Utah State Legislature 2013 Report

capitolThe Governor and the Utah State Legislature demonstrated unprecedented support for the University of Utah during the 2013 legislative session. Thanks to the efforts of President Dave Pershing and Senior Vice President Vivian Lee, the University received funding increases that will allow us to restore and increase our medical school class as well as expand our focus on key University initiatives.


Successes for the University of Utah


The Governor and the Utah Legislature addressed all of the top priorities of the University of Utah.

  • The Legislature approved partial funding for a 1% compensation increase for higher education employees.
  • The Legislature passed SB 42 which appropriates $10 million in ongoing funding ($6.5 million in year one) to expand the medical school class from 82 students to 102 starting this fall. The class size will then increase an additional 20 slots in 2014, bringing the total annually admitted student class size to 122.
  • In a clear sign of support for the USTAR initiative which continues to bring world class researchers to the state, the Legislature appropriated $5 million in ongoing funding which will help restore some prior budget cuts and allow us to fund new research teams.
  • As was requested by the Utah State Board of Regents,  $18 million was appropriated to help fund distinctive mission initiatives as well as growth at each institution of higher education.
  • $2.5 million in one-time funding was appropriated to the Huntsman Cancer Institute.
  • $300,000 in one-time funding was appropriated to the Utah Museum of Natural History.
  • $125,000 in ongoing funding was appropriated for the University of Utah Reading Clinic to provide expanded reading assessment and interventions for public school students with low reading proficiency.

Several Buildings were authorized by the Legislature for the University of Utah including:


  • Bonding authorization to expand and renovate the Basketball Training Center.
  • Bonding authorization plus operation and maintenance approval for the Kennecott Building renovation and addition.

Legislation of Interest to the University Community with Outcomes


HB 28 (Ipson): Campus Safety Amendments
Would allow administrative officers at USHE institutions to dismiss individuals that trespass on the property of higher education institutions who disturb the peace. Passed

HB 76 (Mathis): Concealed Weapon Carry Amendments
Provides an exemption for a person who is 21 years of age or older and who may lawfully possess a firearm from certain criminal provisions related to the carrying of an unloaded concealed firearm. Passed

HB 139 (Peterson): Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Action Center
Creates educational programs for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in public education. Passed

HB 254 (Ray): College Credit for Veterans
Requires USHE colleges and universities to award credit for certain military service training and experience after meeting with a higher education student advisor.  Passed

HB 286 (Froerer): Disposition of Personal Property on Vacated Property
Requires a property owner to give notice to a former tenant of abandoned personal property before it is sold or donated. This allows a tenant to recover abandoned personal property under certain conditions and provides that a property owner is not required to store certain hazardous or dangerous abandoned personal property. Passed

HB 376 (Hutchings): Public Funds and Accounts Amendments
This bill was drafted at the request of the University of Utah to modify the State Money Management Act to allow certain institutions of higher education to deposit public funds in a foreign bank for educational purposes. Passed

HB 391 (Anderegg): Prohibition of Medicaid Expansion
Prohibits the Department of Health or the governor from expanding the state Medicaid program to optional expansion populations unless: the Health System Reform Task Force completes a review of a statewide charity care system; the department completes a thorough analysis of the impact of Medicaid expansion in the state and makes the analysis available to the public; and the department reports to the Legislature in accordance with statutory reporting requirements. Passed

SB 42 (Valentine): Medical School Admissions Funding
This bill authorizes the University Of Utah School of Medicine to increase the number of students it admits annually. The class size will increase by 20 students in the fall of 2013 and then by an additional 20 in 2014, bringing the annually admitted class size to 122 students. Of those admitted students, 82% must be Utah residents or have graduated from a high school, college, or university located in Utah.  Passed

SB 51 (Urquhart): Higher Education Tuition Waivers
Removes the cap on the number of waivers allotted to institutions of higher education for nonresident students who meet certain academic and admission requirements; and extends alumni legacy nonresident scholarships at institutions of higher education to grandchildren of alumni. Passed

SB 100 (Stevenson): Higher Education Scholarship Amendments
Makes modifications to the Regents’ and New Century scholarship programs to streamline the application process, raise standards to improve completion, and addresses concerns raised by constituents. Passed

SB 107 (Christensen): Public Shooting Ranges
Grants the public access to use certain public shooting ranges; permits a fee to be charged for the public to use a public shooting range; and describes when a public shooting range can be restricted from public use. Passed

SB 132 (Harper): Utah Medical Education Council Amendments
This bill moves the functions of the Utah Medical Education Council into the Board of Regents as well as expands its scope to nursing professionals. The Council will still maintain its authority through its current board appointed by the Governor to bridge the gap between public/private health care workforce and education interests. Passed

SB 162 (Urquhart): Concurrent Enrollment Amendments
Clarifies and modifies several elements of legislation he sponsored, and enacted, last year that were administratively burdensome, based on feedback from USHE. Passed

SB 169 (Reid): Education Task Force
Creates a task force of 14 legislators to review and make recommendations on long-term policies regarding public and higher education. The focus of the task force includes: workforce alignment, integration between education entities, improvement of the state’s economic prosperity, and standards to be competitive in the United States and the world. A final report of the committee would be required in December 2013. Passed

SB 175 (Stephenson): Assessment of College Readiness
Requires K-12 schools to administer college readiness assessments which include a college admissions test that is most commonly submitted to local universities (e.g. ACT or SAT). USHE supported this bill as it streamlines the assessment of college readiness of high school students. Passed

SB 190 (Jenkins): Procurement Revisions
Makes significant modifications to the state procurement code.  The University of Utah Hospital is exempted from many of the provisions and most of the higher education concerns were accommodated. Passed

SCR 5 (Stevenson): Concurrent Resolution Endorsing the Utah Education Excellence Commission
Expresses strong support for achieving the goal that 66% of Utah’s adults will hold a postsecondary degree or certificate by the year 2020; expresses the Legislature’s determination to work with the Governor and Utah’s education stakeholders to achieve the 66% goal through increased innovation and investment. Passed

For more information about specific bills, legislative membership, or committees, please visit the Utah Legislature here.

Download the printable version of this report here.


5 Responses to Utah State Legislature 2013 Report

  • Wayne Askew says:

    The support granted by the legislature for non salary items is appreciated, but the “partial funding for a 1% compensation increase for higher education employees” might not be considered as “… unprecedented support for the University of Utah”.

  • Elizabeth Lewis says:

    I’m grateful that you have increased the number of medical students admitted to the University of Utah and that 82% of them must be from the state of Utah. Thanks to the Legislature.

  • An Employee says:

    Boy I sure have to agree with Wayne about the salary issue. Partial-funding for a 1% comp increase is what some of us got last year as a “hold over” in hopes of something better the next year. When the economy was in trouble, it was understandable. But Utah’s economy is now at the very top of the nation’s. And when we are spending millions on all of these other projects, it’s hard to understand why after all these years of low-to-NO pay raises there wasn’t more consideration for employee wages. With inflation the way it is (I’m talking real inflation not the phoney-baloney numbers being trumped around; we all know food, gas, and housing have gone through the roof!) why are we not helping our employees recover the lost ground we’ve suffered over the years?

    I can’t speak to all professions here at the U — but I know my profession right now in the state is in a boom and my department here at the U is having a heck of a time hiring and retaining quality staff.

  • McKenzie says:

    So happy about all this good news!!

  • Christian Butler says:

    From 14 students in the first class of 1905, to 122 students in 2014, what an exciting change to an excellent institution.
    Hoping to see innovation and excellence for the next 100 years, and hope the increased funding is put to excellent use.

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