Bill to expand special needs vouchers passes vote in final day of committees – March 1

Today was the final day of Standing Committee meetings. From now through the session close at midnight on Friday, it’s primarily floor voting in the House and Senate. A bill that cleared a committee today (SB62) would extend the special needs scholarship voucher program to the siblings of scholarship recipient students. The “sensitive materials” bill (HB374) banning certain materials in schools, passed the House and now goes to the Senate.

House Education Committee (reported by Sara Jones): Just one bill was heard in the final House Education Committee meeting for this session. SB191 (2nd sub.): Regulatory Sandbox in Education creates an innovation school program, modeled after ALEC legislation and a similar program in Colorado. UEA opposes the bill because of concerns with how special education funding can be diverted and the use of waivers for rules abouts “teacher employment, educator evaluations, employee compensation…or retirement or other benefits.” There were extensive committee questions and public comment about the impact to special education funding. The bill passed on a vote of 7-3.

House Judiciary Committee (reported by Jay Blain): Two UEA-tracked bills passed this committee and now go to the full House:

House Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): Three UEA-tracked bills passed the House and now go to the Senate for consideration:

Senate Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): Several UEA-tracked bills passed the Senate today, all but one unanimously:

 

Policy Ambassador Messages

In 2022, 15 educators were selected as UEA Policy Ambassadors. These teachers received training from the UEA Legislative Team and agree to engage with legislators and share their experiences with UEA members. Here is an excerpt from a new submission:

What My Dues Do

Submitted by UEA Advanced Policy Ambassador Sarah Nichols, National Board Certified special education teacher at Highland High School in Salt Lake City School District

“What do my dues do? I found myself asking that question when I first considered joining Salt Lake Education Association a few years ago and I find myself answering that question for potential members at my school. Until this year, I mentioned things like liability protection, increased wages through bargaining power and discounts that membership in UEA/NEA offer. It turns out I was missing one of the most important things that UEA does for me as a teacher—lobbying and advocacy at the state level. This year, I got to see that in action at one of the UEA Educator Days on the Hill events…”

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