On Thursday, February 18, HB 101 Sub 1 Food Sales Tax Amendments which is sponsored by Rep. Judy Weeks Rohner (R-West Valley City) has become part of HB 54 Sub 2, Tax Revisions (a tax cut bill) by Rep. Steve Eliason (R-Sandy). Therefore, the tie-in of removing the state portion of the sales tax on food (1.75%) to the passage of the constitutional amendment, if it goes to the ballot, is now in this bill. Therefore, HB 101 Sub 1 was “held” in the Senate Rev and Tax committee this afternoon because it is now moot.
Also, the House Education Committee met for the final time and discussed SB 167 Statewide Online Education Program by Sen. Kirk Cullimore (R-Sandy) which addresses changes to the statewide online education program. It also creates a new educator license specifically for private online providers, like the current LEA-specific license.
UEA Director Sara Jones spoke in opposition to the bill because, “a private online provider that provides a few courses to students is not equivalent to a school district, with a broad scope of responsibilities and which is subject to oversight, regulation and accountability to a locally elected school board and local community.” In addition, she said, “the State Board and education stakeholders worked for years to streamline complex and cumbersome licensing. Just a couple of years ago the legislature agreed to streamline code to reflect the agreed upon licensure routes.” The bill passed out of committee with two opposing votes. The Senate approved SB 167 on Feb. 16.
HB 427 Individual Freedom in Public Education by Rep. Tim Jimenez (R-Tooele) passed the House of Representatives (47-24) Tuesday. Although the bill was amended to remove references to prohibiting classroom instruction that would “indoctrinate” students, the bill still requires that “an LEA may not…allow instructional personnel or administrative personnel to implement policies or programs with content that is inconsistent with” principles defined in the bill as “individual freedom.” How LEAs interpret what educators can say in the classroom remains a concern of UEA.
HB 489 Educator Paid Professional Hours by Rep. Jefferson Moss (R-Utah County) passed the Senate Revenue and Taxation committee unanimously Tuesday afternoon. This bill allows a plan for the usage of these hours to be turned in up to five days after the start of school and allows the hours to be prorated for an educator hired after the beginning of the school year.