June 2024 – Special Session

June 26, 2024


Protecting Utah Against New, Unconstitutional Title IX Regulations

Many of the challenges we in Utah have faced in the past few years stem from unconstitutional actions taken by federal agencies that bypass congressional approval. Such action occurred recently when the U.S. Department of Education unconstitutionally rewrote Title IX regulations in an attempt to simplify a complex issue with far-reaching consequences that go directly against state and federal laws. Title IX has been instrumental in promoting fairness and equal opportunities for women for over 50 years. After these changes were announced, the Utah State Board of Education unanimously voted to request the Legislature provide direction and clarity to the federal government’s unilateral rule.

In response, we used the framework established earlier this year to pass H.J.R. 301 and H.C.R. 301 during the special session. These resolutions affirm Utah’s sovereign authority to safeguard the prosperity and welfare of Utahns and direct relevant state and local entities to adhere to state law rather than the new unconstitutional federal regulations if conflicts arise. 

With these resolutions, we send a clear message to the federal government that we will not tolerate overreach or disregard for our state sovereignty. As your senator, I will continue advocating for the autonomy and welfare of all Utahns, especially women and girls.

Securing Utah’s Energy Future

Ensuring energy remains affordable and reliable in Utah is critical to preserving our high quality of life for generations. From keeping the lights on to powering our cities, we need energy for almost everything we do.

S.B. 161 Energy Security Amendments, passed during the 2024 General Session, was part of the Legislature’s effort to retain the Intermountain Power Plant (IPP), a reliable energy source for our state. However, its tight deadlines and requirements for receiving air permits raised concerns from several stakeholders. H.B. 3004 Energy Security Amendments adjusts these deadlines and parameters to be more workable and reasonable. These changes will help us work toward total energy independence and maintain one of the lowest electricity rates in the nation. 

Protecting Public Lands Against Federal Overreach

The Legislature recently found that some funds appropriated to public lands and federal overreach overlapped and were unnecessarily duplicative. H.B. 3002 Public Lands Funding Amendments corrected that by consolidating public lands management funds. By centralizing funds, we prevent duplicative spending, clean up records for a more seamless process and enhance accountability so the public can better understand where their taxpayer dollars are going.

The bill also allows the newly renamed Federal Overreach Restriction Account to be used to educate the public on federalism and state sovereignty. Providing more information about federalism ensures all Utahns understand the importance of protecting our state from unconstitutional federal action.

Ensuring Exchange Student Academic Success 

A recent audit revealed many foreign exchange students participating in the Statewide Online Education Program (SOEP) did not meet the requirement of having a custodial parent residing in Utah, putting their graduation at risk.

H.B. 3001 Exchange Student Guardianship Amendments clarified that foreign exchange students attending schools in Utah can continue their education, achieve their academic goals and graduate.

Streamlining School District Creation

During the 2024 General Session, lawmakers revised the process for creating new school districts However, this change allowed multiple competing proposals on the ballot, making the process more confusing for voters.

To address this issue, H.B. 3003 School District Amendments repeals a process that allows a local school board to propose a new district and clarifies that a municipality can only participate in one proposal per ballot. By implementing these changes, the bill ensures a clearer, more defined process for creating new school districts, preventing confusion and promoting fairness in the decision-making process. 

Clarifying Sunset and Repeal Dates

With Utah being one of the best-run states in the nation, we consistently revisit existing statutes to ensure we are efficient and effective in our governing. As part of this effort, we recently found that some sunset and repeal provisions in Utah Code did not conform with legislative drafting standards and unnecessarily complicated bill and data management processes. To solve this issue, we passed H.B. 3005 Sunset Repeal Date Code Corrections to ensure our laws meet our high standards.