2017 Legislative Update – Week 3

Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee

The Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee met for its final scheduled hearing this week, focusing on the Board of Regents’ budget priorities for USHE. The committee also considered other budget requests.

Understandably, the top priority of the subcommittee is to restore the 2% across-the-board budget cut. The subcommittee also voted to hold the compensation mix of state funds and tuition funds to the traditional 75% (state funds)/25% (tuition funds), despite the proposal by the Legislative Fiscal Analyst in September 2016 to reduce state funds to that mix. If adopted by the Executive Appropriations Committee, this will help to minimize a 1st tier tuition increase. The subcommittee also highly prioritized compensation increases, voting for the same compensation increases for higher education employees that are made for state employees, including increases for health insurance costs.

With the 2% budget cut restored and the traditional compensation mix established, the Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee then ranked most of the Board of Regents’ top priorities—Student Growth and Market Demand Programs, along with the top priorities of the Utah College of Applied Technology. While the subcommittee did not prioritize the Regents’ performance funding priority, it ranked the proposed Performance Based Funding legislation (SB 117, 1st Sub.), sponsored by Sen. Ann Millner, in support of its passage. That bill would create an ongoing funding mechanism for performance based funding to USHE and UCAT institutions. Below is the subcommittee’s prioritization:

1USHE & UCAT Restoration of 2% Subcommittee reduction$19,174,000
2USHE & UCAT 75%/25%, Compensation*$4,098,400
3USHE Student Growth$3,985,400
4USHE & UCAT Strategic Workforce Investment$2,000,000
5USHE Market Demand Programs$10,000,000
6UCAT Market Demand Programs$4,000,000
7USHE Regents' Scholarship$8,000,000
8USHE & UCAT Performance Based Funding (SB 117)
9UCAT SWATC Workplace Foundations$165,000
10USHE Police Officers' Scholarship Fund$200,000
11USHE Library Consortium$1,300,000
12USHE Athletic Performance$3,000,000
13UCAT Campus Overhead$1,000,000
14Huntsman Cancer Institute-Replace Tobacco Funding$2,000,000
15UCAT Equipment$1,500,000
16Huntsman Cancer Institute$1,120,000
17USHE Utah Campus Compact$30,000
18USHE Nursing Consortium$2,625,000
*1% Compensation increase amount shown, USHE Increases=State Employees  


These recommendations will be advanced to the Executive Appropriations Committee along with recommendations from the other nine appropriations subcommittees in the formulation of the state’s FY 2019 budget of new revenues. Further budget action is not expected until new revenue figures are announced towards the end of February 2017.

Capital Development

The Infrastructure and General Government (IGG) Subcommittee also prioritized the following state’s capital development requests from one-time education funds (income tax):

1WSU - Social Science Building Renovation$29,940,000
2DSU - Human Performance Center$12,500,00
3UU - MED/MED Complex*$10,000,000
4UBATC - Welding Technology Building$4,475,100
5USDB - USDB Springville School$10,500,000
6Snow College - Snow College Land Banking$555,000
*The IGG Subcommittee adopted intent language that $20M be committed in FY 2019 and 2020 to the UU – MED/MED Complex project, with a sum total of $50M over three consecutive years’ state funding to the project.

Legislation of Interest

*HB 249 (1st Sub.), Higher Education Financial Literacy Amendments, by Rep. Robert Spendlove requires higher education to annually notify students who have taken out a loan for college directing them to their loan balance as well as a repayment calculator. The bill is in the House Rules Committee awaiting a standing committee assignment.

*HB 251, Campus Advocate Confidentiality Amendments, by Rep. Angela Romero prohibits the disclosure of confidential communications related to advocacy services at a Utah institution of higher education. The bill awaits its first House Standing Committee hearing.

*HB 326, Campus Sexual Violence Protection Act, by Rep. Kim Coleman allows an institution of higher education to report an allegation of sexual violence to a law enforcement agency and enacts other provisions related to the duties of an institution of higher education in circumstances related to sexual violence. The bill awaits its first House Standing Committee hearing.

**HB 334, Academic Freedom and Protection Act, by Rep. Kim Coleman prohibits a USHE institution from taking adverse action against faculty in retaliation for certain expression. Existing Regents’ policy already requires institutions to protect academic freedom. The bill awaits its first House Standing Committee hearing.

*HCR 16, Concurrent Resolution Declaring Mental Health Issues To Be A Public Health Crisis At Utah Higher Education Institutions, by Rep. Ed Redd declares mental health issues to be a public health crisis at Utah higher education institutions. It strongly urges state agencies, local health authorities, non-profit groups, and higher education entities to seek productive, long-term solutions to address this crisis. The bill received unanimous support from the House Health and Human Services Committee and awaits consideration of the full House.

*SB 117 (1st Sub.), Performance Funding Revisions, by Sen. Ann Millner provides ongoing funding dedicated the performance outcomes proposed by the Board of Regents and adopted by the Legislature in 2015. The bill received unanimous support of the Senate Education Committee and awaits further consideration by the full Senate.

* USHE has taken an official position in support; ** USHE has taken an official position in opposition. For more information on legislation, committee agendas, or to view or listen to floor debates, see: http://le.utah.gov/