 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 passed the Senate and House.

(PASSED) SB 223 – Youth Fee Waiver Amendments (Sen. Jen Plumb, Rep. Stephanie Gricius) — 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. This bill passed the Senate and House.

(NOT PASSED) SB 226, 1st Sub – 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. This bill failed to receive a favorable recommendation from the Senate Business and Labor Committee on February 21.

(PASSED) SJR 15 Joint Rules Resolution – Higher Education Operation and Maintenance Costs (Sen. Ann Millner, Rep. Val Peterson) — 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 passed the Senate and House.

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