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UEA Report on the 2018 Utah Legislature General Session

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WEEK FIVE: 

2018 LEGISLATURE WEEK FIVE SUMMARY: February 20-23


More than 100 teachers, addressed here by Rep. Lowry
Snow, participated in UEA Educator Day on the Hill.

Strong new revenue numbers announced this week could mean additional funding for the WPU and teacher salaries. More than 100 educators and education support professionals from 15 school districts participated in Friday’s UEA Educator Day on the Hill. The number of bills the UEA is trackingat the end of WEEK FIVE was 94, compared to 108 at the same time in 2017 and about 120 in 2018.

New revenue estimates = More $ for education?

According to the February state tax revenue estimates announced this week, the state is anticipated to collect an additional $126 million in ongoing revenue and $83 million one-time. This is on top of what was reported in the December estimates and brings the total available new revenue to $453 million ongoing and $128 million one-time. Of the total, new revenue in the Education Fund accounted for $61 million ongoing and $55 million one-time. Potential education uses for the new funding being discussed on the Hill include a respectable WPU increase and a modest direct teacher salary increase. The budget is now in the hands of theExecutive Appropriations Committee.

School districts, teachers converge on the Hill


Educators from San Juan Education Association met
with their representatives, including Rep. Mike Noel.

The UEA saw another massive attendance at its weekly Educator Day on the Hill event, with more than 100 teachers from San Juan to Logan School Districts and everywhere in between represented. Participants this week included Utah Teachers of the Year and fellows in the Hope Street Group, consisting of teachers who serve as spokespeople for positive change in the profession.

In addition to being Educator Day on the Hill, Friday was also School District Day on the Hill. School districts across the state set up booths and displays showing the variety of education opportunities available in Utah public schools. The event also featured multiple student performances.

Super committee bill dies, returns

A bill universally opposed by the education community to create a massive oversight committee (HB175) initially failed in the House, but by the end of the week was brought back for further consideration. The bill creates what’s been referred to as a “super committee” to oversee “transparency, efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of state and local governmental entities” with the ability to study, investigate or audit administrative rules. Most every education organization, including the UEA, opposes the bill. Following lengthy debate, the House defeated the bill on a vote of 20-54 Wednesday, but it was brought back and put on the calendar Friday.

Measure cuts elected officials from charter approval process

A bill to remove the elected State Board of Education from the charter school approval process (HB313) narrowly passed the House. The bill lets charter school authorizers finalize school approvals, removing the elected State Board of Education from the approval process. It passed the House on a vote of 38-33 and now goes to the Senate.


School districts, teachers converge on the Hill – February 23, 2018


More than 100 teachers, addressed here by Rep. Lowry
Snow, participated in UEA Educator Day on the Hill.

More than 100 teachers participated in Educator Day on the Hill, many for the first time. School districts showcased educational opportunities for School District Day on the Hill.

Educator Day on the Hill (reported by Mike Kelley): Another massive attendance at Educator Day on the Hill (EDOH)! More than 100 teachers from San Juan to Logan School Districts and everywhere in between came to share classroom realities with their representatives. Participants this week included Utah Teachers of the Year and fellows in the Hope Street Group, consisting of teachers who serve as spokespeople for positive change in the profession.

UEA Legislative Team members provided details about the lobbying process during an early morning meeting. Rep. Lowry Snow also stopped by in the morning and shared details about his bill to address truancy for minors (HB132).


Educators from San Juan Education Association met
with their representatives, including Rep. Mike Noel.

In addition to being Educator Day on the Hill, today was also School District Day on the Hill. School districts across the state set up booths and displays showing the variety of education opportunities available in Utah public schools. The event also featured multiple student performances.

During a lunchtime debrief, attendees enthusiastically shared the many positive experiences they had speaking with legislators. Several noted comments from their representatives that a 4-5% increase in the WPU is possible based on the new revenue numbers. Rep. Joel Briscoe and State Superintendent Syd Dickson stopped by to express thanks to teachers for engaging in the legislative process.

House Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): The House passed four UEA-tracked bills, all of which now go to the Senate for consideration.

HB317: Special Education Amendments amends various pieces of special education code to allow students to stay until the end of the school year when they turn 22. This a standardization of code as well. It passed unanimously.

HB128 (1st sub.): Utah Retirement System Amendments provides that a URS member who has service credit from two or more systems is required to retire from the system which most recently covered the member for a minimum of six months when combining service credit for purposes of determining eligibility for retirement. It passed unanimously.

HB281 (1st sub.): Voter Eligibility Amendments provides that an individual who is 17 years of age may register for and vote in a primary election if the individual will be 18 years of age on or before the date of the general election. The bill passed on a vote of 51-18. The UEA supports this bill.

HB233 (1st sub.): Teacher Salary Supplement Revisions expands the Teacher Salary Supplement to include special education teachers and broadens the eligible math and science teachers. The bill sets the supplement amount at $5,000, which is not eligible to be included in retirement calculations. It passed the House on a vote of 49-19. Even if the bill were to pass both houses, it’s high cost may not be funded.

Senate Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): The Senate heard three UEA-tracked bills. All passed unanimously.

HB234: Compulsory Education Revisions adds “a physical or mental” before the word “illness” in the definition of a “valid excuse” a parent can use. It now goes to the Governor.

HB236: Public Education Reference Check Amendments requires LEA’s to respond within 20 days to a reference check in certain circumstances. It now goes to the Governor.

SB153: Carson Smith Scholarship Amendments amends some provisions related to the scholarship. The bill now goes to the House for consideration.


Measure cuts elected officials from charter approval process – February 22, 2018

A bill to remove the elected State Board of Education from the charter school approval process (HB313) narrowly passed the House. A bill universally opposed by the education community to create a massive oversight committee (HB175) previously failed in the House, but was brought back for further consideration.

House Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): HB175 (3rd sub.): Oversight Committee Creationcreates what’s been referred to as a “super committee” to oversee “transparency, efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of state and local governmental entities” with the ability to study, investigate or audit administrative rules. Most every education organization, including the UEA, opposes the bill. Following lengthy debate, the House defeated the bill on Wednesday, but it was brought back and put on the calendar today.

HB308: Telehealth Mental Health Pilot Program requires the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health to create a telehealth mental health pilot project grant program. Parents and superintendents spoke in support of the bill. It passed unanimously. The UEA supports this bill.

HB313 (1st sub.): Charter School Revisions lets charter school authorizers finalize school approvals, removing the elected State Board of Education from the approval process. It passed the House on a vote of 38-33 and now goes to the Senate.

SJR1: Joint Resolution Recognizing Educators of the Deaf and American Sign Language Instructors recognizes the efforts of educators of the deaf and American Sign Language instructors and highlights the contributions of American Sign Language to the culture of the state. It passed unanimously and now goes to the Governor.

HCR19: Concurrent Resolution Regarding the Impact of Federal Lands on the State Education System urges the President of the United States, the United States Congress, and Utah's congressional delegation to propose and secure the passage of legislation that requires PILT payments to be a fair and steady source of revenue that would otherwise be generated but for the federal control of Utah lands. It passed the House and Senate unanimously and now goes to the Governor.

Senate Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): HCR19: Concurrent Resolution Regarding the Impact of Federal Lands on the State Education System urges the President of the United States, the United States Congress, and Utah's congressional delegation to propose and secure the passage of legislation that requires PILT payments to be a fair and steady source of revenue that would otherwise be generated but for the federal control of Utah lands. It passed the House and Senate unanimously and now goes to the Governor.


New revenue estimates: More $ for education? – February 21, 2018

Strong new revenue numbers could mean additional funding for the WPU and teacher salaries. A bill universally opposed by the education community to create a massive oversight committee (HB175) failed in the House.

New Revenue Numbers (reported by Sara Jones and Mike Kelley): New revenue numbers are good. Rep. Brad Last, House chair of the Executive Appropriations Committee, reported that the state is anticipated to collect an additional $126 million in ongoing revenue and $83 million one-time. This is on top of what was reported the December estimates and brings the total available new revenue to $453 million ongoing and $128 million one-time. Of the total, new revenue in the Education Fund accounted for $61 million ongoing and $55 million one-time.

Rep. Last also reported a savings of $35 million ongoing from other committees’ budgets. The budget proposed by the Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee last week was under $200 million ongoing. Some are speculating that the new revenue could make it possible to fund enrollment growth, a respectable WPU increase and a modest direct teacher salary increase.

Senate Education Committee: With only two voting members in attendance for most of the presentations, all six bills on the committee agenda passed unanimously with little debate. Of those, only three are being tracked by the UEA.

SB198: Public School Disciplinary Action Amendments requires the State Board of Education to work with school districts, charter schools and law enforcement agencies to compile an annual report regarding disciplinary actions related to students and statewide information regarding the race, gender, age, and disability status of a minor or student involved in certain law enforcement and disciplinary actions.

HB270: Teacher Employment Amendments requires the teacher credential database (currently CACTUS) allow an educator to work in more than one LEA. The bill passed unanimously.

HB306: State Board of Education Revisions allows to the Utah State Board of Education to have their leadership elections on a two-year cycle. It passed unanimously.

House Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): HB289: Public Education Exit Survey requires school districts to create an educator exit survey and report survey data to USBE to help identify educator retention issues. The bill passed on a vote of 59-14.

HB175 (3rd sub.): Oversight Committee Creation creates what’s been referred to as a “super committee” to oversee “transparency, efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of state and local governmental entities” with the ability to study, investigate or audit administrative rules. Most every education organization, including the UEA, opposes the bill. Following lengthy debate, the House defeated the bill on a vote of 20-54.

Senate Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): SB144: Local Funding of Education Technology would allow school districts to use revenue from debt service or a capital local levy to fund “technology programs or projects.” The bill passed unanimously.

SB148: Public Education Enrollment Application Amendments allows for secondary schools to set policy for enrollment of out of boundary students based on “maintenance of comprehensive programs and efficient allocation of resources.” The bill passed unanimously.


Reproductive health bill moves forward – February 20, 2018

Concurrent Enrollment, interactive reading software, competency-based education and reproductive health instruction were among topics considered in committees today.

Senate Education Committee (reported by Sara Jones): Two bills tracked by UEA were heard and passed unanimously. They now go to the full Senate.

HB237 (1st sub.): Concurrent Enrollment Enhancements creates a statewide standard for teachers of concurrent enrollment. The UEA supports this bill.

SB127 (1st sub.): Reading Software Program Amendments was presented by Sen. Howard Stephenson. The bill eliminates usage requirements for schools that use interactive software for early reading programs but also asks the State Board of Education to acquire analytical software to monitor, for an individual school, the use of interactive reading software and the impact on student performance.

House Education Committee: The two bills heard both passed unanimously and now go to the full House for consideration.

SB132: Competency-based Education Amendments removes a cap limiting participation in a planning grant process to three LEAs to allow the Board flexibility to consider more grants to qualifying LEAs.

HB286 (1st sub.): Reproductive Education Amendments was presented by Rep. Justin Fawson. The bill amends and enacts provisions related to instruction in child sexual abuse prevention and reproductive health. It modifies instruction in health to include instruction in the harmful effects of pornography and refusal skills amends definitions for required parental consent.

House Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): Two UEA tracked bills passed the House unanimously and now move the Senate for consideration.

HB238: School Trust Fund Amendments amends provisions related to school trust funds. It passed unanimously. The UEA supports this bill.

HB360: State Board of Education Finance Amendments exempts the State Board of Education from certain state budgetary requirements under certain circumstances. It passed the unanimously and now goes to the Senate.

Senate Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): Three UEA tracked bills passed the Senate unanimously and now move the House for consideration.

SB115 (1st sub.): Upstart Program Amendments permits the State Board of Education to issue a request for proposals and enter into a contract for a two-year pilot of a home-based educational technology program. It passed unanimously and now moves to the House.

SB117: Language Immersion Program Amendments would convert the current dual language immersion pilot program in to an ongoing program. It passed unanimously.

SB101: Tax Amendments requires the county board of equalization to list separately a significant adjustment on an agenda for a public hearing and provide certain property information. The UEA supports this bill.