Provisional teacher bill heads to governor, other ed bills pass and some fail

A bill reinforcing that provisional teachers are at-will employees and districts don’t need to provide cause for their termination is on its way to the governor after the Utah Legislature passed it this morning. H.B. 50 School Termination Procedures Modifications, by Rep. Ronda Rudd Menlove (R-Garland), had been on the consent calendar in the Senate and garnered unanimous support after the body elected to vote only once on the bill, instead of the typical two Senate votes.

The Utah Legislature also took action on several education bills we’re watching since our last update Friday afternoon. Here’s what’s happened since then:

  • H.B. 87 School Finance Amendments, by Rep. Merlynn Newbold (R-South Jordan), passed the Utah House yesterday with a 50-25 vote. The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration. The bill increases the voted leeway and board guarantees each year by .0005 times the value of the prior year’s weighted pupil unit; and makes technical changes.
  • H.B. 133 Employee Compensation Amendments, by Rep. John Dougall (R-American Fork), was substituted yesterday and held in the House Government Operations Committee. Instead of eliminating state employees’ sick leave altogether, the substitute discontinues the unused sick leave retirement option for employees hired after July 1 of this year. It also allows state agencies to let employees cash out their sick leave and excess vacation leave. Since the bill was held in committee and committee meetings end tomorrow, it is unlikely though not impossible, that the bill will come to a vote this session.
  • H.B. 151 Compulsory Education Amendments, by Rep. Joel Briscoe (D-Salt Lake City), was held in the House Education Committee late Friday afternoon. The bill would have lowered the age in which students must go to school from six to five. It is unlikely though technically not impossible for the bill will move forward this session.
  • H.B. 170 Tobacco and Nicotine Product Amendments, by Rep. Paul Ray (R-Clearfield), was substituted late Friday afternoon in the House Business and Labor Committee before it failed on a 10-4 vote. The original bill aimed to prohibit the provision, obtaining, and possession of certain flavored tobacco products. The substitute limited that to a “certain” product. It is unlikely this so-called flavored tobacco and candy nicotine ban will come back this session, though it is technically possible.
  • H.B. 172 Service Animal Amendments, by Rep. Keith Grover (R-Provo), passed out of the Senate Government Operations and Political Subdivisions Committee yesterday with unanimous support. The bill amends the definition of a “service animal” to follow the federal definition, which limits this to a specially trained dog.
  • H.B. 204 Protection of Athletes with Head Injuries, by Rep. Paul Ray (R-Clearfield), was substituted on the Senate floor yesterday and then passed unanimously. It goes back to the House for consideration of the changes in the substitute. The bill enacts the Protection of Athletes With Head Injuries Act, which requires amateur sports organizations to adopt and enforce a concussion and head injury policy and requires a child to be removed from play when a concussion and head injury occurs. The substitute bill inserts new language into the bill in several instances. For instance, instead of “head injury,” it refers to “traumatic head injury” and instead of “licensed health care provider” it uses “qualified health care provider” and defines these terms.
  • H.B. 275 School District Division Amendments, by Rep. Ken Sumsion (R-American Fork), passed the Senate Government Operations and Political Subdivisions Committee yesterday with unanimous support. It heads to the Senate floor next. The bill modifies requirements for the imposition of property taxes in a new and remaining school district after a school district split. It is one of two district division clean-up bills Sumsion is running this session.
  • H.B. 301 School District Property Tax Revisions, by Rep. Merlynn Newbold (R-South Jordan), passed the House Revenue and Taxation Committee Friday morning with a 10-5 vote (which we overlooked in our update on Friday). The bill repeals school districts’ ability to impose certain property tax levies; authorizes them to impose a board local levy and a capital local levy; provides that beginning January 1, 2012, a school is exempt from truth in taxation when setting a board local levy or capital local levy.
  • H.B. 313 Charter School Funding Amendments, by Rep. Merlynn Newbold (R-South Jordan), passed out of the House Education Committee this morning with an 8-5 vote. The bill gradually changes how charter schools are funded over a period of 13 years to replace local property taxes that are not available to charter schools.
  • H.B. 315 Accepting Federal Funds Amendments, by Rep. Ken Sumsion (R-American Fork), was held in the House Government Operations Committee yesterday with an 8-2 vote. The bill requires a state review of all federal funds requests of more than $50,000.
  • H.B. 398 Utah State Instructional Materials Access Center Funding, by Rep. Stephen Handy (R-Layton), passed the Utah House unanimously this morning. The bill authorizes the State Office of Education to withhold funding from school districts that breach their contractual obligations by not paying for materials ordered from the Utah State Instructional Materials Center (USIMAC). It now heads to the Senate for consideration.
  • H.B. 415 Schools for the Deaf and Blind Foundation, by Rep. Stephen Handy (R-Layton), also passed the Utah House this morning with unanimous support. The bill allows the Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind to establish a non-profit foundation. It will be forwarded to the Senate for further debate.
  • H.B. 423 Public School Seismic Safety Committee, by Rep. Larry Wiley (D-West Valley City), failed to pass out of the House Business and Labor Committee this morning with a split 6-6 vote. The bill would have created the Public School Seismic Safety Committee that shall advise and make recommendations to the Legislature, governor, state superintendent, and State Board of Education on seismic safety issues in public schools.
  • H.C.R. 13 Secure Rural Schools Concurrent Resolution, by Rep. Mike Noel (R-Kanab), passed out of the Utah House yesterday on a 68-2 vote. The resolution expresses support from the Legislature and the Governor for the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000, a federal program that reimburses rural schools for lost revenues due to environmental protections. The resolution now heads to the Senate.
  • S.B. 52 Tortious Act Arbitration, by Sen. Steve Urquhart (R-St. George), was substituted yesterday and passed its first vote on the Senate floor unanimously. This morning, the bill cleared its final Senate hurdle and heads to the House. Both bills promote arbitration in tort cases. The substitute more clearly defines the arbitration process in governmental claims.
  • S.B. 72 Initiative Amendments, by Sen. Lyle Hillyard (R-Logan), passed its first vote on the Senate floor yesterday and its second vote this morning, both with unanimous support. The bill requires an initiative to contain no more than one subject; authorizes initiative petition sponsors to change the text of a proposed law following public hearings; and requires the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget to update an initial fiscal impact estimate if the text of a proposed law is changed. It now heads to the House for consideration.
  • S.B. 78 Public School Early Graduation Counseling, by Sen. Chris Buttars (R-West Jordan), passed its first Senate floor vote yesterday and its second today, both with unanimous support. The bill requires public schools to notify students of early graduation requirements. It now heads to the House.
  • S.B. 145 Utah Educational Savings Plan Amendments, by Sen. Wayne Niederhauser (R-Sandy), passed its final vote in the Utah Legislature yesterday. It cleared the Utah House with unanimous support. The bill exempts Utah Educational Savings Plan funds from provisions of the State Money Management Act and establishes the authorized investments for the plan’s program fund, among other changes.
  • S.B. 217 Education Policy Amendments, by Sen. Curt Bramble (R-Provo), passed out of the Senate Education Committee yesterday with unanimous support. The bill requires schools that receive grants from the Beverly Taylor Sorenson Elementary Arts Learning Program to provide matching funds; requires the State Board of Education to make additional funds available for schools to participate in the program; and removes the repeal date for the program. It now heads to the Senate floor for consideration.
  • S.B. 224Partisan School Board Elections, by Sen. Howard Stephenson (R-Draper), passed the Senate Education Committee yesterday with a 3-1 vote. The bill requires members of the State Board of Education to face partisan elections. It now heads to the Senate floor.
  • S.B. 256 Teacher Effectiveness Evaluation Process, by Sen. Stuart Adams (R-Layton), passed the Senate Education Committee yesterday with a 2-1 vote. The bill requires schools to develop policies for the annual evaluation its teachers and outlines that this evaluation should be based 40% on student learning gains; 40% on instructional quality; and 20% on parent, student, or community satisfaction. It now heads to the Senate floor for debate.
  • S.B. 263 State Board of Education Powers Amendments, by Sen. Chris Buttars (R-West Jordan), passed the Senate Education Committee yesterday with unanimous support. The bill narrows the definition of the State Board’s “general control and supervision” of Utah’s public education system. It states the State Board may adopt rules and policies in accordance with its responsibilities under the constitution and as provided by the Legislature in statute. The bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration.
  • S.J.R. 13 Joint Resolution – Request for Proposals, by Sen. Howard Stephenson (R-Draper), passed its last vote in the Utah House with a 68-1 vote. The resolution enacts provisions relating to the process for the legislative branch to issue a request for proposals, analyzing responses, awarding a contract, and evaluating results.
  • S.J.R 27  Bullying and Cyber Bullying Standards for School Districts Joint Resolution, by Sen. Ralph Okerlund (R-Monroe), passed the Senate Education Committee yesterday and now heads to the Senate floor for debate. The resolution expresses support for Utah school districts and charter schools to implement protections against bullying, cyber bullying, and other physical or emotional harm.

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