Sensitive Materials Bill Narrowly Passes Senate Education Committee

Multiple bills related to “sensitive materials” have been proposed during the 2023 General Session of the Legislature. On February 23, the House Education Committee narrowly passed a bill by Rep. Ken Ivory (R-West Jordan) HB 464 (School Materials Amendments). The bill passed by a vote of 7-6. It would establish a more prescriptive sensitive materials review process for LEAs, require an LEA to immediately remove a challenged material until a review process was completed and if the material is deemed a sensitive material, report it to the State Board, and require the State Board to create a statewide rating system for “age-appropriate instructional materials”.

UEA Director Sara Jones spoke in opposition to the bill. She stated that allowing any “parent of a school-age child” to file a complaint, rather than limiting the process to parents with a student enrolled in the LEA would create chaos. She also opposed that an LEA would have to explain and justify allowing student access to material that had been challenged and reviewed but found to not be sensitive material.

The bill is scheduled for its third reading in the House.

Also, UEA released the following statement to the media regarding SJR10 (Proposal to Amend Utah Constitution – Income Tax) sponsored by Sen. Daniel McCay (R-Salt Lake County). The bill intends to eliminate the constitutional requirement that all state income tax revenue “shall be used” for K-12 and higher education, as well as children and individuals with a disability.

“UEA continues to oppose SJR10 in its current form. As always, our goal is to ensure education funding is prioritized, protected and adequate through constitutional language and guarantees. We are gathering input from our members to understand better how we can best represent educator concerns regarding eliminating the constitutional requirement.”

SJR10 has been placed on the Senate calendar for a second reading.