The pace is quick in the Session’s final days:
- UEA-supported bills passing today and on their way to the governor for signature include Paid Professional Hours for Educators (HB396), Period Products in Schools (HB162, and full-day kindergarten (HB193).
- UEA-opposed bills moving closer to law today include special needs voucher expansion (SB62), Regulatory Sandbox in Education (SB191) and Special Education Amendments (SB134).
- Important bills still pending votes on the final day include Sensitive Materials in Schools (HB374), Health Education Amendments (HB274) and Student Eligibility in Interscholastic Activities (HB11).
UEA Capitol Insights Session Re-cap: The UEA Legislative Team will hold a session re-cap for all UEA members on Thursday, March 17, at 4:30 p.m. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER (NOTE: If you already signed up for the UEA Capitol Insights weekly Zoom briefings, you do not need to re-register.)
House Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): The following UEA-tracked bills passed the House and now go to the governor for signature or veto:
- HB396 (1st sub.): Paid Professional Hours for Educators allocates $64 million for licensed educators to receive flexible, educator-directed paid time for job-related duties performed outside of contract time. This is a priority bill for the UEA. It passed unanimously.
- HB162: Period Products in Schools provides for free period products in certain restrooms in schools. Private donations will provide for the dispensers and the legislative appropriation will provide for the products. The bill is supported by the UEA. It passed unanimously.
- HB193 (5th sub.): Full-day Kindergarten requires the state board to prioritize new funding for full-day kindergarten to those districts with the greatest need, based on geography, socioeconomic need and several other factors. It passed on a vote of 59-16.
- HB386 (1st sub.): Education Innovation Program creates a process for an educator to propose an innovation program to their district for approval. It passed on a vote of 70-1.
- HB313 (3rd sub.): Election Security Amendments addresses election security and voter confidence. The UEA opposes this bill. It passed on a vote of 56-14.
- SB21: School Standards Committee Sunset Review extends the sunset review for the committee until 2028. It passed unanimously.
The following bills passed the House and were returned to the Senate to approve changes:
- SB251 (1st sub.): Grow Your Own Teacher and School Counselor Pipeline Program corrects a technical error that excluded some participants from the Grow Your Own educator program last year. It passed unanimously.
- SB134 (4th sub.): Special Education Amendments addresses the least restrictive environment and use of special education funding. The UEA opposes this bill. It passed on a vote of 40-34.
Senate Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): The following UEA-tracked bills passed the Senate and now go back to the House to concur with changes.
- HB428 (2nd sub.): School Safety Amendments requires the State Board of Education to provide training on certain state and federal law and requires an LEA to review information on harassment and discrimination within the LEA, adopt a plan for harassment- and discrimination-free learning, and report on the plan. The bill passed on a vote of 19-10.
- HB346 (2nd sub.): Funding Independence in Foreign Language Education focuses primarily on higher education but also includes language making K-12 dual language immersion programs a program that will automatically receive enrollment growth and inflationary costs in the state funding formula. It passed unanimously.
The Senate concurred with House changes to the following bills and they now go to the governor for signature or veto:
- SB191 (2nd sub.): Regulatory Sandbox in Education creates an innovation school program, modeled after ALEC legislation and a similar program in Colorado. It passed on a vote of 22-5.
- SB62 (4th sub.): Special Needs Opportunity Scholarship Program Amendments extends the special needs scholarship voucher program to the siblings of scholarship recipient students. It passed on a vote of 17-11.
- SB244 (2nd sub.): Ethnic Studies Amendments requires the State Board of Education to incorporate ethnic studies into the core standards for Utah public schools and requires an LEA to adopt ethnic studies instructional materials and curriculum that align with core standards. The bill passed on a vote of 24-1.
Your UEA Legislative Team is on the Hill every day, working behind the scenes to represent educators. Here are some insights:
Reported by Legislative Team Member Mike Kelley: The last week of any Utah General Legislative Session is always a whirlwind. People often ask why so many votes happen in the Session’s final days. Part of the reason is that any bill with a ‘fiscal note,’ meaning the bill needs money to implement, must wait for other administrative things to happen before they can receive a final vote.
Ultimately, it means the final week of the session is when many things happen. Even on the session’s last day, we’re watching a few bills very closely:
- HB374: Sensitive Materials in Schools is likely to pass Senate…working to oppose.
- HB274: Health Education Amendments is likely to pass senate…working to support.
- HB478: Minimum Basic Tax Rate Reduction will likely not pass the Senate…working to oppose.
- SB134 (4th sub.): Special Education Amendments passed the House and returned to the Senate…working to oppose.
- HB11 (2nd sub.): Student Eligibility in Interscholastic Activities unclear if it will get a vote in the Senate…working to oppose.
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:
Submitted by UEA Policy Ambassador Shelly DeWitt, school psychologist in the Tooele County School District
“I participated in a professional development course with Dr. Rebecca Branstetter who stated, “We have a choice: accept ‘what is’ and slog through our careers, or band together to create real change at a grassroots level and make this career what it was intended to be, helping prevent student failure and improving student outcomes in school and life.” This stuck with me and inspired me to apply to become a Policy Ambassador this year with UEA to be a part of real change. Being a part of something new can bring anxiety and apprehension. It is easy to be a part of change in ways that are comfortable, but sometimes it is essential to step outside of your comfort zone…”
Floor Time schedule for the Session’s final day, March 4:
- House – 8 a.m. – noon, 2 – 5:50 p.m., 7 p.m. – midnight
- Senate – 9 a.m. – 11:50 a.m., 2 – 5:50 p.m., 7 p.m. – midnight
- See the 2022 UEA Legislative Tracking Sheet for the current bills tracked by UEA.
- View all legislative happenings at UEA Under the Dome.