You win some…you lose some  


The 2024 legislative session adjourned last Friday, March 1, at midnight. 

This was a roller coaster of a session with some good wins and some losses. While child care did not have as many wins as we hoped, it was a much bigger topic of conversation and received much needed media attention. This is an area we will be engaged in for years as families struggle to find quality affordable care for their children.  

Homelessness, housing and health care had mixed results. As Utah grows and 211 Utah works to better assist individuals and families in need, we asked the legislature for additional funding to better support the billions of dollars spent annually in social service programs. We did not secure any new funding this year but will continue to provide amazing support to Utahns and will go back next year to make our case.  

Public education was also a mixed bag. Additional investments were made in per pupil funding, at-risk students, digital teaching and learning and other programs. The Utah Fits All program that passed last year and has not yet enrolled any students also received a $40 million on-going increase. There were many programs that did not receive new funding, including the School Readiness/high quality preschool program. This program has received no new funding in years, so we hoped the $6 million on-going funds requested would be funded.  

Here is a brief overview of some of the work United Way of Salt Lake, alongside our partners, engaged in during this year’s legislative session: 



SB220 School Readiness Amendments passed! This bill, sponsored by Senator Millner and Representative Hall, aims to improve the existing School Readiness Program. Created in 2014, the program’s purpose is to improve school readiness for targeted low-income students. It has been amended several times, creating administrative burdens and onerous work for grantees that needed to be streamlined. SB220 will allow the School Readiness Program to run more efficiently and focus on improving academic performance for at-risk preschoolers in Utah. 

We are also very excited to have successfully advocated to add a provision to HB84 School Safety Amendments which will implement a process to improve transparency and communication between schools and families whenever a bullying incident occurs. We appreciate Representative Wilcox for including this important component in his bill. 

We worked hard to pass SB121 Long-term Educational Achievement Program (LEAP), one of our top priorities this session. Unfortunately, even though the bill passed unanimously out of the Senate, funding for the pilot program was not prioritized by the Executive Appropriations Committee. This means the bill could not move forward as there would not have been any money to implement the program even if the bill had passed. 

While this wasn’t the outcome we hoped for, we believe in this program and will continue to fight for it during the interim and in next year’s legislative session. We are so grateful to our legislative champion, Senator Fillmore, for his tireless efforts on this issue. 

To learn more about SB121 LEAP, check out this explainer and this fact sheet. 

There were several bills this session that focused on teacher compensation. One was HB221 Stipends for Future Educators, which creates a grant program to provide stipends for students while they complete their student teaching year. This bill will benefit future teachers and moves the needle on the educator shortage in our state, so we are happy to report that it passed! 



HB153 Child Care Revisions passed the Senate in an extremely close 15-12 vote. We want to thank you for your engagement and the work you did contacting your legislators to ensure they understood the potentially dangerous impact of HB153. While the outcome for this bill wasn’t what we hoped, it would have been far worse without your advocacy.  

Originally introduced as Child Tax Credit Modifications, HB153 would have expanded Utah’s Child Tax Credit (CTC) to make it applicable to children ages 1 through 5. The CTC is a common-sense policy that our organization supports because it is good for young kids. Utah’s CTC supports families and gives them the financial flexibility to afford basic needs, such as diapers, food, shelter, and child care. 

Unfortunately, HB153 was amended to increase the number of children (from 6 kids to 8 kids) an unlicensed provider can watch, for pay, without requiring a safety inspection, first aid, or CPR training. Thanks to your advocacy efforts, two amendments were included that require unlicensed providers to have a background check and limits the number of children under the age of three a provider can care for to two, yet there is no enforcement mechanism, so concerns remain. The final bill only added 4-year-olds to the CTC, cutting out 5-year-olds. Check out the informative FAQ on HB153 our partners at Voices for Utah Children created. 

On a more positive note for child care, HB461 Child Care Grant Amendments, sponsored by Representative Matthews and Senator Escamilla, passed the Senate on Friday and will be sent to the Governor for his signature. This bill will expand access to child care subsidies for individuals working in the child care sector. This will help child care retention and recruitment efforts. We’d like to thank our partners at Voices for Utah Children for leading advocacy efforts on this important bill. 



Thanks to a relentless coalition of community members, advocates, lobbyists and legislators, HB463 Medicaid Funding Amendments, was successfully stalled in the House. This bill would have manufactured a Medicaid funding crisis and set up an unnecessary process to cut Medicaid without public debate, and no automatic reinstatement of cuts after they have been made.  

We opposed this bill because it would have unraveled the hard work stakeholders, including UWSL, have done over the years. It had the potential to put lives in danger by cutting optional benefits, such as prescription medication coverage, and optional populations, including children with disabilities, and adults trying get back on their feet. We’re grateful to all the legislators who added their voice in opposition to this bill and safeguarded health care for the most vulnerable populations in our state. 



Legislators took on several controversial bills related to diversity, equity, and inclusion at the beginning of the session. One of those bills was HB261 Equal Opportunity Initiatives. This legislation will prohibit what the bill calls discriminatory practices from occurring in higher education, public education, and government agencies. The bill is vague, which we expect will make implementation difficult; potentially impacting trainings and discussions related to racism, sexism, discrimination and harassment, and contributing to unsafe environments in universities, government agencies, and K-12 schools for various student groups. We will keep you posted on the impacts of this legislation in the future.  



Prior to the session we knew legislators planned to pass another tax cut. SB69 Income Tax Amendments was the vehicle this session, which passed with a 23-6 vote in the Senate and a 63-11 vote in the House. SB69 reduces an individual’s taxable income from 4.65% to 4.55%, saving the average taxpayer a median of $60-100 dollars. According to an analysis done by Voices for Utah Children, a construction worker with a salary of about $35,000 would save $43 dollars per year while a college football coach with a salary of about $808,000 would save $2,676 a year. The bill will decrease the states revenue by $204,800,000 annually. Dollars which could be used to fund essential services such as public education, child care, and mental health programs.  

Sadly, HB149 Earned Income Tax Credit Amendments, which would have made Utah’s earned income tax credit refundable and benefited Utahns in the lowest income bracket was voted down in the House Revenue & Taxation Committee.   



We truly could not do this work without you! Thank you for your support and engagement in advocating for policies that support kids and their families. Your voice and commitment have made a huge difference this session. 

 To see how other bills we were following turned out, please go to our comprehensive bill tracker

If you’d like to get involved in advocacy work with United Way of Salt Lake, visit our action center

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