Week Five – February 16-19 2021

UEA Report on the 2021 Utah Legislature General Session

2021 WEEK IN REVIEW: February 16-19

New budget projections show additional funding is available to support education programs, including several items requested by the UEA to support educators and students. The projections are above the historic funding already voted by the legislature earlier in the session. Bills on the move this week include a step towards loosening mask requirements, elimination of doctors notes for absences, and call for instruction on Native American culture. The number of education-related bills appears to be declining in recent years.

$315 million in additional funding available according to new estimates

The governor and the legislature released tax collection projections showing a significant increase in revenue available for next year’s budget. State tax collection estimates show lawmakers have an additional $315 in Education Fund revenue available this year: $80 million in ongoing and $235 million in one-time. A press release from the Governor’s Office and Legislature attributed the increase to “the longstanding strength of Utah’s economy, despite unprecedented financial challenges due to COVID-19.” This year, the legislature has already allocated a historic $400 million increase toward public education. The Legislature has indicated it also plans to provide a significant tax cut.

 

Fewer education bills being considered this year?

The UEA made a plea to the legislature in its 2021 Legislative Priorities to “reverse the overwhelming workload and support Utah educators during the COVID pandemic crisis by strictly limiting education-related bills to essential legislation…” So how are we doing? One way to measure is to compare the number of bills being tracked. At the end of WEEK FIVE, the UEA was tracking 67 bills. That’s down from 81 last year and 85 at the same time in 2019 and significantly below the 120 bills tracked at the end of WEEK FIVE in 2016.

 

Committee considers whether schools can enforce mask wearing

A watered-down version of a bill that would have allowed school districts to ignore health orders regarding mask mandates in schools passed a Senate committee. SB187 (2nd sub): Local Education Agency Policies Amendments was substituted in the committee to remove language regarding mask mandates but would still require health departments to consult with LEAs on health orders related to mask mandates. The bill passed the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on a vote of 5-2 then was substituted again on the Senate floor. The UEA opposes this bill.

 

No more doctor notes required for student absences

Bills to make it easier for students to be excused for mental health concerns and to prohibit requiring doctor notes for absences are on the way to the governor. HB81: Mental Health Days for Students adds mental or behavioral health as a valid excuse for a school absence. The bill passed the Senate unanimously. HB116: Student Attendance Amendments prohibits requiring documentation from a medical professional for an absence due to mental or physical illness. The bill passed the Senate on a vote of 27-2.

 

House votes down a resolution urging public schools to retire Native American mascots

Removing Native American mascots and providing instruction on Native American history and culture will not have support from the legislature. The House downed HCR3 (2nd sub): Concurrent Resolution Regarding Native American Mascots and Equality in Public Schools on a vote of 27-45. The bill would have recognized “the harm done by using Native American mascots, encourages schools in the public education system to consider retiring those mascots, and encourages the State Board of Education and local education agencies to provide instruction in Native American culture and history.”

 

Other education bills on the move during WEEK FIVE

 

  • HB38: School Technology Amendments requires a digital resource provider to ensure that the digital resource provider’s products used in public schools block “obscene or pornographic material.” The UEA believes this bill is unnecessary because adequate filters already exist to block inappropriate material. It passed the House unanimously and will now be considered by the Senate.
  • HB42 (1st sub): Education Agency Report Process Amendments removes some existing reports and requires the Utah State Board of Education to establish a policy or procedures to evaluate the impact any report required in a rule proposed by the state board may have on reporting requirements for a local education agency. The UEA supports this bill. It passed the Senate Education Committee unanimously and the full Senate on a vote of 24-1. It now goes to the governor for signature.
  • HB124 (1st sub): Civics Education Amendments changes the start date for a civics engagement pilot program created in last year’s legislative session from 2020-21 to 2021-22. The UEA supports this bill. It passed the House unanimously and now goes to the Senate.
  • HB134 (1st sub): Notice of Public Education Reporting Requirement requires that the legislature indicate whether a bill will impact reporting requirements for school districts and charter schools. The UEA supports this bill. It passed both the Senate Education Committee and the full Senate unanimously. It now goes to the governor.
  • HB177 (3rd sub): Health Education Amendments requires the Utah State Board of Education to establish curriculum requirements that include instruction on consent and what does not constitute consent. The bill also includes curriculum on and sexual violence behavior prevention. It would be an opt-in choice for students. The UEA supports this bill. After considerable debate, it narrowly passed the House Education Committee on a vote of 6-5.
  • HB182 (1st sub): Educator Hearings Amendments clarifies existing statute to identify the appropriate court of appeals for an educator who appeals a termination by a school district. UEA brought this issue to the legislature. The bill originally failed on a vote of 34-36 but after a language change and substitution, it was reconsidered and passed the House unanimously. It now goes to the Senate.
  • HB222: School Land Trust Program Amendments amends provisions related to reporting and the administration of the School Learning and Nurturing Development Trust Program. The UEA supports this bill. It passed the Senate unanimously and now goes to the governor.
  • HB233: Education Immunization Modifications prohibits higher education institutions and local education agencies that offer both remote and in-person learning from requiring a vaccine-exempt student to participate remotely rather than in-person. The UEA opposes this bill because it usurps the authority of the Health Department. It passed the House on a vote of 48-22 and now go to the Senate for consideration.
  • HB258 (2nd sub): Firearm Safety in Schools creates an optional pilot program for schools to teach firearm safety as an elective course in grades 9-12. The bill passed the House Judiciary Committee on a vote of 6-3 and the full House on a vote of 47-21. It now goes to the Senate.
  • HB300: Reporting Requirements for Local Education Agencies requires the State Board of Education to work with local education agencies to develop a process to review reports required in statute and state board rule. The UEA supports this bill. It passed both the House Education Committee and the full House unanimously and now go to the Senate for consideration.
  • HB302 (2nd sub.): Preserving Sports for Female Students requires public schools to designate athletic activities as either “boys”, “girls” or “coed” and prohibits male students at birth who identify as female from participating in girls’ sports. The UEA opposes this legislation because it would supersede existing UHSAA policy that already provides protection regarding transgender participation in sports. The House passed the bill on a vote of 50-23.
  • HB304 (2nd sub): Digital Opportunity Access Amendments implements measures to increase broadband infrastructure, digital access, and digital equity. The UEA supports this bill. It passed on a vote of 59-4 and now go to the Senate for consideration.
  • HB308: Covid-19 Vaccine Amendments prohibits a governmental entity from requiring that an individual receive a vaccine for COVID-19. It passed the House Government Operations Committee unanimously.
  • HB323 (1st sub): High Poverty Schools Teacher Bonus Program Amendments addresses an existing program that bases a teacher bonus on high student test scores. Because statewide standardized assessments were not completed in the spring of 2020, data does not exist to award the teacher bonus for this year. The bill makes an allowance for the 2020-21 year only to use test scores from 2018-19 to award the bonus. UEA opposes the bill because it ties teacher pay to student test scores. The bill passed the House Education Committee unanimously and the full House on a vote of 52-12. It now go to the Senate for consideration.
  • HB343: School Emergency Drills Amendments provides flexibility for schools during the 2021-22 school year only to choose whether to hold standard emergency drills or provide in-class instruction in lieu of a drill. The UEA supports this bill. It passed the House Education Committee on a vote of 10-3.
  • HCR8: Concurrent Resolution on Education reaffirms existing code about flexibility and school choice options for parents and families. The UEA opposes the resolution because it ignores the importance of high educational standards and taxpayer accountability. It passed the Senate Education Committee on a vote of 3-1 and now goes to the full Senate.
  • HCR15: Concurrent Resolution Emphasizing the Importance of Civics Education recognizes the critical role of an engaged and informed citizenry and the importance of civics education. The resolution also encourages the creation of a broad-based and informal working group to review civics education. It passed the House Education Committee unanimously.
  • SB92 (2nd sub): Elections Amendments provides that a regulated officeholder is not required to file a conflict-of-interest disclosure at the time of filing for reelection to office if the regulated officeholder already filed a disclosure earlier the same year and indicates that the disclosure is accurate and up-to-date. The UEA supports this bill. It passed the Senate unanimously and now go to the House for consideration.
  • SB115 (1st sub): Retirement System Transparency Requirements requires certain employers that participate in the URS to disclose employee compensation information through the Utah Public Finance Website or the employer’s own website. The UEA opposes this bill. It passed the Senate a vote of 23-5 and now goes to the House.
  • SB125 (1st sub): Open and Public Meetings Act Amendments requires a public body convening an electronic meeting to provide facilities at an anchor location for the public to attend the meeting. The UEA supports this bill. It passed the House unanimously and now goes to the governor for signature.
  • SB131 (2nd sub): Public Education Buildings Standards and Process changes requirements for creating a facilities plan regarding new construction, maintenance and renovation of school buildings. The UEA believes this is better handled as a local issue. It passed the Senate on a vote of 24-5 and now go to the House for consideration.
  • SB142: Public Education Funding Amendments implements several recommendations from a recent comprehensive funding study. The UEA supports this bill. It passed the House Education Committee unanimously.
  • SB145: Military Family Education Amendments creates greater flexibility for enrolling in school students of military families moving in to and out of Utah. The UEA supports this bill. It passed the House Education Committee unanimously.
  • SB154: Teacher Salary Supplement Program Amendments adds teachers with a deaf education license to this existing salary supplement program. The UEA supports this bill. It passed the House Education Committee unanimously.
  • SB175 (2nd sub): Special Education Least Restrictive Requirement Amendments creates certain allowances for state special education funding that are different from federal requirements. Sen Anderegg said he recognized there were still concerns with the substitute bill and that a second substitute was being developed. UEA opposed the original bill. It narrowly passed the Senate Education Committee on a vote of 3-2 and was later substituted in the Senate.
  • SB178: Education Deadline and Fiscal Flexibility extends or provides flexibility regarding certain education deadlines and spending restrictions. The bill passed the Senate Education Committee unanimously.

 

UEA Legislative Team delivers legislative update

The UEA Legislative Team provided its weekly Capitol Insights virtual update to UEA members on Thursday, February 18. The Team provides the briefings each Thursday at 4:30 p.m. during the Legislative Session.

 

 

Education ‘Policy Ambassadors’ share lobbying experiences

Eleven educators were selected to become 2021 UEA Policy Ambassadors. These teachers received training from the UEA Legislative Team and have agreed to participate in UEA legislative activities, engage with their legislators and share their experiences with UEA members. Here is an excerpt from a new submission…

 

  • The Power to Implement Change and Make a Difference – by UEA Policy Ambassador Shandré Call, English teacher at East High School in Salt Lake City School District
    …As a new American, I am poignantly aware of my freedoms and rights and the need to contribute meaningfully in whatever ways I can. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve and, like all teachers everywhere, I want to make a difference and provide my students with an education that will give them options to follow dreams and successful life paths of their own choosing. Being a UEA Policy Ambassador this year is another step to help me do so. Join with me and your local association and the larger UEA family to create lasting change. As so many of my co-ambassadors have expressed: Our voices matter. Laws that affect us and our students don’t happen in isolation and part of our legislators’ and representatives’ duties is to hear us and be guided by our input. I am learning that they will listen if we speak. And when our voices band together, the sound we make is even louder…read the full article from Shandré Call

 

  • Teachers Make a Difference – by UEA Policy Ambassador Aaron Webb, music teacher at Parley’s Park Elementary School in Park City School District
    …Our stories as educators and our expertise are badly needed in politics. Despite the warmth and respect for the (teaching) profession, many lawmakers and members of the public in general do not yet grasp the full educational, social, economic and human impact of potential legislation like House Bill 302 (Preserving Sports for Female Students), or House Concurrent Resolution 8 (Concurrent Resolution on Education). Who does? That’s right, educators. And what is our job? That’s right, to teach – not just our students, but our communities and legislators as well. As teachers, we are uniquely situated to make a difference. We know that in order to reach our students we must build relationships. We must meet our students where they are and build upon their existing strengths. We must encourage and challenge our students to be the best they can be. We must apply the same skills to educate our community and elected leaders about what is happening in our schools…read the full article from Aaron Webb

 

  • The Importance of Holocaust Education – by UEA Policy Ambassador Tony Zani, literacy coach at Rose Park Elementary School in Salt Lake City School District
    I’ve really enjoyed that the Utah Legislature has put all of its meetings online. It’s so nice to be able eavesdrop on committee meetings during my lunch break! Even better, the meetings are recorded and you can jump to the part of the meetings that pertain to your interests. A big frustration I’ve had in past years is taking a day off to go the Capital Hill to try and get a chance to speak about a bill only to have the committee not get to that particular bill. If you haven’t had a chance, I encourage you to look at the legislative calendar and listen in on some of the discussion and debate on bills. While I was eavesdropping this week, I overheard a discussion on a concurrent resolution on Holocaust education . This was the first I’d heard of this and I was curious. A resolution is not a law, it’s a statement from the legislature. In this case, it’s an encouragement for the State Board of Education and local education agencies to provide Holocaust and genocide education…Read the full article from Tony Zani

 

 


$315 million in additional funding available according to new estimates – February 19, 2021

The governor and the legislature released tax collection projections showing a significant increase in revenue available for next year’s budget. The pace of legislation moving through the body quickened with 10 bills tracked by the UEA receiving passing votes today.

New Revenue Numbers Released: State tax collection estimates announced today show lawmakers have an additional $315 in Education Fund revenue available this year: $80 million in ongoing and $235 million in one-time. A press release from the Governor’s Office and Legislature attributed the increase to “the longstanding strength of Utah’s economy, despite unprecedented financial challenges due to COVID-19.” This year, the legislature has already allocated a historic $400 million increase toward public education. The Legislature has indicated it also plans to provide a significant tax cut.

General Fund revenue projections, which come primarily from sales tax, include:

 

  • $32 million newly available ongoing revenue
  • $80 million newly available one-time revenue

Education Fund revenue projections, which come primarily from income tax and are dedicated to supporting public and higher education, children, and people with disabilities, include:

 

  • $80 million newly available ongoing funds
  • $235 million newly available one-time revenue

Policymakers have about $1.3 billion one-time and $205 million ongoing to allocate during the 2021 General Session. Currently, appropriations requests total nearly $2 billion one-time and $400 million ongoing.

House Education Committee (reported by Sara Jones): The committee discussed four UEA-tracked bills. The UEA supports all four. Three of the four bills passed unanimously.

SB154: Teacher Salary Supplement Program Amendments adds teachers with a deaf education license to this existing salary supplement program. UEA Director of Research Jay Blain spoke in favor of the bill saying it recognized and rewarded the important contributions educators make as they serve students.

SB145: Military Family Education Amendments creates greater flexibility for enrolling in school students of military families moving in to and out of Utah.

HB343: School Emergency Drills Amendments provides flexibility for schools during the 2021-22 school year only to choose whether to hold standard emergency drills or provide in-class instruction in lieu of a drill. The bill passed on a vote of 10-3.

SB142: Public Education Funding Amendments implements a number of recommendations from a recent comprehensive funding study. UEA Director of Research Jay Blain spoke in support of the bill highlighting several important changes and stated that moving funding for students at-risk of academic failure “above the line” as a very positive step.

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

HB304 (2nd sub): Digital Opportunity Access Amendments implements measures to increase broadband infrastructure, digital access, and digital equity. The UEA supports this bill. It passed on a vote of 59-4.

HB323 (1st sub): High Poverty Schools Teacher Bonus Program Amendments addresses an existing program that bases a teacher bonus on high student test scores. Because statewide standardized assessments were not completed in the spring of 2020, data does not exist to award the teacher bonus for this year. The bill makes an allowance for the 2020-21 year only to use test scores from 2018-19 to award the bonus. UEA opposes the bill because it ties teacher pay to student test scores. The bill passed the House on a vote of 52-12.

HB233: Education Immunization Modifications prohibits higher education institutions and local education agencies that offer both remote and in-person learning from requiring a vaccine-exempt student to participate remotely rather than in-person. The UEA opposes this bill because it usurps the authority of the Health Department. It passed the House on a vote of 48-22.

HB300: Reporting Requirements for Local Education Agencies requires the State Board of Education to work with local education agencies to develop a process to review reports required in statute and state board rule. The UEA supports this bill. It passed unanimously.

Senate Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): Two UEA-tracked bills passed the Senate and were returned to the House to concur with changes:

HB42 (1st sub): Education Agency Report Process Amendments removes some existing reports and requires the Utah State Board of Education to establish a policy or procedures to evaluate the impact any report required in a rule proposed by the state board may have on reporting requirements for a local education agency. The UEA supports this bill. It passed the Senate on a vote of 24-1.

HB134 (1st sub): Notice of Public Education Reporting Requirement requires that the legislature indicate whether a bill will impact reporting requirements for school districts and charters. The UEA supports this bill. It passed the Senate on a vote of 24-1.

 

Upcoming Legislation to Watch

Three UEA-tracked and supported bills are scheduled for hearing in the Senate Education Committee at 8 a.m. Feb. 23:

 

 

In Case You Missed It

The UEA Legislative Team provides a weekly Capitol Insights virtual update to UEA members each Thursday at 4:30 p.m.

 


UEA Policy Ambassador Message – February 19, 2021

Eleven educators were selected to become 2021 UEA Policy Ambassadors. These teachers received training from the UEA Legislative Team and have agreed to participate in UEA legislative activities, engage with their legislators and share their experiences with UEA members. Here is an excerpt from a new submission…

 

The Power to Implement Change and Make a Difference

Submitted by UEA Policy Ambassador Shandré Call, English teacher at East High School in Salt Lake City School District

…As a new American, I am poignantly aware of my freedoms and rights and the need to contribute meaningfully in whatever ways I can. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve and, like all teachers everywhere, I want to make a difference and provide my students with an education that will give them options to follow dreams and successful life paths of their own choosing. Being a UEA Policy Ambassador this year is another step to help me do so.

Join with me and your local association and the larger UEA family to create lasting change. As so many of my co-ambassadors have expressed: Our voices matter. Laws that affect us and our students don’t happen in isolation and part of our legislators’ and representatives’ duties is to hear us and be guided by our input. I am learning that they will listen if we speak. And when our voices band together, the sound we make is even louder.

 


 

Committee considers whether schools can enforce mask wearing – February 18, 2021

A watered-down version of a bill that would have allowed school districts to ignore health orders regarding mask mandates in schools passed a Senate committee. Bills to make it easier for students to be excused for mental health concerns and to prohibits requiring doctors notes for absences are on the way to the governor.

Senate Education Committee (reported by Sara Jones): HCR8: Concurrent Resolution on Education reaffirms existing code about flexibility and school choice options for parents and families. The UEA opposes the resolution because it ignores the importance of high educational standards and taxpayer accountability. It passed the committee on a vote of 3-1 and now goes to the full Senate.

Senate Health and Human Services Committee (reported by Chase Clyde): One UEA-tracked bill was heard in Senate Health and Human Services CommitteeSB187 (1st sub): Local Education Agency Policies Amendments would allow LEAs to ignore health orders regarding mask mandates in schools. The Bill was substituted in the committee to remove language regarding mask mandates but would still require health departments to consults with LEAs on health orders related to mask mandates. The bill passed the committee with a vote of 5-2. UEA opposed the original bill and testified with concerns. The UEA Legislative Team is currently reviewing the substance of the substitute.

House Government Operations Committee (reported by Sara Jones): One UEA-tracked bill was heard in House Government Operations CommitteeHB308: Covid-19 Vaccine Amendments prohibits a governmental entity from requiring that an individual receive a vaccine for COVID-19. It passed the committee unanimously.

House Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): HB182 (1st sub): Educator Hearings Amendments clarifies existing statute to identify the appropriate court of appeals for an educator who appeals a termination by a school district. UEA brought this issue to the attention of Rep. Hall and worked with him to develop the legislation. The bill originally failed on a vote of 34-36 but after a language change and substitution, it was reconsidered and passed unanimously. It now goes to the Senate.

SB125: Open and Public Meetings Act Amendments requires a public body convening an electronic meeting to provide facilities at an anchor location for the public to attend the meeting. The UEA supports this bill. It passed the House unanimously and now goes to the governor for signature.

Senate Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): HB81: Mental Health Days for Students adds mental or behavioral health as a valid excuse for a school absence. The bill passed the Senate unanimously and now goes to the governor.

HB116: Student Attendance Amendments prohibits requiring documentation from a medical professional for an absence due to mental or physical illness. The bill passed the Senate on a vote of 27-2 and now goes to governor.

HB222: School Land Trust Program Amendments amends provisions related to reporting and the administration of the School Learning and Nurturing Development Trust Program. The UEA supports this bill. It passed the Senate unanimously and now goes to the governor.


 

UEA Policy Ambassador Message – February 18, 2021

Eleven educators were selected to become 2021 UEA Policy Ambassadors. These teachers received training from the UEA Legislative Team and have agreed to participate in UEA legislative activities, engage with their legislators and share their experiences with UEA members. Here is an excerpt from a new submission…

 

Teachers Make a Difference

Submitted by UEA Policy Ambassador Aaron Webb, music teacher at Parley’s Park Elementary School in Park City School District

…Our stories as educators and our expertise are badly needed in politics. Despite the warmth and respect for the (teaching) profession, many lawmakers and members of the public in general do not yet grasp the full educational, social, economic and human impact of potential legislation like House Bill 302 (Preserving Sports for Female Students), or House Concurrent Resolution 8 (Concurrent Resolution on Education). Who does? That’s right, educators. And what is our job? That’s right, to teach – not just our students, but our communities and legislators as well.

As teachers, we are uniquely situated to make a difference. We know that in order to reach our students we must build relationships. We must meet our students where they are and build upon their existing strengths. We must encourage and challenge our students to be the best they can be. We must apply the same skills to educate our community and elected leaders about what is happening in our schools.

 


 

Teacher stipend based on test scores passes committee vote – February 17, 2021

A bill to increase the stipend paid to teachers in high poverty areas based on test scores passed the House Education Committee. The House passed bills to change the state’s civics engagement program and to require schools have software to block obscene material. The Senate approved measures to regulate new school construction and to require all Utah Retirement Systems participants to disclose salary information.

House Education Committee (reported by Sara Jones): HB323 (1st sub): High Poverty Schools Teacher Bonus Program Amendments was presented by Rep. Mike Winder. This bill addresses an existing program that bases a teacher bonus on high student test scores. Because statewide standardized assessments were not completed in the spring of 2020, data does not exist to award the teacher bonus for this year. The bill makes an allowance for the 2020-21 year only to use test scores from 2018-19 to award the bonus. UEA opposes the bill because it ties teacher pay to student test scores. The bill passed unanimously.

HCR15: Concurrent Resolution Emphasizing the Importance of Civics Education was presented by Rep. Lowry Snow. The resolution recognizes the critical role of an engaged and informed citizenry and the importance of civics education. The resolution also encourages the creation of a broad-based and informal working group to review civics education. UEA does not yet have a position on the bill. It passed unanimously.

HB177 (3rd sub): Health Education Amendments requires the Utah State Board of Education to establish curriculum requirements that include instruction on consent and what does not constitute consent. The bill also includes curriculum on and sexual violence behavior prevention. It would be an opt-in choice for students. The UEA supports this bill. After considerable debate, it narrowly passed on a vote of 6-5.

Senate Education Committee (reported by Sara Jones): Four UEA-tracked bills passed out of Senate Education Committee today.

The committee spent considerable time debating SB175: Special Education Least Restrictive Requirement Amendments. The bill creates certain allowances for state special education funding that are different from federal requirements. Sen Anderegg said he recognized there were still concerns with the substitute bill and that a second substitute was being developed. UEA opposes the bill. It narrowly passed out of committee on a vote of 3-2.

Three bills supported by UEA then passed unanimously and with little debate:

SB178: Education Deadline and Fiscal Flexibility extends or provides flexibility regarding certain education deadlines and spending restrictions.

HB42: Education Agency Report Process Amendments removes some existing reports and requires the Utah State Board of Education to establish a policy or procedures to evaluate the impact any report required in a rule proposed by the state board may have on reporting requirements for a local education agency. The UEA supports this bill.

HB134 (1st sub): Notice of Public Education Reporting Requirement requires that the legislature indicate whether a bill will impact reporting requirements for school districts and charters. The UEA supports this bill.

House Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): HB124: Civics Engagement Pilot Program Amendments changes the start date for a civics engagement pilot program created in last year’s legislative session from 2020-21 to 2021-22. The UEA supports this bill. It passed the House unanimously and now goes to the Senate.

HB38: School Technology Amendments requires a digital resource provider to ensure that the digital resource provider’s products used in public schools block “obscene or pornographic material.” The UEA believes this bill is unnecessary because adequate filters already exist to block inappropriate material. It passed the House unanimously and will now be considered by the Senate.

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

SB92: Elections Amendments provides that a regulated officeholder is not required to file a conflict-of-interest disclosure at the time of filing for reelection to office if the regulated officeholder already filed a disclosure earlier the same year and indicates that the disclosure is accurate and up-to-date. The UEA supports this bill. It passed unanimously.

SB131 (2nd sub): Public Education Buildings Standards and Process changes requirements for creating a facilities plan regarding new construction, maintenance and renovation of school buildings. The UEA believes this is better handled as a local issue. It passed on a vote of 24-5.

SB115: Retirement System Transparency Requirements requires certain employers that participate in the URS to disclose employee compensation information through the Utah Public Finance Website or the employer’s own website. The UEA opposes this bill. It passed a vote of 23-5.


UEA Policy Ambassador Message – February 17, 2021

Eleven educators were selected to become 2021 UEA Policy Ambassadors. These teachers received training from the UEA Legislative Team and have agreed to participate in UEA legislative activities, engage with their legislators and share their experiences with UEA members. Here is an excerpt from a new submission…

 

The Importance of Holocaust Education

Submitted by UEA Policy Ambassador Tony Zani, literacy coach at Rose Park Elementary School in Salt Lake City School District

I’ve really enjoyed that the Utah Legislature has put all of its meetings online. It’s so nice to be able eavesdrop on committee meetings during my lunch break! Even better, the meetings are recorded and you can jump to the part of the meetings that pertain to your interests.

A big frustration I’ve had in past years is taking a day off to go the Capital Hill to try and get a chance to speak about a bill only to have the committee not get to that particular bill. If you haven’t had a chance, I encourage you to look at the legislative calendar and listen in on some of the discussion and debate on bills.

While I was eavesdropping this week, I overheard a discussion on a concurrent resolution on Holocaust education . This was the first I’d heard of this and I was curious. A resolution is not a law, it’s a statement from the legislature. In this case, it’s an encouragement for the State Board of Education and local education agencies to provide Holocaust and genocide education…

 


House votes down a resolution urging public schools to retire Native American mascots – February 16, 2021

Removing Native American mascots and providing instruction on Native American history and culture will not have support from the legislature. The House downed a resolution on a vote of 27-45. A pilot program to teach firearm safety as an elective in secondary schools is moving forward.

House Education Committee (reported by Sara Jones): One UEA-tracked bill was heard in the committee. HB300: Reporting Requirements for Local Education Agencies was presented by Rep. Susan Pulsipher. The bill is one of three bills sponsored by Rep Pulsipher to reduce or streamline the number of mandatory reports that districts and charter schools are required to complete annually. UEA supports the bill. It passed out of committee unanimously and will now be considered by the full House.

HB299: Mental Health Wellbeing in Schools Pilot Program was listed on the agenda but was not heard.

House Judiciary Committee (reported by Sara Jones): HB258 (2nd sub): Firearm Safety in Schools was presented by Rep. Rex Shipp. The bill creates an optional pilot program for schools to teach firearm safety as an elective course in grades 9-12. Sara Jones, UEA Director of Government Relations, shared a number of concerns with the bill. Primarily, UEA is concerned that curriculum issues should be decided by school districts and not the legislature. But, importantly, UEA is also concerned that new programs or initiatives should not be implemented this year when schools and educators are so strained by COVID-19. Rep. Brady Brammer questioned each of UEA’s concerns and dismissed the concern that given the impact of the pandemic this is not the year for new expectations to be placed on schools. The bill passed out of committee on a vote of 6-3.

House Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): HCR3 (2nd sub): Concurrent Resolution Regarding Native American Mascots and Equality in Public Schools “recognizes the harm done by using Native American mascots, encourages schools in the public education system to consider retiring those mascots, and encourages the State Board of Education and local education agencies to provide instruction in Native American culture and history.” After narrowly passing 6-5 in the House Education Committee, the bill failed in the House on a vote of 27-45.

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