Yesterday, the most robust discussion happened in the House Education Committee on H.B. 111, which creates a full-day kindergarten program, defined as two consecutive part-time kindergarten classes. Questions were raised about whether repeating the same class twice in a day would benefit kindergarten students. The committee voted to hold the bill for further consideration.
In other news, the Utah Legislature passed four of our bills to watch and acted on others, including:
- H.B. 23 Controlled Substance Modifications, by Rep. Gage Froerer (R-Huntsville), passed its first Senate floor vote unanimously. The Senate amended the bill that bans synthetic marijuana, known as “spice,” to add “bath salts.” The bill faces one more vote in the Senate before it goes back to the House for concurrence on the amendment.
- H.B. 92 Public Education Regional Service Centers, by Rep. Brad Last (R-Hurricane), passed out of the House Education Committee on a 12-2 vote. The bill allows local school boards to enter into interlocal agreements to create Regional Service Centers, there are currently four of these operated by the state. It now heads to the House floor for further consideration.
- H.B. 111 Full-day Kindergarten, by Rep. Johnny Anderson (R-Taylorsville), was held in the House Education Committee. The bill creates a full-day kindergarten option for parents, defined as two consecutive part-time kindergarten classes during the same day. This is different than the current option, extended-day kindergarten.
- H.B. 218 Clubs in Public Schools, by Rep. Stephen Sandstrom (R-Orem), passed its first vote in the Senate. It allows clubs to use district facilities when they are not in use. One more vote and it heads to the Governor for his signature.
- S.B. 38 K-3 Reading Amendments, by Sen. Karen Morgan (D-Salt Lake City), passed its final vote in the Utah Legislature and now heads to the Governor for consideration. The bill requiring mid-year testing for first- through third-graders and notification to parents when their children aren’t proficient in reading passed every vote with unanimous support.
- S.B. 46 Higher Education Residency Requirements, by Sen. Margaret Dayton (R-Orem), passed the Utah House, its final vote before heading to the governor. It also sailed through the legislative process with unanimous support. The bill allows Utah colleges and universities to give in-state tuition to the children of military personnel.
- S.B. 115 School Performance Reporting, by Sen. Howard Stephenson (R-Draper), also passed the Utah Legislature with unanimous support. The bill restarts reporting requirements suspended this fiscal year to give school districts flexibility during the economic downturn.
- S.B. 123 Restrictions on Lobbying Expenditures – Public Education, by Sen. Scott Jenkins (R-Plain City), passed its second Senate vote with unanimous support and now heads to the House for consideration. The bill restricts public schools, charter schools and school districts from hiring contract lobbyists with state money.