With the words "Adjourn Sine Die" and a wrap of the gavel, the 2018 session of the Utah State Legislature came to its conclusion. Southern Utah University will receive a 2.5% labor market adjustment increase and 4.1 increase for health insurance rate increases. As a reminder, these increases are funded 75% from state funds and 25% from tuition funds. In addition, we will receive $2.1 million in ongoing funding for growth, barriers to completion and workforce alignment. In the last hours of the session, we received confirmation of $50,000 to support the 2018 Larry H. Miller Utah Summer Games. We will also receive $200,000 in ongoing funds for the Utah Shakespeare Festival with and additional $100,000 in one-time funding for the 2018 season. A great summary of the higher education budget items is available on the Board of Regents website.
While SUU enjoyed a number of successes at the 2018 Utah State Legislature, one of them, sadly, was not the funding for the Sorenson Legacy Foundation Child and Family Development Center.
Despite the fact that we executed an excellent strategy, held scores of meetings with positive feedback from each and every legislator, and achieved prioritization from the Infrastructure and General Government Committee (IGG), ours was among a number of buildings that remain unfunded at the conclusion of the session. Not that it makes any of us happier, our project is in the company of three other university projects and two state buildings that were prioritized by the Governor.
We have legislative friends and champions that fought for us this year and would like to help us make this happen next session. The process begins as early as August as the Regents begin their prioritization process. The higher we are on their list and the Building Board list, the easier next year's process will be.
During the next few weeks, I will be working with one of our Capitol interns to review the bills that passed and how SUU policy may or may not need to be adjusted.
The legislature is an ever-changing body. The President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House will both be leaving their leadership roles. A number of legislators in both chambers are retiring and a few representatives are looking to fill vacancies in the Senate. All Utah residents play a role in what happens next and who will serve in those positions. Regardless of your political affiliations, do your part. Attend caucus meetings, meet the candidates, be informed and vote.
Special thanks to Senator Evan Vickers and Representative John Westwood who will be retiring at the end of the year. For a review of the session from the perspective of our southern Utah legislators, plan to attend sessions wrap up hosted by the Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics & Public Service on March 21 at 5:30 p.m. The conversation will be held in partnership with KUER as part of their "45 Days" podcast.
It's a pleasure and an honor to represent SUU on the Hill.
Read more about the 2018 Legislative Session in Donna's previous posts:The Final Days
9 Working Days Left
Week Four Recap
Week Three Recap
Week One is Done
It Starts Today and It Starts Fast
Donna Law Takes on the 2018 Legislative Session