Legislative Update: Week 3

February 1-6

Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee

The Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee (HEAS) continued its meetings this week and received presentations from the remaining USHE institutions. Below are links to all of the institutions’ presentations:

The Subcommittee meets two more times this session. The Subcommittee will prioritize USHE budget priorities, along with several other requests for state appropriations, and advance those to the Executive Appropriations Committee for further review as the Legislature works to formulate a new budget for FY22.

  • Monday, February 8, 8:00 AM
  • Wednesday, February 10, 8:00 AM

Legislation of Interest

HB 45, Higher Education Classes for Veterans by Rep. Weiler — allows veterans to audit classes at institutions of higher education tuition-free if the veterans are Utah residents. The bill received unanimous support from the House Education Committee and awaits consideration by the House for final passage.

HB 159, Higher Education Student Speech Rights by Rep. Jordan Teuscher — establishes a specific threshold that determines when student-on-student speech becomes harassment, as opposed to protected speech. Staff has worked with the legislative sponsor on a compromise that reduces the legal liability of the institutions. The bill received unanimous support from the House Judiciary Standing Committee and awaits further consideration by the House.

HB 233, Education Immunization Modifications by Rep. Mark Strong — prohibits USHE institutions from requiring proof of vaccination as a condition to enroll. It also prohibits institutions from requiring a vaccine-exempt student to participate remotely rather than in-person. This bill awaits a committee hearing in the House Health and Human Services Committee.

HB 278, Name Change Process for Dixie State University by Rep. Kelly Miles — establishes a process for the Dixie State University Board of Trustees and Utah Board of Higher Education to select and recommend a new name for the institution to the Legislature. After extensive testimony, the bill passed the House Education Committee with a 12-2 vote and awaits further consideration by the full House.

HB 279, Higher Education for Incarcerated Youth by Rep. Lowry Snow — establishes a virtually-delivered Concurrent Enrollment program and accompanying advisory program at Dixie State University for students in certain custody situations. The bill awaits a committee assignment.

HB 318, Higher Education Amendments by Rep. Melissa Ballard — clarifies and makes technical changes as required by SB 111 from the 2020 Legislative Session. It clarifies the roles of institutions and those of the Board of Higher Education; it revises the Board’s priorities and revises the procedures for presidential searches. The bill awaits a standing committee assignment.

SB 136, Higher Education Scholarship Amendments by Rep. Derrin Owens — replaces the Regents’ Scholarship Program with the Opportunity Scholarship. It also extends opportunities for scholarships within technical education and forecloses new applications for the New Century Scholarship after this academic year. This legislation is in conjunction with the Board’s action in December 2020 to rename and simplify the state’s achievement-based scholarships. This bill received unanimous support in the Senate Education Committee and awaits further consideration by the full Senate. The Utah Board of Higher Education supports this legislation.

SB 163, Campus Safety Amendments by Sen. Jani Iwamoto — establishes a student-led Safety and Equity Commission appointed by institution student leadership that makes recommendations to the Utah Board of Higher Education. The bill also clarifies reporting requirements of institution annual safety reports, along with additional requirements on how those reports are publicized. This bill awaits a Senate Committee assignment.