Utah Legislative Session - Week 7
Tuesday, Mar. 16, 2010
The Utah Legislature adjourned sine die just before midnight March 11. Although there was a lot of final-week activity, the higher education budget scenario outlined in week six held. The proposed additional base-budget cuts of 5 percent were eliminated, and an ongoing backfill of 3 percent was implemented. This means that our new base budget cut over FY2009 is now approximately 14 percent (adjusted from 17 percent). These figures constitute the original 9 percent cut taken for the FY2010 budget (equaling approximately $13 million for USU), plus an additional 5 percent (approximately $8 million) for FY2011.
The FY2011 numbers mean that there will still be a significant impact on USU as a 5 percent cut will be implemented for next fiscal year (July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2011). However, thanks to prudent management and planning from the USU Budget Reduction Committee in collaboration with deans and department heads, there will a smaller cut than anticipated. This means that the likelihood of FY2011 furloughs is small, and the university will have an opportunity to lessen the impact of cuts in certain areas. Although a 14 percent cut over FY2009 is serious, it is significantly better than the 22 percent cut proposed earlier in the session. We are grateful for the diligent work of our legislators and the governor’s office for helping to permanently restore a portion of the onetime backfill to higher education from last session.
The final week of the session brought with it several newly approved higher education buildings. SB 282 authorized and paid for the construction of buildings at Dixie State College ($35 million), Utah Valley University ($45 million) and Salt Lake Community College ($29 million). In addition to that bill, the Legislature approved 1SB 280 which included the authorization to release the $43.1 million bond approved in 2008 for the USU College of Agriculture (COA) Building. Although authorized in 2008, these funds were contingent of federal dollars because a combined federal and state building was anticipated. As the planning process proved the necessity for two separate federal and state buildings, USU sought the release of the state funds to immediate begin construction.
Final approval for the 1SB 280 happened in the final hours of the session thanks to hard work of conference committee members Sen. Hillyard, Rep. Hunsaker, Sen. Niederhauser, Rep. Gowans, Sen. Goodfellow and Rep. Last, who worked out a disagreement over a state hospital funding amendment. A spring groundbreaking for USU COA building is anticipated on the USU Quad. Construction of the federal Agricultural Research Service building, to be located on the Quad adjacent to the COA building, will follow as funds become available from the federal government (approximately $17 million has been banked for the federal ARS project to date). Additionally, 1SB 280 authorized the necessary bonding to finish construction on the USTAR buildings at USU ($18.4 million) and the University of Utah ($27.6 million).
In other funding bills, the operations and maintenance for the USU COA building was authorized at a level of $493,000. These funds will combine with the existing O&M on the Peterson Ag Building for a total of approximately $900,000. Additionally, $500,000 in one-time funds was appropriated for transition costs associated with the USU/CEU merger (which should be signed into law by the governor soon). $3 million in non-state funding was also approved for a USU classroom building at the Utah Botanical Center. This building will be constructed with donated and other non-state funds.
Below is a list of some of the notable legislation related to the Utah System of Higher Education and USU:
BILLS THAT PASSED (some still pending the governor’s signature)
- HB 2, Bigelow, Fiscal Year 2010 and Fiscal Year 2011 Supplemental Appropriations — This bill supplements or reduces appropriations previously provided for the use and support of state government for the fiscal years beginning Jul1, 2009, and ending June 30, 2010, and beginning July 1, 2010, and ending June 30, 2011.
- 5HB 3, S Clark, Revenue Bond and Capital Facilities Authorizations — This bill authorizes certain state agencies and higher education institutions to issue revenue bonds, to build capital facilities using agency, institutional or donated funds, or to sell, lease or dispose of property.
- HB 6, Dee, State Agency Compensation Appropriations — This bill supplements or reduces appropriations previously provided for the use and operation of state government. The bill funds compensation changes for state employees for the fiscal years beginning July 1, 2009, and ending June 30, 2010, and beginning July 1, 2010, and ending June 30, 2011.
- HB 27, Frank, Per Diem and Travel Expense Modifications — this bill modifies per diem and travel expense language used for boards, commissions, councils and committees.
- 3HB 78, Sandstrom, Weapons Revisions — This bill modifies weapons provisions of the Utah Criminal Code on carrying, displaying and using a dangerous weapon. This bill clarifies when a person may threaten or display a dangerous weapon in self defense.
- HB 107, Seelig, Animal Shelter Amendments — This bill amends provisions of the Utah Code relating to an animal shelter providing an animal to be used for research or educational purposes.
- 1HB 114, Wimmer, Disclosure of Donations to Higher Education Institutions — This bill requires education institutions to disclose certain gifts.The bill requires a higher education institution to disclose to the Board of Regents certain gifts received from a foreign person and provides the method of disclosure.
- HB 138, Moss, Hazing Penalties — This bill amends provisions of the Utah Criminal Code relating to hazing.
- 1HB 196, Ray, Tobacco Tax Revisions — This bill amends the Cigarette and Tobacco Tax Act by increasing the tax rates on the sale, use, storage or distribution of tobacco products in the state for the 2010-11 fiscal year and allowing the rates to fluctuate in subsequent years.
- HB 215, Garn, Amendments to Public Employees’ Benefit and Insurance Program Act — This bill amends the Public Employee’s Benefit and Insurance Program Act risk pools. This bill changes the number of eligible full-time enrollees an institution of higher education must have in order to participate in the program’s risk pools.
- HB 233, Ipson, Retirement Office Amendments — This bill modifies the Utah State Retirement and Insurance Benefit Act by amending provisions related to appointment of board members, purchase of service credit, disability benefits and termination of employment on the retirement date.
- 1HB 370, S Clark, Capital Project Amendments — This bill amends capital development provisions.
- 1HB 425, Bigelow, Budgetary Procedures Act- Fee Amendments — This bill modifies provisions of the Budgetary Procedures Act that address fees.
- HB 435, Ipson, Dixie State College- Nonprofit Entities — This bill allows Dixie State College to form nonprofit corporations or foundations for certain purposes.
- HR 1, Oda, Healthy Family Partnership House Resolution — This resolution encourages the Utah State Board of Education and the Utah State Board of Regents, as resources permit, to ensure that all…post-secondary education programs in the state provide…materials on the dangers of family and dating violence.
- HCR 18, Dee, Workforce Needs Concurrent Resolution — This concurrent resolution of the Legislature and the governor strongly urges the State Board of Regents to study and review certain workforce needs in northern Utah and to report its findings to the Legislature and the governor.
- SB 1, Hillyard, State Agency and Higher Education Budget — This bill appropriates funds for the support and operation of state government for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2010, and ending June 30, 2011.
- 1SB 3, Hillyard, Current Fiscal Year supplemental Appropriations — This bill supplements or reduces appropriations previously provided for use and operation of state government for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2009, and ending June 30, 2010.
- 3SB 43, Liljenquist, Post-Retirement Employment Amendments — This bill modifies the Utah State Retirement and Insurance Benefit Act by amending provisions related to a retiree who returns to work for a participating employer and to maximum retirement allowance restrictions.
- 2SB 52, Stowell, State Board of Regents Amendments — This bill modifies provisions related to appointments to the State Board of Regents. This bill requires the governor to appoint at least one member to the Board of Regents from each county that contains a credit-granting higher education institution and provides for transition provisions. This was amended to require the Board of Regents to approve an Electronics Engineering degree at Weber State University
- SB 55, Adams, Authorization of Charter Schools by Higher Education Institutions — this bill allows a board of trustees of a higher education institution to authorize the establishment and operation of a charter school and specifies the responsibilities of a board of trustees that authorizes a charter school.
- 3SB 63, Liljenquist, New Public Employees’ Tier II Contributory Retirement Act — This bill modifies the Utah State Retirement Insurance Benefit Act to provide for modified retirement benefits for new public employees.
- 1SB 69, Hinkins, College of Eastern Utah Affiliation with Utah State University —This bill establishes Utah State University-College of Eastern Utah as a comprehensive regional college of Utah State University.
- 1SB 89, Urquhart, Legal Notice Amendments — this bill requires the advertising of tuition increase on the Utah Public Notice Website 10 days prior to the meeting as well as in the student newspaper.
- 1SB 95, Niederhauser, Utah Educational Savings Plan Amendments — This bill modifies provisions related to the Utah Educational Savings Plan. The bill amends the governance and oversight authority of the State Board of Regents for the UESP. Modifies UESP by clarifying plan’s name, powers, and duties. Beginning in 2011 eliminates requirement to reduce value of the UESP tax credit when the CPI decreases from year to year.
- SB 132, Valentine, Higher Education Scholarship Amendments — this bill makes adjustments to the New Century scholarship and the Regents’ scholarship.
- SB 171, Liljenquist, Higher Education Retirement Amendments — This bill modifies the Utah State Retirement and Insurance Benefit Act by amending participation provisions for higher education employees.
- SB 189, Bramble, Capital Facilities Amendments — This bill amends provisions regarding capital projects accounting and use of project reserve money.
- SB 259, Christensen, Amendments to Tobacco Tax — This bill amend provisions of the Cigarette and Tobacco Tax Act.
- SB 282, Bramble, Capital Facilities Appropriations — This bill appropriates money for capital facilities.
- SJR 15, Master Study Resolution — This joint resolution of the Legislature gives the Legislative Management Committee items of study it may assign to the appropriate interim committee. This includes studies on the Board of Regents, capital facilities, degree opportunities and other areas.
BILLS THAT DID NOT PASS
- HB 134, Vickers, Education Donation Tax Credit — This bill creates a nonrefundable tax credit for certain contributions to public education and higher education institutions.
- HB 190, Mascaro, Disclosure of Methamphetamine Contaminated Property Act Amendments — This bill modifies provisions of the Disclosure of Methamphetamine Contaminated Property Act.
- HB 194, Last, Grants for Math Teacher Training — The bill appropriates money to the State Board of Education to award grants to institutions of higher education or nonprofit education organizations for math teacher training programs. The bill specifies the qualifications of individuals eligible to receive training; and requires the State Board of Education to make rules establishing criteria for awarding grants for math teacher training programs.
- HB 359, Ipson, Utah Retirement System Modifications — Bill numbered by Title without any substance.
- HB 410, Moss, Hazing Policies for Higher Education Institutions — Bill numbered by Title without any substance.
- HB 428, Greenwood, Nonresident Tuition Amendments — This bill repeals an exemption from the nonresident portion of total tuition within the State System of Higher Education.
- HB 460, Dee, Board of Regents Amendments — This bill requires the Board of Regents to approve an electronics engineering program at Weber State University. This language was integrated into 2SB 52 and passed the Legislature.
- HJR 24, Oda, Joint Resolution on Equal Treatment by Government — This joint resolution of the Legislature proposes to amend the Utah Constitution to enact a provision prohibiting discrimination and preferential treatment by government entities.
- SB 35, Niederhauser, Capital Facilities Bonds Amendments — This bill modifies the terms for issuing general obligation bonds for a capital facility project. This bill removes the prerequisites for issuing and selling general obligation bonds for the Utah State University Agricultural Science Classroom Building capital facility project. This language was incorporated by 1SB 280 and passed the Legislature.
- 1SB 40, Christensen, Cigarette and Tobacco Tax Amendments — This bill addresses the tax on cigarettes and tobacco products. This was integrated into SB 259 and passed the Legislature.
- SB 42, Liljenquist, Retirement Eligibility Modifications — This bill modifies the Utah State Retirement and Insurance Benefit Act by amending the years of service credit needed for retirement eligibility and allowance reductions for certain members.
- SB 94, Liljenquist, Supplemental Benefit Amendments for Noncontributory Public Employees — This bill modifies the Public Employees’ Noncontributory Retirement Act by amending provisions related to the supplemental defined contribution for certain employees.
- SB 184, Christensen, Establishing a State Dental School — Bill numbered by Title without any substance.
It is important for the USU community to recognize the support of our friends in the Legislature and in the governor’s office. As important as it was to contact the Legislature and governor on issues important to higher education, it is equally important to acknowledge our gratitude for the hard work done on our behalf. USU is especially grateful to the legislators from Cache Valley and beyond who consistently demonstrate leadership and support on our behalf. Those who are retiring will be sorely missed. Should you wish to contact your elected officials, you may find information at the Web sites below:
For more about the Legislature and specific bills.
The governor’s Web site.
Find a state Senator or Representative.
For questions or comments about any information above, please contact Michael Kennedy, vice president for federal and state relations, Utah State University, at firstname.lastname@example.org.