2023 Legislative Update: Week 5

Utah State Capitol building

February 13 – 17, 2023

Governor Cox signed three more bills this week. SB 146, Higher Education Amendments, passed out of the House Committee. The House will likely pass it in the next few days and send it to the Governor for signature. 

This week, Utah Board of Higher Education members and other higher ed leaders hosted Higher Ed Day on the Hill and were able to share more about the System and its 16 institutions with legislators. 

The Senate and House Majority also announced a tax relief proposal for Utahns. In the release, it notes that over the past two years, the Utah Legislature has reduced taxes by nearly $300 million. To continue Utah’s commitment to reducing taxes and cultivating a family and business-friendly environment, the Senate and House Majority Caucuses propose an additional $400 million in tax relief for Utahns.

Legislation of Interest

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 21 – Open and Public Meetings Act Amendments by Rep. Briscoe — Amendments require a public body holding an open meeting to allow a reasonable opportunity for the public to provide verbal comment at the meeting, with certain exceptions, and require a public body to adopt a resolution, rule, or ordinance allowing public comment in a public meeting.
HB 26 – License Plate Amendments by Rep. Thurston — Defines terms; amends provisions regarding standard license plates; creates a two-year moratorium on the personalized license plate program; creates the sponsored special group license plate program and changes the process to establish a new special group license plate; 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 issuance and administration.
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 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 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. Ballard — 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 203 – Inmate Education Amendments by Rep. Ballard — Directs the Higher Education and Corrections Council to facilitate postsecondary education for inmates housed in county jails; directs the Utah Board of Higher Education to assign student success advisors to correctional facilities; removes a provision requiring an inmate to pay 50% of tuition at the time of enrollment; requires an institution of higher education to consider an inmate a state resident for tuition purposes; directs the Department of Corrections to:

  • provide an inmate with certain education during the time the inmate’s case action plan is being developed;
  • require an education plan for each inmate’s case action plan; and
  • house inmates participating in postsecondary certificate or degree programs in common residential units; requires a correctional facility to inform an individual sending money to an inmate that a process exists for the individual to review the inmate’s financial records.”

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 263 – Apprenticeship on Public Works Requirements by Rep. Dailey-Provost — This bill enacts provisions relating to labor provided by an apprentice for a public works project. This bill makes technical and conforming changes and for certain public works projects: requires that a specified amount of labor be performed by an apprentice; establishes other requirements for a contract between a government entity and a contractor relating to labor provided by an apprentice; and provides exceptions to the apprentice labor requirement under certain circumstances.
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 294 – Governmental Entity Budget Transparency by Rep. Abbott — For each agency, the budget officer shall include in the tentative budget with the following information for each fund for which a budget is required: (A) the total budget amount for the current fiscal year ending June 30; (B) the total proposed budget amount for the upcoming fiscal year, beginning July 1; and (C) the percentage difference between the amount described in Subsection (2)(b)(xii)(A) and the amount described in Subsection (2)(b)(xii)(B).
HB 295 – Educator License Amendments by Rep. Thurston — Allows individuals who complete certain educator training programs, without receiving a bachelor’s degree, to obtain an educator license from the State Board of Education; requires the State Board of Education to establish licensing standards for educator training programs.
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 329 – Adult Event Permit Amendments by Rep. Jack — Requires a public entity to provide public notice under certain conditions for a permitted event with an adult theme.
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 344 – Local Policies for Public Education Curriculum Transparency by Rep. Teuscher — Requires each local education agency (LEA) governing board to establish a course content transparency policy that includes certain determinations; requires each LEA to: make the LEA’s course content transparency policy publicly available on the LEA’s website; and annually report on the LEA’s policy and determinations to the State Board of Education (state board); requires the state board to establish an annual deadline for the LEA report; and makes technical and conforming changes.
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 373 – Law Enforcement Training and Recruitment by Rep. Welton — Creates the Law Enforcement Investment Reimbursement Program to reimburse new law enforcement officers for certain education costs. Requires the board to run the grant program.
HB 386 – Clinical Health Care Provider Grant Amendments by Rep. Maloy — Creates a grant program, administered by UMEC, to establish new clinical experience opportunities for healthcare students in a private or public institute of higher education.
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 443 – Government Records Ombudsman Amendments by Rep. Loubet — Modifies a provision relating to government records ombudsman mediation of disputes between requesters and responders; requires the government records ombudsman to certify the conclusion of certain mediations; requires a notice of access denial to include a statement relating to the requester’s right to request mediation; and suspends a requester’s time to file a notice of appeal for a specified period of time if the requester has requested mediation.
HB 451 – State Entity Restrictions by Rep. Hall — Prohibits the use of a prohibited submission in determining employment, admission, or other benefits; creates a limited exception where collecting a prohibited submission is required by federal law; and prohibits the use of certain services.
HB 464 – School Materials Amendments by Rep. Ivory — Requires local education agencies (LEAs) to: engage in certain review processes when a parent communicates an allegation that an instructional material is prohibited by state law; and publicly vote on and explain a determination to reinstate or preserve student access to challenged instructional material; establishes the precedential effect of LEA and state board determinations; requires the State Board of Education (state board) to: review LEA determinations regarding certain sensitive material; and make rules, including to establish an age-appropriateness rating system for instructional materials; establishes a private right of action for judicial review of LEA and state board determinations regarding challenged instructional material; amends a state board reporting requirement. “Sensitive material” does not include an instructional material: for a concurrent enrollment course for which the provider of the material and the LEA have a reasonable belief that the material does not contain sensitive material and for which a parent receives notice of the material and gives the parent’s consent.
HB 468 – Employment Screening Requirements by Rep. Judkins — Creates and modifies definitions; when hiring a mental health professional, prohibits certain public employers and public employer contractors from: considering certain arrests or criminal convictions; or denying employment based on certain criminal convictions or participation in substance use treatment; when hiring a mental health professional, prohibits a private employer from excluding an applicant from an interview for a juvenile adjudication, certain arrests, or an expunged criminal offense; modifies the Office of Licensing’s (office) background and screening processes for an individual applying to work in a program with direct access to a child or vulnerable adult; exempts certain individuals employed by the Department of Health and Human Services from the office’s background and screening processes; requires the office to conduct a comprehensive review of an applicant’s background check if the applicant is applying to work in a program as a peer support provider or mental health professional; requires the office to deny an applicant’s application upon certain background check findings; provides administrative rulemaking authority.
SB 43 – Public Notice Requirments by Sen. Pitcher — Proposed tuition increases Notice  Hearings – If an institution within the State System of Higher Education considers increasing tuition rates for undergraduate students in the process of preparing or implementing its budget, it shall hold a meeting to receive public input and response on the issue. The institution shall advertise the hearing, as required, using the following procedure: The institution shall advertise its intent to consider an increase in student tuition.
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 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 110 – Background Check Modifications by Sen. Grover — Requires an employee, independent contractor, or volunteer who has direct contact with a child to obtain a background check every 60 months, unless otherwise required by state or federal law; requires a person to obtain a background check for an individual before deciding whether to engage that individual in a position where the individual will have direct contact with children; classifies certain background check information as a protected record under the Government Records Access and Management Act; limits the sharing and use of certain background check information; and makes it a class C misdemeanor for a person who fails to obtain or maintain a background check for an employee, contractor, or volunteer who has direct contact with children.
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 145 – Higher Education for Incarcerated Youth Program Amendments by Sen. Riebe — Amends the Incarcerated Youth Program to include youth held in detention and makes technical and conforming changes.
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 180 – Private Postsecondary Education Modifications by Sen. Bramble — Repeals the Utah Postsecondary School State Authorization Act; repeals, reenacts, and modifies the Utah Postsecondary Proprietary School Act as the Utah Postsecondary School and State Authorization Act; requires a postsecondary school operating in the state to file a registration statement and obtain certain certificates from the Division of Consumer Protection (division); establishes qualifications for a procedure by which a postsecondary school may obtain a registration certificate and state authorization certificate from the division; provides that, under certain circumstances, the division may deny, suspend, or revoke a registration statement, registration certificate, or state authorization certificate; provides procedures to enforce compliance with the provisions of this bill; permits the division to enter into an interstate reciprocity agreement; authorizes the Utah Board of Higher Education to make rules to implement an interstate reciprocity agreement if the agreement includes institutions of higher education; grants the division rulemaking authority.
SB 184 – Prescription Cost Amendments by Sen. Bramble — Requires an insurer to calculate any amounts paid on behalf of an individual towards the individual’s cost-sharing requirement; requires a pharmacy benefit manager to calculate any amounts paid on behalf of an individual towards the individual’s cost-sharing requirement.
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 266 – Electronic Information or Data Privacy Act Amendmentsby Sen Weiler —Amends the ability of law enforcement to obtain certain information or data without a search warrant.
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 243 – Utah Antidiscrimination Act Amendments by Sen. Riebe — Prohibits an employer from discriminating between employees on the basis of sex by paying an employee of one sex a wage rate that is less than the wage rate paid to an employee of a different sex for substantially similar work (wage discrimination); prohibits an employer from: seeking wage history or relying on wage history in determining wage rates; and retaliating against an employee or prospective employee for certain actions, including failing to disclose wage history, invoking provisions related to wage discrimination, or assisting in the enforcement of provisions prohibiting wage discrimination; provides a private right of action for aggrieved employees with a one-year statute of limitations; provides rulemaking authority.
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.

Media Inquiries

Trisha Dugovic
Communications Director