USU President Stan Albrecht spoke at the higher education appropriations subcommittee meeting this afternoon. This marks the beginning of USU’s quest for funding at this year’s legislature.

Today’s meeting was not a request for any funding, but rather a presentation before the committee on the current university budget.

"What we've done to manage our budgets during the downturn from a few years ago; efficiencies have been created, maybe things that have been reallocated or things that have been cut," said Neil Abercrombie, director of governmental relations for USU.

senator Okerlund and Davis at a table

Senate leaders said no big decisions have been made on Medicaid expansion, though no potential options have been ruled out.

On Friday, Senate majority leader Ralph Okerlund said Republicans have barely scratched the surface on that topic in Senate caucus meetings, and no position has been taken.

“At this point, I believe all of the options are still out there on the table for our caucus,” Okerlund said. “We’re still willing to look at everything, and I suspect that (among) our caucus members, you’d find that we’ve got a lot of different opinions on whether we should go, at this point, with one of the options or with full expansion.”

State Senators Visit Lunchless Elementary Students

Jan 30, 2014

State Sen. Jim Dabakis and Sen. Todd Weiler visited the Uintah Elementary School in Salt Lake City Thursday to eat lunch with victims of a school lunch scandal.

It is estimated 30 elementary school children had their lunches thrown out after their parents didn’t pay the lunch fee.

Undergrads Share Research With Lawmakers At Capitol

Jan 29, 2014

Undergraduate researchers from Utah State University and the University of Utah will gather at the rotunda in the State Capitol Thursday to present their research to state legislators.

Research on Capitol Hill was founded 14 years ago as a way for universities to showcase undergraduate research.

Scott Bates is involved with deciding which USU students present at the capitol. He calls the event a distinct experience for undergraduates and lawmakers, some of whom are in charge of state funding for research grants.

League of Women Voters on Capital Hill

Jan 28, 2014
April Ashland

The Utah League of Women Voters gave an orientation of ways to lobby lawmakers during an onsite orientation on Monday at Capitol Hill.

Members of the league met in a room in the basement of the state capital, ate lunch, discussed the process of how bills become laws.

“Our founders believed women could vote their own heart and their own minds but like anybody they need education," said Jenn Gonnelly, co-president of the Utah League of Women Voters.

Utah Public Radio

Gov. Gary Herbert's proposed education budget for the next fiscal year is more than $5 billion, but some Utah legislators want to take it a step further.

Sen. Patricia Jones, (D-Salt Lake County), is the sponsor of Senate Bill 118, which would gradually phase out tax exemptions for families with children over a five-year period. Using the extra income generated from this, SB 118 would set up a funding plan that allocates the money to public schools for use on school improvement plans.

Speaking just outside the Senate chambers in the state capitol, Jones highlighted what the money could be used for.

On the opening day of the 2014 Utah Legislature we’re at the State Capitol. We’ll speak with Utah Governor Gary Herbert; Senate Majority Leader Ralph Okerlund; Senate Minority Leader Gene Davis; House Majority Leader Brad Dee; and House Assistant Minority Whip Rebecca Chavez-Houck. We’ll discuss air quality, education, the economy, Medicaid expansion, the budget and more.

House Speaker Becky Lockhart kicked off the 2014 legislative session with critical words for Governor Gary Herbert on Monday.

In her opening remarks on the floor of the House, the Prove Republican asked lawmakers to encourage Herbert “to lead and not just follow” and to “be innovative and not just reactive.”

She said Utah needs energy in the governor’s office, not “an inaction figure.”


With more students leaving for religious missions than ever before, Universities across the state are facing major enrollment dips.

Utah State University President, Stan Albrecht, said the school is still having difficulty estimating the fiscal consequences of this lower enrollment.

“We’re budgeting in a fog right now because we don’t really understand all of the impacts yet.”

Committee Rejects Climate Change Bill

Feb 5, 2013

Legislation that for the first time would have acknowledged the science of human-caused climate change by the government of the State of Utah was debated during a committee meeting on Monday, before being rejected on a 11-4 vote.

Republican representative Kraig Powell, of Heber, wants the state legislature to acknowledge the effects that climate change is having on wildfires in Utah.

“What the bill does is - it authorizes the state division of forestry, fire and public lands to consider the effects of climate change on their efforts to develop and implement firefighting strategies.”