Welcome to February and Black History Month. A bill requiring schools to provide menstrual products free of charge in restrooms unanimously passed the House. The Senate Education Committee passed a resolution encouraging the State Board of Education to support the state’s public school educators in accessing instructional materials that support the “3Rs” framework of rights, responsibility and respect.
Senate Education Committee (reported by Sara Jones): The Senate Education Committee was standing-room only today. Four UEA-tracked bills passed and now move to the full Senate:
The first bill was quickly presented and discussed. SB145 Reading Competency Benchmark Assessment expands the existing benchmark reading assessment to 8th grade. The assessment would continue to be required for grades 1-3 but would be optional for grades 4-8 and given at the discretion of the school district. The bill passed unanimously.
SB127 (1st sub.): Early Literacy Outcomes Improvement was presented by Sen. Ann Milner and had nearly an hour of discussion. The bill creates a comprehensive, systemic early literacy program involving educator preparation programs, supports and training by the state board of education, the targeted use of literacy instructional coaches and teacher training. The bill asks for $9.7 million in ongoing funds and $9 million in one-time money. Sen. Kathleen Riebe asked the committee to “please give our teachers space, grace and time to implement” this new program with so many demands placed on educators right now. The bill passed unanimously.
Former educator Sen. Derrin Owens presented SJR6: Joint Resolution Promoting the 3Rs Framework of Rights, Responsibility, and Respect in Classrooms, which highlights the benefits of the 3R’s framework of religious liberty, religious literacy and civil discourse in public schools because he “believe[s] our Constitutional framework is critically needed at this juncture in our history”. The resolution passed unanimously.
SB134 (1st sub.): Special Education Amendments revives a bill sponsored by Sen. Jake Anderegg in 2021 that UEA opposed and that never passed out of the Senate. The bill expands how state special education funds can be used by a district or charter school in a mainstream classroom “even if doing so provides an incidental benefit to students without a disability.” The bill is being run at the request of charter schools. UEA again opposes this change. It passed on a vote of 3-1.
House Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): Three bills supported by the UEA unanimously passed the House and now go to the Senate:
HB103: Student Intervention Early Warning Program converts the student intervention early warning pilot program into an ongoing program.
HB162: Period Products in Schools addresses “period poverty” by requiring districts and charter schools to provide menstrual products free of charge in female or unisex restrooms. The bill appropriates about $4 million in one-time monies over two years and then requires schools to incorporate ongoing costs into their capital budgets by 2025.
HB184: Teacher Professional Development Amendments amends a notice requirement for a reallocation of instructional hours or school days for teacher preparation time or teacher professional development.
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 Sara Jones: Legislative Team member Chase Clyde presented UEA’s budget priorities to the House Democratic Caucus today. House members asked a lot of questions about the UEA’s position on the budget, the governor’s recent executive order, Senate Bill 114 and a potential voucher bill.
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 Layla Hardy, physics and science teacher in Weber School District
…I am the one who is “in the trenches” where I teach and live, not the UEA team. I have to speak for me and for my community. If I don’t, then I can’t expect things to work out. If I don’t, I am taking my chances. If a pro (like you) doesn’t inform education policy in your community and a non-educator does, then it’s like my first child said when he came home from kindergarten one day 17 years ago, “Ya get what ya get and ya don’t throw a fit.” An uphill climb is always harder than a downhill roll. Find your legislators here and give them a ring. Speak up!
Upcoming Legislation to Watch
Four UEA-tracked bills are on the agenda for the House Education Committee at 3:40 p.m., Feb. 2:
- HB241: School Epilepsy Training Amendments requires a school district or charter school to provide training on seizures and seizure disorders.
- HB230: Refugee and Immigrant Student Policies Amendments amends provisions related to enrollment of refugee and immigrant students in public schools. The UEA supports this bill.
- HB251: School Dropout Prevention Amendments makes changes to provisions related to school dropout prevention.
- HB113: Funding for Students with Disabilities amends a formula related to add-on weighted pupil units for students with disabilities. The UEA supports this bill.
- See the 2022 UEA Legislative Tracking Sheet for the current bills tracked by UEA.
- View all legislative happenings at UEA Under the Dome.