Transparency and Accountability - Week Two of the 2019 Utah Legislative SessionFebruary 5, 20192 min read
It is week two of my sixth session representing Southern Utah University with the Utah State Legislature. As I reflect on the task at hand and what I've learned over the last five years, I continue to have a greater understanding and greater respect for the effort our state leaders put into transparency. We, as individual constituents, have an opportunity to understand the process and contribute to it.
Appropriations committees continue to meet this week. At our first meeting, the legislative analyst presented an outline for the Higher Ed Appropriations Committee meetings scheduled. Pages three and seven get very specific about what we are going to discuss at each meeting. This allows the presidents of each of the eight state institutions to prepare. Meetings are also held with individual legislators so there is a greater understanding of what they are trying to achieve. President Scott L Wyatt will present to this committee next week, on February 13. It's easy to listen in.
President Wyatt will also be presenting this Friday, February 8 to Infrastructure and General Government Appropriations Committee (IGG). This committee has enormous budgetary responsibilities as they deal with everything from compensation to transportation to technology and, what we are most interested in, state-funded buildings. We have the responsibility to convey to this group why an investment in SUU now is the right thing to do with one-time state funds. This committee will prioritize and recommend funding during the February 14 meeting, I'm hoping it's a real Valentine for SUU.
Additional requests for funding will be made by the Utah Shakespeare Festival (USF) and the Utah Summer Games (USG) to the Business, Economic Development and Labor (BEDL). Yes, it's all initials, all the time. USF has been receiving ongoing funding for the last two years. This year, for the first time, they have been asked to return and report on how those funds have been used to benefit the state of Utah. As an economic engine for our community and region, the Festival has an amazing story to tell. As does the Utah Summer Games. State support for these auxiliary enterprises is very important as they seek private funds to accomplish their missions and benefit our campus and community.
It's a great show! Listen in to committees or watch the debate on the floor. While my focus is on the funding, bills, and policies that affect higher education in Utah; the debated bills are likely to impact you or someone you know.