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Regents Place Restrictions USU Lobbying, Hosting Lawmakers

The Herald Journal Saturday, Jul. 21, 2018

Utah State University will have to cut back on expenses to host state lawmakers at certain school events, including sports. Not only that, but the university will be required to keep track of lawmakers’ attendance to some events or meetings and report it annually to Utah’s higher education governing board. Those are only a few of the provisions that stem from a new policy approved by the Board of Regents during a meeting on Friday at Southern Utah University. “This is something I feel is a very workable solution to a problem (that’s) come up,” Higher Education Commissioner Dave Buhler told members of the board during the meeting. ... Neil Abercrombie, USU vice president of government relations, expressed the same concerns over the governor’s executive order and applauded the commissioner for working out another solution. “That would have limited our ability to engage with lawmakers — especially a school like Utah State,” he said. “The Regents’ policy set the right direction and addressed a few of those things.” According to the new policy, Utah’s public colleges and universities may continue to host legislators at institution-sponsored events and pay for their food and beverages in certain cases, including when it’s a function where all lawmakers are invited. Schools including USU “may pay travel and registration costs” for lawmakers attending meetings that address “specific policies and issues impacting public higher education,” according to the policy. Those meetings and expenses must be reported by institutions to the board annually.

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