Week 5: The Hope Scholarship & The Great Salt Lake
As the fifth week of the legislative session comes to an end, I hope you and your families are doing well. For those of you who joined me for my mid-session townhall, thank you! I wanted to follow up with you on legislation I’ve been working on with my colleagues up at the legislature.
HB 331: Hope Scholarship Bill
On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to present HB 331: The Hope Scholarship in committee. The bill passed and is waiting to be heard on the House floor. I appreciated the many parents and students who joined in-person and online to speak to the bill.
There is a lot of confusion out there about this bill, and I wanted to provide clarity on a few issues:
For students who leave a traditional public school in the middle or during an academic school year, the WPU that had been allocated to the student for that school will remain in the school until the end of the academic year, and then it will reset based on the enrolled students.
Conversely, if a student is a scholarship recipient and decides halfway through the school year they want to re-enter the public education system, the remaining scholarship amount will follow them and the money will be sent back to the LEA.
SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENT ELIGIBILITY & PRIORITIZATION
This scholarship is means-tested, the income levels are tied to the federal poverty level. For example, a family of four making $50k or less qualifies for the greatest amount of scholarship funding. The greater a family’s income, the lower the scholarship amount they can apply for.
WHAT CAN THE SCHOLARSHIP BE USED FOR?
Tutoring, online classes and/or curriculum, private school tuition, micro schools, homeschool materials/curriculum, mentoring, and textbooks.
OTHER IMPORTANT CLARIFICATIONS:
A homeschool parent cannot pay/ reimburse themselves as their own child’s teacher.
The program will not receive federal dollars, there are no federal strings attached.
This is a $36 million funding request and is an appropriations request separate from the overall education budget. As a legislature, we will once again be increasing public education funding and the WPU.
You can listen to the full committee debate here.
I am currently working on a substitute bill that would incorporate additional accountability measures. In addition, this scholarship opportunity will be available not only based on an individual’s income level, but will be expanded as an option for students who have been bullied and are seeking alternative options for a safe educational experience.
HB 346: Funding Independence in Foreign Language Education Bill The bill passed with 69 votes on the House floor, it is off to the Senate now! You can read an explanation of the bill in last week's newsletter here.
2 HB 351: Domestic Violence Modifications On Wednesday, I presented 2HB 351: Domestic Violence Modifications in the House Law Enforcement Committee. The bill passed unanimously and had the support of the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition, the Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, the Statewide Association of Prosecutors, the Utah Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Department of Public Safety, and the Navajo Nation. This key policy proposal in the bill is the creation of the Domestic Violence Data Task Force. The bill directs the task force to gather information on lethality assessments conducted in the state and develop a strategic plan to improve domestic violence data collection and address major coordination gaps between state, local, and non-profit agencies. The task force will also address the need for a standardization of lethality assessment data as well as a review of training and protocols implemented by law enforcement agencies and other organizations that provide domestic violence services. I presented this bill on the House Floor where it passed unanimously. You can review the bill here. To listen to the committee presentation click here.
You can hear the floor debate here.
The Great Salt Lake
This Thursday, I had the opportunity to take a tour of the Great Salt Lake given by the Utah National Guard and guides from the Audubon Society. The Great Salt Lake is a defining feature of our geography, environment, and state; however, the water levels of the lake are at an all-time low. I am a co-sponsor of HB 410: The Great Salt Lake Watershed Enhancement. This legislation develops a comprehensive plan to develop strategies to deal with the fluctuating lake level and promotes the development of lake brines, minerals, chemicals, and petro-chemicals to contribute to the state's economy.
Utah Highway Patrol
On Wednesday afternoon, we recognized the Utah Highway Patrol for their dedication, time, and commitment to keeping Utahns safe. So grateful for these men and women who work so hard to keep our Capitol and state safe!
2022 Revenue Numbers
The Governor’s Office, Utah Senate, and House of Representatives released revenue numbers for state fiscal year (FY) 2022-23. Utah is leading the nation in economic performance and continues to exceed expectations. Though Utah’s economy is strong, there are significant factors, including federal stimulus wind down, that may dampen revenue gains. Click here to see the full report.
In the News
Katherine Bathgate: Utah Legislature is right to vote for Hope Scholarships
Opinion: Support the Hope Scholarship bill
Thank you again for the opportunity to represent our community, it is truly an honor to work with you and for you.
Bills Passed This Week H.B. 11 Student Eligibility in Interscholastic Activities H.B. 12 Public Safety Retirement Amendments H.B. 31 Insurance Amendments H.B. 63 Covid-19 Vaccine Exemptions H.B. 65 Forensic Biological Evidence Preservation H.B. 88 License Plate Revisions H.B. 113 Students with Disabilities Funding Revisions H.B. 114 School Nursing Services Amendments H.B. 123 Use of Force Revisions H.B. 132 Uniform Easement Relocation Act H.B. 166 Water Facility Amendments H.B. 171 Custodial Interrogation Amendments H.B. 182 Local Health Department Order Amendments H.B. 188 Voter Signature Verification Amendments H.B. 192 Former Offender Employment Amendments H.B. 193 Full-day Kindergarten H.B. 195 Auricular Detoxification Amendments H.B. 196 Transfer of Domestic Violence Cases H.B. 201 Kidney Health Task Force H.B. 208 Domestic Violence Offender Treatment Board H.B. 211 School Fees Amendments H.B. 213 Disabled Parking Permit Amendments H.B. 215 Project Entity Oversight Committee H.B. 218 Citizen Petition Amendments H.B. 224 Optometrist Practice Amendments H.B. 226 Higher Education and Corrections Council H.B. 231 Fishing and Hunting Restrictions for Nonpayment of Child Support H.B. 233 Disability Benefit Amendments H.B. 236 Behavioral Health Amendments H.B. 237 Local District Modifications H.B. 238 State Holiday Modifications H.B. 242 Secondary Water Metering Amendments H.B. 244 Geological Carbon Sequestration Amendments H.B. 248 Juvenile Amendments H.B. 249 Juvenile Amendments Cross References H.B. 250 Environmental Quality Revenue Amendments H.B. 252 Employee Verification Requirements H.B. 256 Farm to School Program H.B. 258 Political Action Committee Amendments H.B. 259 Law Enforcement Use of Unmanned Aircraft H.B. 260 Law Enforcement Recording Release Amendments H.B. 261 Civil Commitment Revisions H.B. 263 Utah Watersheds Council Amendments H.B. 264 Municipal Alternate Voting Methods Amendments H.B. 266 Trauma-informed Research and Training Grant Program H.B. 267 Campaign Finance Amendments H.B. 268 Sales and Income Tax Amendments H.B. 269 Capital Assets Related to Water H.B. 270 Parent Access to School Data Comparison H.B. 273 Civics Education Amendments H.B. 276 Joint Tenancy Presumption Amendments H.B. 277 Juvenile Competency Amendments H.B. 280 Cybersecurity Commission H.B. 282 Water Wise Landscaping Amendments H.B. 283 Mental Health Professional Licensing Amendments H.B. 287 Volunteer Government Workers Amendments H.B. 289 Insurance Coverage for Emergency Medical Service Personnel H.B. 290 School Readiness Amendments H.B. 291 Real Estate Interest Termination Amendments H.B. 292 Microenterprise Home Kitchen Amendments H.B. 293 Ground Ambulance Interfacility Transport Licensing H.B. 294 Charter School Admissions Amendments H.B. 295 Physician Workforce Amendments H.B. 296 Peace Officer Training Amendments H.B. 299 Juvenile Justice Changes H.B. 301 Medication Dispenser Amendments H.B. 304 Eminent Domain Modifications H.B. 309 Process Server Amendments H.B. 310 Vital Records Special Characters H.B. 313 Election Security Amendments H.B. 314 Inheritance Disqualification Amendments H.B. 315 Effective Teachers in High Poverty Schools Incentive Program Amendments H.B. 316 Medical Assistant Amendments H.B. 317 Sovereign Lands Trespassing Amendments H.B. 318 Dental Provider Malpractice Amendments H.B. 320 Guardianship Bill of Rights H.B. 321 Restitution Amendments H.B. 322 Public Transit Capital Development Modifications H.B. 323 Transient Room Tax Amendments H.B. 325 Mental Health Support and Law Enforcement Co-response H.B. 328 Driver License and License Plate Amendments H.B. 329 Weapon Possession Penalty Amendments H.B. 334 State Engineer Modifications H.B. 335 Blockchain and Digital Innovation Task Force H.B. 345 Public Safety Employee Personal Data Amendments H.B. 347 Property Tax Exemption Amendments H.B. 351 Domestic Violence Modifications H.B. 355 Higher Education Financial Aid Amendments H.C.R. 10 Concurrent Resolution Regarding an Interlocal Agreement Creating the Jordan River Commission H.J.R. 11 Joint Resolution Supporting Services for Veterans H.C.R. 11 Concurrent Resolution Honoring the Work of Primary Care Providers to the Citizens of Utah H.J.R. 14 Joint Rules Resolution - Legislative Procedure Revisions H.C.R. 4 Concurrent Resolution Calling for Protection of Archaeological Sites H.C.R. 14 Concurrent Resolution Honoring Utah Olympians and Paralympians S.B. 18 Election Modifications S.B. 56 Criminal Stalking Exemption Amendments S.B. 58 Day of Remembrance Observing the Incarceration of Japanese Americans During World War II S.B. 63 Bereavement Leave Amendments S.B. 75 Fine Amendments S.B. 80 Real Property Recording Amendments S.B. 81 Affordable Housing Tax Amendments S.B. 84 Chiropractic Practice Amendments S.B. 90 Tax Administration Amendments S.B. 98 Judiciary Amendments S.B. 99 Electronic Vehicle Registration Amendments S.B. 103 Special Education Licensing Amendments S.B. 104 Community Health Worker Certification Process S.B. 108 Indigent Defense Amendments S.B. 115 Firearm Preemption Amendments S.B. 121 Anesthesiologist Assistant Licensing Act S.B. 124 Criminal Code Recodification Cross References S.B. 126 Officer Intervention and Reporting Amendments S.C.R. 7 Concurrent Resolution Calling on Local Governments to Treat Above-trend Revenue Growth as One-time Revenue S.C.R. 6 Concurrent Resolution Encouraging Support for Internationally Adopted Individuals