Education

On December 6, 2018, Governor Herbert released his budget recommendations for the next fiscal year (2020). The budget is based on a consensus forecast developed by the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget, the Office of the Legislative Fiscal Analyst and the Utah State Tax Commission.

In summary, the budget recommendations reflect an estimated $1 billion in surplus revenue due to Utah’s booming economy; a $200 million tax cut and a call to modernize Utah’s tax system. The budget’s theme is Growth and Quality of Life and presents budget recommendations covering the following key areas: Quality of Life, Qualified Workforce, and Tax Modernization.

Voices for Utah Children works to make Utah a place where all children thrive. While reviewing the Governor’s recommendations we asked one simple, important question: "Is it good for kids?" If it’s good for kids that means Utah’s families can fully participate in the economy and support their children. That means parents are able to ensure their children reach their full potential and grow up ready to contribute to Utah’s thriving communities.

Continuing the Governor’s theme of Growth and Quality of Life, Voices staff have reviewed the budget and make the following observations:

1. Quality of Life

Funding for Medicaid Expansion Implementation

In November, Utahns expressed their clear support for Medicaid expansion and chose to extend health insurance to 150,000 new individuals. Utah voters elected to expand Medicaid to individuals and parents, without work requirements or caps. Voters even chose a small sales tax increase to support affordable health coverage. The Governor recognizes this historic step forward for Utahns in his budget recommendations and allocates funds for expansion implementation by April 1, 2019. The policy brief accompanying the budget also explores different scenarios and “what ifs” about the provider and consumer safeguards included in the ballot initiative; however, none of these questions preclude expansion from rolling out April 1st. It is paramount that individuals and parents in the coverage gap be able to enroll in coverage as soon as possible, without any added delays or restrictions, and we thank the Governor for supporting expansion funds in the budget.

Proposition 3 did not include any additional work requirements or barriers to care, as the Governor’s budget and policy brief also notes. Our new state law does not stipulate that Medicaid enrollees meet a work requirement as a condition to health coverage. We support exploring future programs that help connect Medicaid beneficiaries with job resources, training, or helps facilitate community engagement. However, we should not rush into changes and any work support program should not preclude someone from receiving coverage. As we have seen in other states, the complexities and confusion around reporting a work requirement often result in individuals unnecessarily losing coverage- even though they are working (See Arkansas’ recent experience). We support programs that help individuals be healthy and work; but people cannot work if they are not healthy.

Funding for Children’s Health Coverage

The Governor’s budget includes important funding recommendations to ensure that Utah children are covered, as demonstrated through Medicaid consensus figures. The Governor’s recommendations are particularly timely as recent data show an alarming increase in the number of uninsured children in Utah. In fact, Utah was one of only nine states to experience an increase in our child uninsured rate. We thank the Governor for extending a welcome mat to ensure that more children can receive health insurance. Going forward, there are additional steps we hope the Governor will support, so that more children do not lose health coverage: it is critical to ensure children can avoid unnecessary insurance loss or disruptions, by implementing a policy of 12-month continuous eligibility in Medicaid; in addition, Utah must counter the ‘chilling effect’ in health coverage due to federal policies targeting immigrant communities. We thank the Governor for his previous efforts encouraging qualifying parents to sign their children up for Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). It is especially critical now that the Governor continue to create a welcoming, safe environment for Utah families to obtain affordable health coverage.  

E-Cigarette Taxes

The Governor recommends a sales-tax increase on e-cigarettes. As the Governor notes, e-cigarette use is on the rise and can have a significant, harmful impact on the health of our youth. We are encouraged that the Governor recommends taxing e-cigarette and related paraphernalia like traditional tobacco products. This is an important step to keeping our kids healthy. National research shows e-cigarette use can be highest among some of our most marginalized youth, including LGBTQI, gender non-conforming and transgender youth. We hope that, in addition, state agencies will also ensure that 1) we are collecting state-level data to better understand impacted kids here in Utah and 2) we are providing the right kinds of care and services, so all kids feel affirmed, loved and supported.

Integrating Physical and Behavioral Health

We applaud the Governor for addressing Utah’s bifurcated healthcare system where different entities are responsible for physical and behavioral health services. The policy brief accompanying the budget discusses efforts to better integrate these systems. We hope that these efforts will also incorporate the behavioral health care needs of specific populations including children and new mothers. The behavioral health care needs of these populations are often overlooked and under-resourced. For example, women suffering from perinatal mood disorders - commonly called “maternal depression”- often have trouble finding treatment and care. Going forward, new efforts to better integrate services should make sure kids and parents can get the unique behavioral health care they need early on, before a condition escalates.

Jessie Mandle, Senior Health Policy Analyst

School Safety

When it comes to spending on “school safety,” the Governor’s budget has given us cause for concern. Governor Herbert appears to support the recommendations of the “School Safety Advisory Committee,” a group which has drawn criticism for its lack of representation and for conducting its business outside the public view.

In November of this year, this Committee presented a $194 million bill titled “School and Student Safety Amendments,” which designated $164 million for schools to upgrade their physical facilities with student safety in mind. In his budget, Governor Herbert includes $66 million in “flexible” funding for this same purpose. We have no problem with funding for schools to modernize and improve their infrastructure, as many schools are in need of basic maintenance anyway. Why not build in new safety features while modernizing facilities?

We appreciate that the Governor has set aside $31.7 million in his budget for a “school counseling program,” which appears to reflect a similar $30 million ask from the School Safety Advisory Committee during November interim. We applaud Governor Herbert for explicitly saying that this funding should be used for counselors. Mental health professionals, social workers, counselors and other professionals are critical for building a safe and positive school climate. Investing in prevention when it comes to bullying, violence and suicide makes more sense than trying to deal with the aftermath of these ongoing challenges.

Our concern about school safety funding arises from what is not said in the Governor’s budget, but which exists in the proposed legislation from the School Safety Advisory Committee: a mandate for each school in the state to form “Threat Assessment and Student Support Teams” that are authorized to respond to “significantly disruptive behavior” from students – whatever that may mean.

This approach, which is loosely based on a specific protocol that has yielded good results in other states, could jeopardize the recent juvenile justice reforms that received a great deal of well-deserved attention and praise in the Governor’s budget document. Utah’s impressive juvenile justice reforms have included a focus on using restorative, rather than punitive, practices in schools. This approach decreases the number of youth who are referred to court for very low-level offenses (such as truancy and smoking), incurring high costs to taxpayers and negative outcomes for the youth themselves. We are very concerned that the legislation recommended by the School Safety Advisory Committee does not align with these important reforms. We all want our kids to be safe at school, but not every proposed solution creates actual safety, and some approaches actually make some groups of students less safe. Voices for Utah Children will have much more to say on this subject as we move closer to the 2019 Legislative Session.

Anna Thomas, Senior Policy Analyst

2. Quality Workforce

Education

We at Voices, are particularly happy about the recommendations for sustained and improved funding of public education. Education is the key to future career success for so many Utah kids – and our teachers are key to education. That’s why we are so pleased with the Governor’s support for boosting teacher pay. When teachers do well, students do well.

We scoured the Governor’s budget for any mention of investment in early education with no luck. We’re not panicking yet. The Governor’s Education Road Map, released a year ago this month, included an entire section of recommendations related to early learning. We expect to see more investment in this area as current state-funded early education programs become better aligned and coordinated.

Child Care

We couldn’t help but notice the absence of any mention of state investment in – or even attention to – the pressing child care needs of Utah’s workers and students. We agree with Governor Herbert that “Utah must invest in its people to achieve long-term success,” and that “a dynamic economy requires a skilled and education population.”

Having the right skills and the willingness to work isn’t enough to make our workforce successful, though. More Utah workers than ever before are now also parents. They can’t be expected to engage productively in our thriving economy unless they have access to affordable, accessible child care. The state currently does a good job of managing federal dollars that help to subsidize child care costs for working parents but invests very few state tax dollars for this purpose. The Governor’s proposed budget would do little to change this.

The irony is, Utah doesn’t just need to fill “high-paying jobs” with “highly skilled” workers. We need many more individuals who are willing to work jobs that don’t pay well enough relative to their importance to our economic development. These critical jobs are in the early care and education sector. Currently, the Utahns who provide child care to working parents all over the state, barely make enough to keep their own families out of poverty.

One easy way the Governor could bolster state investment in child care, would be to provide sufficient funding for subsidized childcare while parents are attending college. The Governor’s budget rightly emphasizes the importance of higher education in creating opportunity to otherwise “at-risk” families. However, lack of affordable child care keeps many parents – moms, especially – from going back to school to enhance their earning potential. If Utah is serious about investing in the workforce, the Governor’s budget should prioritize investment in college-based child care centers such as the Wee Care Center at Utah Valley University and the Sorenson Legacy Foundation Child & Family Development Center at Southern Utah University.

Anna Thomas, Senior Policy Analyst

anna@utahchildren.org

3. Tax Modernization

Utah’s economic structure is moving from goods based to service based. Most purchased goods generate a sales tax. Some services are taxed, but many others enjoy a sales tax exemption or a reduced tax rate. The following table illustrates a few examples.

State Sales Tax Bases: Consumer Goods & Services as of 7/1/18
Groceries Alternate Rate
Clothing Taxable
Prescription Medication Exempt
Non-Prescription Medication Taxable
Gasoline Exempt
Legal Exempt
Financial Exempt
Accounting Exempt
Medical Exempt
Landscaping Exempt
Repair Taxable
Real Estate Services Exempt
Parking Exempt
Dry Cleaning Taxable
Fitness Taxable
Barber Exempt
Veterinary Exempt
   
Tax Foundation 2019 State Business Tax Climate Index
https://files.taxfoundation.org/20180925174436/2019-State-Business-Tax-Climate-Index.pdf
   
https://tax.utah.gov/sales/food-rate
Utah grocery sales tax is 3%, a higher rate is charged if food items are mixed or combined by seller and/or heated by seller, or utensils are provided.

 

The increase in services as an engine for economic growth is not generating enough tax revenue to keep pace with the rising cost to build and maintain Utah’s infrastructure and provide services which support communities and keep the economy humming. As Utah moves to a service based economy, transactions generating sales tax have declined from about 70% (in the 1980s) to 40%. As a percent of income, 95% of Utah’s families pay more in sales and other local taxes than the top 5% of higher income families.

Week 2018.12.17

Source: https://itep.org/whopays/

This is not the first time the Governor has called for a tax overhaul. Removing a few exemptions is a commonsense way to broaden the tax base. It is time for special interests to do their part to boost revenues needed to pay for investments which support Utah’s Growth and Quality of Life.

Revenue Earmarks

Earmarks are revenue assigned to fund specific government projects, services or programs. For example, gas taxes are earmarked for transportation needs while a portion of tobacco taxes are designated to fund antismoking initiatives. The recent voter approved Prop 3 calls for a sales tax increase earmarked to expand Medicaid access.

The Governor wants to reform the state’s earmark policy. He notes that 48% of new sales tax revenue growth is earmarked in FY2020 and further argues that earmarks are not transparent and do not allow policy makers to prioritize the state’s most pressing needs. He proposes that some earmarks be replaced by user fees.

The online dictionary defines fee as “a payment made to a professional person or to a professional or public body in exchange for advice or services.” A tax is “a compulsory contribution to state revenue, levied by the government on workers' income and business profits or added to the cost of some goods, services, and transactions.” Whether it’s a tax or fee, broadening the tax base must be done fairly, equitably and shared by all.

Patrice Schell Scott, State Priorities Partnership Fellow

Published in News & Blog

As has been pointed out to me recently, I have worked off and on for Voices for Utah Children in each decade of its existence. I have had the privilege to be associated with the organization in some way for almost 30 years! It is amazing how Utah takes one step forward and later two steps back. We continue to fight on behalf of families and children to access health care, child care, economic stability and the perennial favorite, quality K through 12th grade education.

No matter political affiliation, education is on the minds of Utah’s families and politicians. In November, voters will make a decision on ballot Question 1, a non-binding resolution “suggesting” legislators raise gas taxes by 10 cents per gallon to add much needed dollars to Utah’s chronically underfunded education system.

Why, one has to ask, doesn’t Utah just bite the bullet and make a long term commitment to adequately and consistently invest in education? Over the next several months we will blog in depth about Utah’s public education system looking at educational achievement and its relationship to spending, teacher salaries, teacher recruitment and retention, the difference between education spending and funding, and the infrastructure supporting Utah’s public school education system.

Maybe all or part of the question can be answered by this blog – or at least dispel some myths and add a few new facts. Voices goal in this discussion is for Utah’s children to grow up healthy and educated, ready and able to compete in a global economy. And who can argue with that?

pngEducation Series, Blog 1 - Education Input and Output

Education Series Blog 1

Published in News & Blog
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The 2018 Legislative Session is over. Voices for Utah Children worked tirelessly to advocate for Utah’s children and families, and we had some great wins and some painful losses. Nonetheless, Utah children and families are in a better place now than they were in January.

Health

WIN: HB12 Family Planning Services Amendments (Rep. Ward)

  • This legislation was championed by a number of Voices allies (YWCA, Utah Women’s Coalition, ACLU, and Planned Parenthood) to provide family planning services to low-income individuals through Medicaid

WIN: HB325 Primary Care Network Amendments (Rep. Eliason)

  • This bill will direct the Department of Health to get a waiver to expand current PCN services for adults receiving coverage from the state. 

DEFEATED: SB48 Medicaid Waiting Period Amendments (Sen. Christensen)

  • This legislation would have re-imposed a five-year waiting period on legal immigrant children before they could enroll in health coverage. Our advocacy work helped ensure this bill never got heard

DEFEATED: SB 172 Medicaid Waiver (Sen. Hemmert)

  • This bill would have done away with Medicaid’s children’s health benefit and EPSDT. This would have caused 2,600 parents and former foster youth to lose their health coverage. Voices  defeated it in the House Health and Human Services Committee and again in the House Revenue and Taxation Committee.

LOSS: Keeping Kids Covered – 12-month continuous eligibility on Medicaid

  • Rep. Ward appropriation requested wasn’t prioritized high enough to receive funding this year.

LOSS: Dental hygiene check-ups for kids in public education settings

  • Dental Code for use by dental professionals providing hygiene check-ups for kids in public education settings - did not get prioritized high enough to be funded for this year - but we’ve strengthened our relationship with a huge association of highly motivated dental hygienists!  

LOSS: HB472 Medicaid Expansion Revisions (Rep. Spendlove)

  • HB472 seeks a waiver, that is highly unlikely Utah will receive from the Trump Administration. This waiver would provide Medicaid benefits to eligible individuals below 95% of the federal poverty level.

The Utah Decides Ballot Initiative is now our last hope to get Medicaid expansion done in 2018.

Early Childhood 

LOSS - HB319 Early Care and Learning Coordination Amendments (Rep. Chavez-Houck)

  • A priority bill to form an Early Childhood Commission for better governance and coordination among agencies offering services to Utah’s youngest kids (0 to 5).

WIN - HB380 Utah School Readiness Initiative Amendments – (Rep. Last)

  • With a close collaboration with United Way of Salt Lake, this bill will continue the school readiness program, Pay-for-Success. Since 2014 this has provided thousands of at-risk kids in Salt Lake county with high-quality pre-school.

WIN - SCR11 Concurrent Resolution on Awareness and Treatment of Maternal Depression and Anxiety (Sen. Zehnder)

  • With the efforts of the Maternal Mental Health Coalition, this resolution energized and inspired story-sharing and education on maternal mental health.

WIN: SB161 Nurse Home Visiting Pay-for-Success Program (Sen. Escamilla)

  • This legislation will fully fund the Nurse Family Partnership by putting it forward as a Pay-for-Success Program.

Juvenile Justice

WIN: HR1 House Resolution Urging Restorative Justice in Utah’s Education System – (Rep. Sandra Hollins)

  • Resolution to encourage the use of restorative justice practices in Utah schools

NOT A WIN BUT NOT A LOSS: HB132  Juvenile Justice Modifications (Rep. Snow)

  • Updates to last year’s big juvenile justice reform effort - we fought hard with our allies (ACLU, Libertas Institute, YWCA, Racially Just Utah) to keep the changes to a minimum. This bill gives school a limited amount of time to update their programs to comply with HB239 from 2017.

WIN: SB198 – Public School Disciplinary Action Amendments (Sen. Anderegg)

  • This legislation requires the Board of Education to produce an annual report looking at law enforcement and disciplinary action in schools. This data will be helpful as we work to reduce racial disparities in school discipline and work to build a system that produces better outcomes for all kids.

Tax and Budget

NOT QUITE A WIN BUT OH SO CLOSE: HB57 Utah Intergenerational Poverty Work and Self-sufficiency Tax Credit (Rep. Westwood/Sen. Vickers)

  • This bill would have created a $6 million Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for 25,000 working families identified as being in the Intergenerational Poverty (IGP) cohort by the state Department of Workforce Services. These families, which pay tens of millions of dollars in state and local taxes every year, would have been able to keep more of what they earn with a tax credit averaging $240 (and up to $600 maximum). This legislation received unanimous support in both House and Senate committees, passed the House, and received a 22-4 vote on 2nd reading in the Senate. But on the final day of the session, leadership decided to leave it out of the final tax package.

NOT QUITE A WIN BUT COULD HAVE BEEN A LOSS --SCHOOL FUNDING

  • The most notable fiscal outcome of the 2018 Legislative Session was a deal between legislative leadership and education funding advocates. The compromise deal included two big choices:
    • Investing up to about $350 million in new education funding dollars – which should move Utah up one position in the national rankings for per-pupil K-12 funding, from 50th place to 49th if it is fully implemented.
    • Shifting who pays these new dollars in a way that unfortunately more negatively impacts poor and middle class families. The Our Schools Now initiative proposal that was set aside in favor of this compromise would have raised over $700 million mostly from an income tax increase paid by the top 20% of Utahn (those who earn over $115,000). The compromise shifted these funds to come from more regressive gas and property tax increases.

LOSS: HB 148: House Bill 148 Tax Revisions- Sales Tax on Food (Rep. Quinn)

  • Sought to eliminate the state sales tax on grocery food items (currently 1.75%) and make up for the $88 million in lost revenue by slightly increasing the general state sales tax rate from 4.7 to 4.92%. One underappreciated benefit of this tax change would have been to shift 20% of the $88 million, or $17.6 million, off of state residents and onto tourists and out-of-state residents who purchase Utah exports.  The bill passed the House but was killed by the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee.

WIN: Two Significant Intergenerational Poverty (IGP) bills

  • HB 326 Intergenerational Poverty Initiative (Rep. Redd) establishes a one-time $1 million grant program for local IGP initiatives.
  • SB 162 Intergenerational Poverty Matching – Education Savings Plan (Sen. Vickers) establishes a $100,000 matching grant program for IGP families that invest in a Utah Educational Savings Plan for their children's post-secondary education. 

VUC leg summ p1 graphicVUC leg summ p2 graphic

Published in News & Blog

Tax cuts over the past decade have reduced Utah tax rates—and revenues—to a multi-decade low. As a result, the state budget is failing to meet urgent priorities, such as lifting Utah out of last place for per pupil K-12 education funding. Today, social service providers and advocates for Utah’s most vulnerable populations announced the results of their analysis of the five major tax reform proposals that have been discussed during the 2017 Utah Legislative Session.

revenue neutral proposalRecently, Utah legislative leadership announced a revenue-neutral proposal to restore the full sales tax on food and reduce the overall sales tax rates. Utah residents are losers under this scenario because 97% of the sales tax increase on food is borne by Utah residents while only 77% of the rate reduction benefits Utah residents. This proposal shifts the tax burden away from out-of-state visitors and replaces their contributions with revenue generated from Utah residents. Moreover, because it is revenue-neutral, it does not restore the revenue needed to address Utah’s urgent needs.

Proposals to raise the sales tax on food or the gasoline tax disproportionately shift the tax burden to Utah’s low-income populations. Utah’s middle class is also disproportionately affected by food and gas taxes, as well as by proposals to eliminate personal exemptions.

Utah needs tax reformThe fairest and most equitable proposal has been suggested by the advocacy group, Our Schools Now. They propose raising the income tax rate from 5% to 5.875%. This proposal does not place an undue burden on low-income or middle income Utahns and would restore enough revenue to address the state’s unmet needs.

The social service providers and advocates have written an open letter to Utah lawmakers expressing their hope that legislators will consider the needs of vulnerable populations as they grapple with this difficult challenge. The letter is available here:

Open Letter to the Utah Legislature: Tax Reform and Utah’s Most Vulnerable Populations

The analysis is summarized in these two posters:

pdfThe Revenue-Neutral Proposal to Restore the Full Sales Tax on Food and Reduce the Overall Sale Tax Rate: Who Wins and Who Loses?

pdfComparing the Leading 2017 Revenue Proposals

Image Credit: Amanda Mills, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


For 30 years now, Voices for Utah Children has called on our state, federal and local leaders to put children’s needs first. But the work is not done. The children of 30 years ago now have children of their own. Too many of these children are growing up in poverty, without access to healthcare or quality educational opportunities.

How can you be involved?

Make a tax-deductible donation to Voices for Utah Children—or join our Network with a monthly donation of $20 or more.  Network membership includes complimentary admission to Network events with food, socializing, and opportunity to meet child advocacy experts. And don't forget to join our listserv to stay informed!

We look forward to the future of Voices for Utah Children and we hope you will be a part of our next 30 years.

Special thanks to American Express, our "Making a Difference All Year Long" sponsor. Amex

 

Published in Press Releases
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Bill

 Sponsor

Description

Voices is

House  Bills

HB011 Property Tax Amendments

Rep. Timothy Hawkes

Sen. Daniel Hemmert

This bill modifies the property tax valuation and appeals processes for county assessed real property.

Following

HB017 Firearm Violence and Suicide Prevention Amendments

Rep. Steve Eliason

Sen. Curtis Bramble

This bill reenacts and modifies previously sunsetted provisions relating to a voluntary firearm safety program and a suicide prevention education course. Following

HB024 Property Tax Exemptions, Deferrals, and Abatements Amendments

Rep. Steve Eliason

Sen. Daniel McCay

This bill amends provisions related to property tax exemptions, deferrals, and abatements.

Following

HB025 Tax Commission Amendments

Rep. Steve Eliason

Sen. Lincoln Fillmore

This bill modifies provisions relating to closed meetings held by the State Tax Commission.

Following

HB041 Transportation Sales Tax Amendments

Rep. Kay Christofferson

This bill modifies sales and use tax provisions relating to certain sales and use tax dedications.

Following

HB042 Utah Net Loss Effective Date Clarification

Rep. Travis Seegmiller

Sen. Curtis Bramble

This bill modifies an uncodified effective date.

Following

HB047 Early Childhood Coordination Amendments

Rep. V. Lowery Snow;

Sen. Ann Millner

This bill creates the Early Childhood Utah Advisory Council and the Governor's Early Childhood Commission.

Priority Supporting

HB049 Repatriation Transition Tax Amendments

Rep. Steve Eliason

Sen. Lincoln Fillmore

This bill modifies corporate income tax provisions relating to deferred foreign income.

Following

HB071 Health Education Amendments

Rep. Ray Ward

Sen. Todd Weiler

This bill amends provisions regarding instruction in health.

Supporting

HB087 Safe Storage of Firearms Amendments

Rep. Elizabeth Weight

This bill relates to firearm storage.

Supporting

HB092 Violence Data Study

Rep. Susan Pulsipher

This bill establishes a grant award for a violence data study. Following

HB102 Campaign Funds Uses Amendments

Rep. Stephanie Pitcher

This bill allows candidates for public office to use campaign funds to pay for child care expenses incurred as part of campaign activities. 

Supporting

HB103 Utah Intergenerational Poverty Work & Self-sufficiency Tax Credit.

Rep. Robert Spendlove

This bill enacts a state earned income tax credit.

Priority Supporting

HB120 Student and School Safety Assessment

Rep. Ray Ward

Sen. Ann Millner

This bill enacts provisions related to school safety.

Following

HB129 Campaign Amendments

Rep. Craig Hall

Sen. Deidre Henderson

This bill allows candidates for public office to use campaign funds to pay for child care expenses incurred as part of campaign activities. 

Supporting

HB153 Utah Vital Statistics Act Amendments

 Rep. Merrill Nelson

Sen.Ralph Okerlund

This bill amends provisions regarding the completion and amendment of a birth certificate.  Following
HB205 Railroad Crossing Amendments

Rep. Joel Ferry

This bill amends provisions related to the operation of a train that blocks traffic at a railroad crossing in a high-traffic area.

Following
HB208 Safe Routes to School Program

Rep. Suzanne Harrison

Sen. Daniel Hemmert

This bill requires the Department of Transportation to implement a program to provide safe routes to school.

Supporting

HB209 Extreme Risk Protective Order

Rep. Stephen Handy

This bill creates the Extreme Risk Protective Order Act.

Supporting

HB210 Medicaid Expansion Program Revisions

Rep. Ray Ward

This bill amends provisions relating to Medicaid expansion.

Priority Supporting

HB234 Marriage Amendments

Rep. Angela Romero

Sen. Luz Escamilla

This bill imposes an age, below which an individual may not marry and makes technical and conforming amendments. Following
HB244 Misdemeanor Sentencing Timeline Clarifications

Rep. Eric Hutchings 

Sen. Daniel Thatcher

This bill reduces the maximum penalty for a misdemeanor conviction by one day to 364.

Supporting

HB267 Prescription Drug Importation Program

Rep. Norman Thurston

Sen. Curtis Bramble

This bill creates a program and reporting requirements relating to prescription drugs and the importation of prescription drugs.

 

Supporting

HB274 Retail Tobacco Specialty Business Amendments 

Rep. Jennifer Dailey-Provost

This bill amends provisions relating to the sale of flavored tobacco products.

Supporting

HB275 Contraception for Women Prisoners

Rep. Jennifer Dailey-Provost

This bill requires that jails must continue to allow female prisoners access to contraceptives. Following

HB286 Financial and Economic Literacy Education Amendments

Rep. Jefferson Moss

Sen. Todd Weiler

This bill amends provisions related to financial and economic literacy education. Following
HB303 School Community Council Amendments

Rep. Keven Stratton

This bill modifies provisions related to the School LAND Trust Program.

Following

HB317 Homeless Resource Center Drug-free Zone

Rep. Steve Eliason

This bill modifies provisions related to penalties for certain prohibited acts. Following
HB324 Tobacco Age Amendments

Rep. Steve Eliason

Sen. Curtis Bramble

 This bill modifies the minimum age for obtaining, possessing, using, providing, or furnishing of tobacco products, paraphernalia, and under certain circumstances, electronic smoking devices from 19 to 20 then to 21 years of age.

Supporting

HB333 Workforce Development Incentives Amendments

Rep. Suzanne Harrison

Sen. Jacob Anderegg

This bill amends provisions related to tax credit incentives for economic development.

Supporting

HB336 Nurse Practice Act Amendments

Rep. James Dunnigan

Sen. Curtis Bramble

This bill amends provisions relating to the prescriptive authority of certain licensed nurse practitioners.

Supporting

HB340 School Absenteeism and Truancy Amendments

Rep. V. Lowry Snow

This bill amends provisions related to truancy.

Supporting

HB344 Student Asthma Relief Amendments

Rep. Mark Wheatley

Sen. Ronald Winterton

This bill enacts provisions governing the administration of stock albuterol by certain entities to an individual.

Supporting

HB360 School Water Testing Requirements

Rep. Stephen Handy 

This bill enacts provisions related to monitoring and mitigating lead in drinking water in schools and child care centers.

Supporting

HB371 Consent to Services for Homeless Youth

Rep. Elizabeth Weight

This bill relates to a homeless youth's ability to consent to a temporary shelter, care, or services.

Supporting

HB373 Student Support Amendments

Rep. Steve Eliason

Sen. Ann Millner

This bill repeals and enacts provisions related to school-based mental health support.

Supporting

HB379 Intergenerational Poverty Solution

Rep. Norman Thurston

This bill creates the Earned Income and Education Savings Incentive Program. Following
HB399 Prohibition of the Practice of Conversion Therapy upon Minors

Rep. Craig Hall

This bill prohibits certain health care professionals from providing conversion therapy to a minor; and
adds a violation of the prohibition to the list of conduct that constitutes unprofessional conduct for licensing purposes.

Followed- Bill was pulled

HB430 Prohibition of Genital Mutilation

Rep. Ken Ivory

This bill prohibits female genital mutilation and provides a penalty. Following
HB441 Tax Equalization and Reduction Act

Rep. Tim Quinn

This bill modifies the sales tax rate by attempting to broaden the tax base and lowering the income tax from 4.9% to 4.7%

Monitored - Bill was pulled.

More information here

HR003 House Resolution Supporting Humane Response to Refugee Crisis

Rep. Jen Dailey-Provost

This House resolution urges a humane response to the immigration crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Supporting

HCR004 Concurrent Resolution Supporting Utah's Every Kid Outdoors Initiative

Rep. Patrice Arent

Sen. Lincoln Fillmore

This concurrent resolution expresses support for Utah's Every Kid Outdoors Initiative.

Supporting

HCR005 Concurrent Resolution Urging Policies That Reduce Damage from Wildfires

Rep. Raymond Ward

Sen. Ronald Winterton

This resolution urges the federal government to pursue policies that allow for easier reduction of excess forest fuel loads.

Supporting

HJR008 Proposal to Amend Utah Constitution - Slavery and Involuntary Servitude Prohibition

Rep. Sandra Hollins

Sen. Jacob Anderegg

This joint resolution of the Legislature proposes to amend the Utah Constitution to modify a provision prohibiting slavery and involuntary servitude.

Supporting

Senate Bills

SB012 FDIC Premium Deduction Amendments

Sen. Jerry Stevenson

Rep. Tim Quinn

This bill modifies the Corporate Franchise and Income Taxes code and the Individual Income Tax Act by amending provisions relating to certain subtractions from unadjusted income or adjusted gross income.

Following

SB013 Income Tax Domicile Amendments

Sen. Curtis Bramble

Rep. Steve Eliason

This bill modifies tax provisions relating to income tax domicile requirements.

Following

SB028 Income Tax Revisions

Sen. Curtis Bramble

Rep. Steve Eliason

This bill modifies corporate income tax provisions.

Following

SB032 Indigent Defense Act Amendments

Sen. Todd Weiler

Rep. Michael McKell

This bill amends provisions of Utah’s Indigent Defense Act to ensure appropriate legal representation for all young people appearing in juvenile court. 

Priority Supporting

SB038 Substitute Mental Health Amendments

Sen. Lincoln Fillmore

Rep. Brad Daw

This bill amends provisions of the civil commitment code and the definition of "unprofessional conduct" applied to mental health professionals.

Following

SB041 Interest Deductions Amendments

Sen. Daniel McCay

This bill modifies the Corporate and Franchise Income Tax Act and the Individual Income Tax Act by amending provisions relating to additions and deductions for certain business interest.

Following

SB042 Tangible Personal Property Amendments

Sen. Daniel McCay

Rep. Karianne Lisonbee

This bill provides for the exemption of certain tangible personal property from property tax if the tangible personal property is eligible for sales and use taxation.

Following

SB083 Partnerships for Healthy Communities

Sen. Ann Millner

Rep. Paul Ray

This bill creates the Partnerships for Healthy Communities Grant Program and will address the social determinants of health that affect early childhood health outcomes.

Priority Supporting

SB096  Medicaid Expansion Adjustments

Sen. Allen Christensen

Rep. James Dunnigan

This bill amends provisions relating to the state Medicaid program and the state sales

Opposing

SB097 Medicaid Program Revisions

Sen. Jacob Anderegg

This bill repeals the expansion of the state Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act and changes the sales tax rate.

Opposing

SB103 Victim Targeting Penalty Enhancements

Sen. Daniel Thatcher

Rep. Lee Perry

This bill enacts provisions relating to sentencing for a criminal offense committed against a victim who is selected because of certain personal attributes. Following
SB106 Mental Health Services in Schools

Sen. Lincoln Fillmore

Rep. Susan Pulsipher

This bill enacts provisions relating to coverage of certain mental health services by the Medicaid program and certain health insurers.

Following

SB110 Family Medical Unpaid Leave Amendments

Sen. Daniel Hemmert

Rep. Mike Schultz

Provides state-eligible companies (those that have between 30 and 50 employees) to make available three weeks of unpaid medical leave to employees. 

 Supporting

SB143 Public Education Vision Screening

Sen. Luz Escamilla

Rep. Brad Daw

This bill modifies provisions regarding public education vision screening.

Supporting

SB166 School Readiness Amendments

Sen. Ann Millner

Rep. Bradley Last

This bill amends and enacts preschool provisions.

Priority Supporting

SB222 Children's Outdoor Recreation Program

Sen. Lincoln Fillmore

Rep. Mike Winder

This bill creates the Utah Children's Outdoor Recreation and Education Grant Program in the Governor's Office of Economic Development.

Supporting

SJR003 Proposal to Amend Utah Constitution - Tangible Personal Property Tax Exemption

Sen. Daniel McCay

This joint resolution of the Legislature proposes to amend the Utah Constitution to modify a provision relating to tangible personal property tax exemptions.

Following

Published in Legislative Center

Bill

Sponsor

Description

Voices is

House Bills

Juvenile Justice Bills

HB14 - School Absenteeism and Truancy Amendments

Rep. Snow

Creates a standard definition for “truancy” and chronic truancy” and seeks to improve data reporting by schools to the state board of education

Following

HB78 - Juvenile Incarceration Services Amendments

Rep. Dailey-Provost

Prevents the state from sending fees related to juvenile incarceration to debt collection

Support

HB111 - Notification to School of Criminal Proceedings

Rep. Hall

Requires law enforcement to notify a school when a student is under investigation for a violent felony or weapons offense,

Following

HB171 - School Threat Amendments

Rep. Stoddard

Defines the crime of threatening a school (or committing an intentional hoax threat), creates certain criminal penalties (including restitution for the costs of a school response to a threat), and requires a mental health assessment.

Following

HB229 - Extreme Risk Protection Order

Rep. Handy

Enables a family member or law enforcement to ask a court to restrain a person from possessing any firearms or ammunition for a specified length of time;

Support
       

Child Care and Early Education

HB89 - Workforce Development Incentives Amendments

Rep. Harrison

Allows GOED to consider the “working parent benefits” that a company offers, when calculating potential incentives packages

Support

HB97 - Newborn Safe Haven Amendments

Rep. Arent

Updates Utah’s “Safe Haven Law” to allow parents to leave newborn children, up to 30 days old, at a hospital, safely and without fear of criminal prosecution. Also includes provisions to ensure notification of fathers when possible, and to prevent birth record duplications

Support

HB99 - Enhanced Kindergarten Amendments

Rep. Snow

Expands state-funded Optional-Extended Day Kindergarten administered by Utah State Board of Education. Boosts current spending about 2.5 times

Support

HB114 - Early Learning Training and Assessment Amendments

Rep. Waldrip

Expands teacher professional development program focused on early literacy to include numeracy skills and to boost embedded coaching/technical assistance support to educators.

Support

HB153 - Parental Leave Amendments

Rep. Weight

Directs state agencies (except for universities) to offer up to sic weeks of paid parental leave for the birth or adoption of a child

Support

HB187 - Employer Tax Credit for Child Care

Rep. Harrison

Creates a non-refundable tax credit for employers who offer financial support for their employee’s child care expenses

Support

HB264 - Infant at Work Pilot Program Rep. Pitcher

This bill establishes the Infant at Work Pilot Program for eligible employees of the Department of Health.

Support
Health

HB16 – School Meals Program Amendments

Rep. Johnson

Broadens the use of school lunch revenues to include school meals and will strengthen evaluation among schools participating in meal programs.

Support

HB34 – Tanning for Minors

Rep. Daw

This bill prohibits minors from tanning without parental consent. Youth tanning increases health risks for youth, including cancer

Support

HB58 - Electronic Cigarettes in Schools Amendments

Rep. Pulsipher

Allows school administrators and educators to take certain steps to combat vaping misconduct at public schools, including a comprehensive health curriculum section and promoting positive alternatives.

Following

HB69 - Sick Leave Amendments

Rep. Arent

Directs employers that offer their employees paid sick leave, to allow those employees to use at least five paid sick days to care for an immediate family member who is ailing

Support

HB88 - School and Child Care Center Water Testing Requirements

Rep. Handy

Direct schools and child care centers to test water for lead and connects centers and schools with remediation support resources. Let’s keep our kids hydrated and healthy!

Support

HB108 - Medical Specialists in Public Schools Rep. Spackman Moss We support efforts that may lead to greater access to school-based health services. This bill seeks to clarify and offer greater guidance for schools regarding the pay schedule they can use for school-based health staff. Support
HB118 – Retail Tobacco Amendments Rep. Daily-Provost

This bill will limit which types of stores can sell flavored tobacco or vaping products. These products are often used to target and appeal to youth. In addition, this bill will give cities greater authority to curb underage vaping.

Support
HB204 – Insurance Coverage for in Vitro Fertilization Rep. Stoddard Will require a health benefit plan to cover in vitro fertilization if it provides a maternity benefit Support

HB210 - Insurance Coverage for Children Amendments- Support

Rep. Ward

The number of uninsured kids in Utah has increased over the last two years. This bill would address this problem, by implementing 12-month continuous coverage for children on Medicaid and make it easier for eligible kids to get covered and stay covered.

Support

HB222 - Start Smart Utah Breakfast Program Rep. Johnson

Will help more kids get breakfast at school. When kids aren't hungry, they are better learners!

Support
B313 - Telehealth Parity Amendments Rep. Ballard

This bill will allow for coverage parity between telehealth and in-person visits. It will help more individuals in rural and underserved areas to receive care.

Support
HB323 - School Mental Health Amendments Rep. Eliason

Will establish a grant program for schools to conduct age-appropriate mental health screenings for students and then connect high-risk students with care. Optional grant program for schools, specifically aimed to help identify children before they are in a life-threatening crisis.

Support

 

HB372 - Digital Wellness, Citizenship, and Safe Technology Commission

Rep. Keven Stratton This bill would create the Digital Wellness, Citizenship, and Safe Technology Commission and requires the commission to: identify best practices and compile resources for training students in healthy behavior related to technology use; and report to the Education Interim Committee and the State Board of Education on efforts related to delivering training in healthy behavior related to technology use Support
Tax and Budget Bills
 

Senate Bills

Health

SJR 2 – Joint Resolution Encouraging Action to Reduce the Number of Utah Children with Elevated Blood Lead Levels

Sen. Iwamoto

Encourages more children to get lead screening so we can make sure kids are getting connected with the care and follow-up treatment they need.

Support

SB74 - Family Planning Services Amendments Sen. Kitchen

This bill will help more low-income individuals access family planning health care services.

Support
SB135 - Dental Practice Act Amendments Sen. Christensen

We support this bill because it advances teledentistry efforts and rules in Utah. Teledentistry is a promising practice that has the potential to help more people access dental care in rural and underserved areas.

Support
SB155 - Medical Billing Amendments Sen. Mayne

Directs the Department of Insurance and insurers to report on the practice of balance billing or so-called “surprise” medical billing.

Support
Tax and Budget

SB53 - Global Intangible Low Taxed Income Amendments

Sen Fillmore

This bill modifies provisions related to payment of income tax on global intangible low-taxed income.

Oppose

SB39 -Affordable Housing Amendments
Sen Anderegg
This bill modifies the allowable uses for a community reinvestment agency's housing allocation and modifies the requirements for distributing money from the Olene Walker Housing
Loan Fund;
Support
Published in Legislative Center