Report on the
2005 Legislative Session
The 2005 Utah legislative
session was one of the best in recent years, for both higher
education and other state agencies. This was due primarily
to the improved economy and the resulting increased state
tax revenues. But this year, thanks to the efforts of our
new president and hundreds of legislative advocates, the University
experienced a warmer reception generally than we have in recent
provided substantial new funding for operations and capital
facilities, including the Marriott Library renovation project.
They provided ongoing funding increases for salaries, health
and dental benefits, fuel and power, operations and maintenance,
the engineering and nursing initiatives, the high technology
economic development initiative, and a handful of campus-specific
items. One-time funds were appropriated for fuel and power,
operations and maintenance, the engineering and nursing initiatives,
the economic development initiative, and a couple of campus-specific
With all new funding
taken into account, the University’s ongoing state funding
was increased by $12.5 million, or six percent. The U received
an additional $6.1 million in one-time funds for operations
and equipment, and $48 million in one-time funds for the Marriott
The Legislature provided a 2.5 percent increase for cost of
living salary increases for state-appropriated faculty and
staff. They also provided $2.2 million for faculty and staff
retention to the Utah System of Higher Education (USHE), to
be administered by the Commissioner of Higher Education. The
U also received $1,594,600 for health and dental insurance
costs for a total compensation package of 3.2 percent. These
funds will be allocated to the University’s benefits
pool and will offset a portion of the increases that employees
would otherwise face in insurance premiums this coming July.
Engineering Initiative. In this, the fifth
year of the Engineering Initiative, the Legislature appropriated
$1.5 million in ongoing funding to the USHE and $500,000 in
one-time funding. The Technology Initiative Advisory Board,
composed of Utah industry representatives, will allocate the
Initiative. The Legislature appropriated $317,800
in ongoing funds and $122,200 in one-time funds for the University
as part of the Nursing Initiative. Six other institutions
also received a share of the $1.5 million total ongoing and
$500,000 one-time appropriation for this initiative. These
funds will help the University train additional graduate level
students to expand the pool of nursing faculty in the state.
Clinic. Ongoing funding for the Reading Clinic at
the level of $375,000 was appropriated, continuing what has
been provided during the past several years through public
education, but making it more secure by moving it to the higher
education budget starting this year.
of Natural History and Utah Museum of Fine Arts.
The Legislature appropriated $50,000 in ongoing funding to
the Utah Museum of Natural History for management of the Range
Creek archeological site in eastern Utah, and $465,000 in
one-time funds for the Utah Museum of Fine Art for secured
storage for the museum’s collection.
Scholarships. The Legislature appropriated $253,600
in one-time and $530,000 in on-going funds to the USHE for
these scholarships, which provide substantial tuition assistance
for students who complete the equivalent of an AA (two-year
degree) while in high school through Advance Placement and
concurrent enrollment courses. The University will receive
a share of this funding.
Power. For the first time in several years, the Legislature
appropriated new funds for the increased cost of fuel and
power: $5 million fiscal 2005 supplemental and $5 million
ongoing. The U’s share of these funds is $5.36 million,
half supplemental for the current year and half ongoing starting
in fiscal 2006.
& Maintenance. The Legislature also appropriated
new funds for ongoing operations and maintenance. The U’s
share of the $5 million fund is $1.53 million in ongoing funding.
Economic Development Initiative. The Legislature
provided phase-one funding for an economic development initiative
sponsored by the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development
Corporation of Utah (EDCU), Utah Information Technology Association
(UITA), and other business interests. It provides $3 million
in one-time funding for equipment at the U (as a 2005 supplemental
appropriation) and $4 million in ongoing funding for research
clusters at the U and Utah State University, with the U’s
share being $2.4 million. The U also received $350,000 in
2005 supplemental funds to be used for planning the next steps
for this initiative.
responded positively this year to our request for funds for
the Marriott Library renovation project and appropriated $48
million in one-time funding. Work on this project will begin
The Board of Regents
and the Legislature have approved a three percent increase
in tier-one tuition for the U. The University will ask the
Board of Regents to approve a 4.9 percent tier-two increase
for undergraduates and an eight percent tier-two increase
for graduate students. A large portion of the increase in
tuition revenue will be used to match tax funds allocated
to compensation, and another large portion will be devoted
to hiring additional faculty and addressing costs related
to enrollment growth, data processing, networks, ADA requirements,
and library collections.
of Interest to the University Community
Among the hundreds
of bills filed this year, the USHE tracked dozens of them
for possible impact on higher education. Among those which
were passed and await the governor’s signature are:
Tuition Reimbursement for Special Education Teachers,
requires institutions to consider special education teachers
among the priorities for the T.H. Bell program.
HB 103, Student Housing Built by Higher Education,
requires that in the event that a new student housing structure
is within 100 feet of a private residence, the local government
will be notified and, if they desire, may hold a joint public
hearing with the higher education institution.
Nonresident Tuition Amendments, modifies statute
to enable eligibility through meeting a time requirement (three
years), as well as the current credit-hour requirement (60
hours) whichever can be accomplished first.
HB 145, Amendments to Hearing Impaired Telecom Program,
provides that the Public Service Commission may use a portion
of the funds generated by the current telephone surcharge
for services to the deaf to contract with an institution of
higher education for the training of certified interpreters.
Investment of Higher Education Institution Endowment Funds,
exempts USHE endowments from certain provisions of the State
Money Management Act.
Revenue Bonds and Capital Facility Authorizations,
among other projects, authorizes the construction of the University
Hospital addition, the first phase of the new Humanities building,
and the Social Work building addition with non-state funds.
Economic Development Initiative for Higher Education,
requires Board of Regents to establish a “Jobs Now”
program for short-term training; funded with $1 million in
Individual Income Tax Subtraction for Certain Military Income,
allows what the title of the bill states but does not, as
considered in an earlier version of the bill, require USHE
to waive resident, nonresident undergraduate, and graduate
tuition for all military personnel.
Office of Museum Services Amendment, designates the
Utah Museum of Fine Arts as the state institution responsible
for collecting and exhibiting art.
Rural Medical Residency, provides for pilot program
of medical residencies in rural areas and calls for annual
appropriations of $300,000.
Allocation of Profits from School and Industrial Trust Lands,
allocates approximately $60,000 annually from trust lands
now going to the University of Utah for teacher education,
to be shared among public higher education institutions offering
Protection of Government Records, allows certain
records related to research at a research university to be