2021 Legislative Session Accomplishments

Appropriations Priorities (what we asked for):

  • $6M (ongoing) additional funding for arts & museums sustainability grants: funded at $4M ongoing
  • (1x) Impacted Businesses COVID Relief // funded at $5M 1x to refill creates in utah plus GOED has $20M 1x that will include a live events refill.
  • $200K (ongoing) / $225,000 (1x) Informal Science Education Enhancement (iSEE) // funded at $475K ongoing
  • $200K (ongoing) Professional Outreach Programs in the Schools (POPS) // funded at $250K ongoing
  • $4M (ongoing) Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program // funded at $2M ongoing
  • $25M (1x) Film Industry Tax Credits & Incentives // will be on 3/3 EAX list 
  • New staff positions at the Department of Heritage & Art plus restore 5% cut in staffing budget // fully funded 
  • $175 (1x) Martha Hughes Cannon statue installation in Washington DC // fully funded 
  • $15K ongoing / $15K (1x) Department of Heritage & Art Collection Storage // fully funded 
  • $500K (ongoing) GOED Main Street Program (historic building restoration) // TBD
  • $125M (1x) for open space/parks infrastructure investment // funded around
  • Plus the capital requests of our members
  • See all here

FINAL Appropriations decisions (what we got)

  • Arts & Museums Sustainability Grants: $4 million ongoing to a total budget of $7.5 million on-going
  • Create in Utah: $5 million 1x refill to the Create in Utah grants to assist with economic recovery
  • Impacted Business COVID Relief: $20 million one-time funding for economic development grants and a refill to the live event grants program (this industry will have access to both)
  • Film Incentives: $2.1M
  • SB194 Main Street: $300K
  • Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program: $2 million ongoing for the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program
  • POPS: $250,000 ongoing toward making three provisional members permanent
  • iSEE: $250,000 ongoing toward making the Ogden Nature Center a permanent member & $225,000 ongoing for reopening the RFP so new organizations can participate
  • New Positions at Division of Multicultural Affairs: $250,000 ongoing funding for a new Community Outreach Coordinator and Racial Equity & Inclusion Training Coordinator at the Division
  • Women's History Position at Utah Division of State History: $150,000 ongoing for a new position 
  • 5% Budget Restoration to Department of Heritage and Arts: $1,069,000 (was cut last year when the state was worried about a budget shortfall)
  • Digital Access specialist at State History: $150K (was a bill that failed but EAC funded it anyway)
  • Artifact Collection Storage Improvements: $15,000 one-time and $15,000 ongoing in upgrading UA&M's temporary artifact storage environment
  • Trails, Outdoor Recreation, Open Spaces, Parks Infrastructure Investment: close to $140M
  • Bears Ears Visitors Center: $250,000 one-time for planning study

Bills: You can download the BillTrack50 App to see all bills we tracked. Talk to Ernesto ([email protected]) or look in the member portal here: https://www.utahculturalalliance.org/2021billpriorities to get code to see our priority bills. Some of the highest priorities:

  • SB88 -- Sen. Fillmore edited his bill so that it doesn’t do anything. Could have pulled it entirely but he wanted a legislative win. This was a lot of work. Passed the senate last Friday. But this bill shows that our industry needs to do a lot of education and building of public goodwill on the RAP taxes. The edited bill has passed both chambers
  • HB 242 -- this is our ticketing bill, PASSED
  • HB 313 -- DHA will have a new name, PASSED
  • HB 120 -- makes some changes to information required to be given to new employees by small nonprofits, PASSED
  • HB167 -- increases cap on film tax credits, is currently in the house and waiting to be funded by EAC, PASSED and funded
  • HB38 // UCA worked with Rep. Seegmiller, Sen. Weiler and Utah Libraries Association to get some edits to this bill however Rep. Seegmiller did not run the substitute, PASSED
  • SB204 // creates some uniformity on permitting at the city level, currently in the house, HELD IN HOUSE (means it didn’t pass)
  • SB194 // recreates the main street program at GOED, PASSED and funded
  • SB214 // allows the state to offer materials in languages other than English, PASSED
  • SB202 // this bill is dead and replaced with the $20M line item described above in appropriations

2021 Session Grades // Our new legislative grading microsite is now live! The site allows you to see all Utah legislators and view their grade according to a rubric and bill scoring weight that was established internally. You can view the site using this link: https://scorecard.utahculturalalliance.org/#/


  • Collecting and communicating data measuring lost revenue, jobs, and outstanding ticketing liabilites for this industry. This project was a collaboration with our statewide service partners, although UCAF crunched the data.
  • Speaking with the press on behalf of the industry to communicate our urgent need throughout the pandemic.
  • Educating decision makers, the press, philanthropers, and the general public about how they could support the industry and our workers in this time.
  • Workshops on federal and state economic relief options such as PPP 1 & 2 (how to apply and forgiveness), Shuttered Venues Operators Grant, EIDL, ERTC, Shop in Utah, Create in Utah, Safe In Utah, Work in Utah, as well as county and city relief programs across the state.
  • Constant communication on ever-changing guidelines and workshops on how to be compliant with public safety guidelines.
  • Working with the Department of Health and regional local health districts to communicate the unique nature of this industry as they drafted guidelines to protect our workers and constituencies.
  • Frequent community conversations (free to all) to keep the industry informed on resources, funding opportunties, guidelines, legislation, etc. Early in the pandemic these were held weekly and later became monthly and were an opportunity for the industry to bond together and support each other in this difficult time.
  • Sourced discounted tests and PPE for the industry to purchase.
  • Educated the cultural industry about federal, state, and local legislation responding to the pandemic that impacted our industry.
  • Working elected officials to ensure that legislation in response to the pandemic took into account the unique needs of our industry.
  • Representing the industry on COVID economic relief discussions among various industries, decision makers, and community leaders.
  • Working with our state partners to secure industry-saving investments in 2020 and 2021 at the city, state, county, and federal level.
August 2020 Special Session:
  • $7.5M refill to Create in Utah grants
  • $3M refill to Multicultural Affairs grants
  • $20M refill to Shop in Utah grants
  • $1M refill to the PPE grants (Stay Safe to Stay Open)
  • $1M for mobile testing for businesses (partnership between Dept of Health and GOED)
  • $1M for a Healthcare outreach and public awareness campaign (In Utah)
  • $2M for a public health practices mass media campaign (encouraging mask wearing)
  • $25M to natural resources for broadband internet upgrades for impacted communities
  • $3.9M for wifi access in San Juan County (serving Navajo Nation primarily)
  • $19M for state board of ed for PPE, classroom supplies, enhancements and equipment.
For this second round, there will be no budget caps in the Create in Utah grants!! We were also successful in removing recreation and for-profits (who should be in Shop in Utah although we are very glad that a number of our creative for-profits were able to do the first round of Creates). GOED and DHA will work together to figure out some language regarding institutions applying into the other grant pool in the second round. There hopefully will be a way for most or all of our industry to receive a second round of support, but everyone is still working on the details. We were successful in getting those rules removed from the bill itself, it will be better to have GOED and DHA address it in their grant rules separately.
Between the June special session and this one our combined totals are:
  • $16.5M for arts & cultural orgs
  • $4M for multicultural orgs
  • Plus several cultural organizations did/will utilize the combined $55M in Shop in Utah Grants that’s open to all businesses as well as the PPE and other grants. 
This is pretty phenomenal for a red state and an indication of the strong partnership between Utah Department of Heritage and Arts, Utah Division of Arts & Museums, Utah Museums Association, and UCA. Our years of hard work building champions in the legislature for culture is paying off. Thank you to our partners, it is a pleasure to work with Jill, Kat, Vicki, and Ruth every day. Thank you to our fantastic lobbyists Spencer Stokes and Adam Kolowich who work so hard on our behalf. Spencer and Adam rock. I also want to thank our NPU/UCA team of Kylie, Ruth, Alison, Ernesto, Aiden, and Miles. Being able to grow the team has made a fantastic difference in our ability to better serve our cultural umbrella (arts, multicultural, museums, film, humanities, and entertainment). Thank you to our members and sponsors for making our work possible. Together, all of us make a great team and it takes a village!

2019 Accomplishments // 2019 Annual Report

  • Secured $2 million one time increase to the Utah Division of Arts and Museums Grant Budget.
  • Secured funding for an Artifacts Collection Manager at the Department of Heritage and Arts ongoing.
  • Secured $1 million one time funding for BetterDays 2020
  • Secured $1.5 million one time for BTSALP
  • Secured $31,000 ongoing for Compensation and ISF Exceptions for Heritage and Arts.
  • Secured $200,000 one time funding for iSEE
  • Secured $490,000 one time funding for an updated Collections Management Facility.
  • Secured $1 million one time funding for the Motion Picture Post Performance Economic Development Incentive Program
  • Secured $20,000 one time and $20,000 ongoing for the POPS program.
  • Secured $250,000 one time for the Transcontinental Railroad Spike 150 Celebration.

This is a total of $6,466,000!

Pass-throughs that UCA Advocated for also secured $3,460,000

We also worked to impact policy that impacts the Cultural Sector positively.

  • Passed HB 128: Consumer Ticket Protection Modifications that requires any ticket reseller clearly identify itself as a secondary reseller. It requires all resellers to state that the tickets sold by them may be higher than face value, and to provide an itemized breakdown of the resale price. It makes it illegal for any ticket reseller to try and impersonate a primary seller, including by using the name of the event, venue, artist, etc. in their domain names. It instructs the Division of Consumer Protection to enforce these rules with stiff penalties.
  • Passed HB 224: Department of Heritage and Arts Amendments. -Puts in statute the Division of Multicultural Affairs and Utah Multicultural Commission which were previously created via Executive Order. This solidifies these important state functions in statute. One of the duties of the Division of Multicultural Affairs includes helping nonprofit entities receiving state funds to promote inclusiveness, gain the trust of the state's multicultural communities, and works with various state agencies to sure the state provides equitable resources, services and programs that address the needs of the state's multicultural communities. The bill also makes a few minor technical changes to how various boards within the Department define quorum and how pass through appropriations are distributed.
  • Passed SB 69: Consumer Ticket Protection Amendments. -This bill does three important things. First, it says that any person may issue up to 10% of their tickets for an event as "restricted" tickets, meaning tickets that cannot be resold (i.e. change tickets from one name to another). Second, it says that any venue may denominate up to 10% of the concert and theater events in a given year as "restricted" events, and issue as many restricted tickets for those events as it chooses. Third, beginning in 2020, it creates reporting requirements for ticket-issuing organizations who offer restricted tickets. Organizations exempt from this bill include: International Film Festivals (Sundance), the NCAA basketball tournament, and official events of any college/university.
  • Passed SB 73: Amendments to Martha Hughs Cannon Oversight Committee
  • Passed SB 87: Procurment of Design Professionals Amendments.
  • Passed SB 101: Navajo Code Talker Recognition. -Connected to SCR02, this annually sets Navajo Code Talker Day on August 14th in state statute so it is celebrated every year.
  • Passed SCR 02: Concurrent Resolution REcognizing Navajo Code Talkers. -Recognizes and honors the legacy and bravery of the Navajo Code Talkers and and designates August 14, 2019 as "Utah Navajo Code Talkers Day" to honor them. It specifically names the 8 living Navajo Code talkers.
  • Passed SB81 Sub 1: Native Americans Remains Amendments. - Creates a fund for the Native American Repatriation Restricted Account. This fund pays for the time and travel expenses for tribes when they exchange with the state in official ‘tribal consultations’. When Native American remains are found, tribes have the ability to claim individuals for repatriation and re-interment, however all but a handful of these individuals are housed in a vault near Salt Lake City due to financial, realty, and training constraints. The purpose of this bill is to remove the financial burden for tribal consultation from the tribes and, hopefully, lead to a more active repatriation process to the tribes.
  • Convinced the State Fire Marshall to edit the rule that was preventing presenting organizations from hiring out of state fire performers.
  • We've agreed to work on improving the Charitable Solicitation Permit with partners at Consumer Protections and UNA.

Additional accomplishments:

  • SLC City Council voted to increase the public art program from 1% to 1.5% of Capital Improvement Project funds for Fiscal Year 2020.
  • Increased Federal Humanities Caucus by two, Representative Chris Stewart and Representative Ben McAdams.
  • Increased Federal Arts and STEAM Caucuses by one, Representative Ben McAdams
  • Surveyed 500 municipal candidates, interviewed 200. 60% of endorsed candidates made it into the general election. 
  • Congressman McAdams signed the "Dear Colleague" letters for all four federal cultural agencies: National Endowment for the Humanities, National Endowment for the Arts, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and Institution for Museum and Library Services.
  • Increased the state Cultural Caucus to include ALL Senators and all but one Representatives. (All time high).
  • Worked with Preservation Utah to successfully save the Amanda Knight building at BYU. Instead of demolition, BYU will sell the building to a preservation-minded developer.
  • Hosted a well attended (60+ legislators over 200 people) dinner with the entire legislature that is on the official social calendar the day before Arts Day on the Hill! Legislators raved about this event!
  • Partnered with Utah Museums Association and Office of Museum Services to organize the lobbying aspects of Museum Day on the Hill
  • Partnered with Utah Division of Arts & Museums, Art Works for Kids, and Utah Music Educators Association (UMEA) to organize Arts Day on the Hill
  • Working with partners to develop a diversity and inclusion plan for the arts & cultural sector
  • Released the 2018 State of UT Culture Report
  • Grew the Cultural Asset Map to 6,000+ pins
  • Worked with partners (UMEA, Art Works, UDEO, UATT, UAEA, POPS, iSEE, and more) to develop an advocacy plan for improved arts & humanities K-12 education. This is the culmination of many years of coalition building.

2018 Accomplishments

  • Saved Middle School Arts education: We fought to reverse the school board's decision to make MS arts ed optional. We won in January 2018!
  • Saved Classical 89
  • Became the new managers of nowplayingutah.com
  • Successfully lobbied for almost $9 million in new investments in Utah's nonprofit and for-profit cultural sector during the 2018 legislation session.
  • Lobbied UT's federal delegation to support funding for NEA, NEH, CPB, and IMLS. (increases for Fiscal Year 19!)
  • Utah is now home to over 40 RAP-type taxes and 8 public art programs.
  • Because we finished our 2015 strategic plan three years early, our staff spend 6 weeks and met with 75 members to gain feedback in our NEW strategic plan! Launched the plan in October. This includes renaming the 501c4 as Utah Cultural Alliance and the 501c3 as Utahns for Culture.
  • Continued to build our Cultural Asset Map and Events Calendar.
  • Worked with the legislature to add a statue of Dr. Martha Hughes Cannon to represent UT in DC's statuary hall.
  • Worked to lesson regulations impacting the cultural sector through bills at the legislature.
  • Added a number of cultural items to the list of state designations including the Spiral Jetty, Native American Rock Art, and the Utahraptor.
  • Hosted professional development trainings around the state.
  • Launched a mentorship program.
  • Impacted elections: Candidate recruitment. graded legislators, and surveyed 300+ municipal and general election candidates between 2017 and 2018 cycles
  • 100% of the state senate and 94% of the state house belong to our Cultural Caucus.
  • Newsletter 10,000; social media followers 6,000; website traffic 10K monthly
  • Became the new managers of nowplayingutah.com  
  • Executive Director became full-time!

2017 Accomplishments

  1. Our 501c4 surveyed 200+ municipal candidates and endorsed 55. We shared survey results with voters. Nearly all endorsed candidates won their election. Scott Phillips who is present was an endorsed candidate!
  2. Cultural Caucus chairs: Senators Lyle Hillyard & Jim Dabakis in the Senate and Representatives Becky Edwards & Patrice Arent in the House.
  3. Three board members in addition to staff attended National Arts Advocacy Day in DC and one attended National Humanities Advocacy Day in DC. Students from SUU and the U were also in attendance. Our petition to save NEA, NEH, and CPB reached over 3,500 signatures. We kept in direct contact with our federal representatives and worked with them to convince them to support federal funding for culture, as well as working closely with Senator Hatch’s office to mitigate the negative impacts of tax reform to the cultural sector.
  4. Our ED, Crystal Young-Otterstrom became more involved with cultural advocacy on the national level, and was invited to join the advisory council for SAAN (State Arts Action Network) at Americans for the Arts.
  5. Successfully lobbied for passage of HB 211, adding the Spiral Jetty as the State Work of Land Art; SB 171 adding Native America Rock Art as the State Works of Art; HB 188 which improved the onerous regulations placed around historic districts from the session prior; HCR4 recognizing 50 years of public television; HCR2 recognizing Utah’s participation and history in WWI; and HB137 which improves the regulations set around nonprofits several sessions ago
  6. Successfully lobbied for $4,782,000 in NEW money to arts & humanities projects. This $ amount includes $250,000 in ongoing funds for Utah Division of Arts & Museums’s grants budget. We think that’s the first increase to the grants budget in 12 years.
  7. Our 501c4 graded legislators on their voting record for the first time! Over half of the legislature scored an A or better. It is thrilling to see how many of Utah’s elected officials care about arts & humanities.
  8. When BYU Broadcasting announced that they were getting rid of Classical 89, UCA was there to fight back. Over 16,000 people signed our petition! Classical 89 was saved in 2018.
  9. When the State School board voted to cut the Middle School arts education credits, we were there to fight back. Our petition grew to over 5,000 signatures and thousands of our statewide grassroots advocates reached out to their school board representatives. We worked on a compromise with the school board that maintains arts ed as a requirement for all students. The compromise passed in 2018.
  10. Every year since 2009, we co-hosted Arts Day on the Hill with Utah Division of Arts & Museums and Art Works for Kids. The 2017 Arts Day had over 300 attendees and was our best organized advocacy day. We added a two-day training opportunity in 2016 and have continued it. We also hosted legislative forums before and after the session in partnership with our colleagues at the Utah Department of Heritage and Arts
  11. Hosted culture bytes professional development forums in Moab, Cedar City, Logan, Bountiful, SLC, Ogden, and Orem. We are proud to partner with Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts, and Parks on the professional development forums in Salt Lake City. The Moab forum was the first “Now Serving Utah” panel that we shared with Utah Division of Arts & Museums, Utah Humanities, and nowplayingutah.com
  12. Adopted the Arts Alive Collective Impact Project and conducted a listening tour around the state as part of our adoption of that project.
  13. Launched our Cultural Asset Map! This is a culmination of years of research and work.
  14. Authored our second State of Utah Culture report that details the economic impact of Utah’s cultural businesses. We are presenting it to BEDL at the start of the 2018 legislative session).
  15. Worked to foster regular meetings of the cultural community in various geographic areas. We attended Cache’s quarterly meetings twice and we now foster Davis County’s regular meetings. Davis County wants their meetings to be more than information sharing. They also want to set joint advocacy and awareness building goals. We think this is a model that we can replicate in more regions next year.

2016 Accomplishments

  1. We are celebrating our 35th anniversary this year. However, we discovered in our history that Crystal compiled from past board members and UCA staff that while we received our nonprofit status in 1981, we were actually incorporated in 1980, making us 36 this year. :S
  2. Yet another year of growing the membership and our revenues!
  3. Sold out luncheon, largest in modern history of UCA. 180 seats!
  4. 2016 Pillars of the Community, held at Zions Bank, was very successful. We honored: Michael Ballam, Founder of Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre // Cynthia Buckingham, Executive Director of Utah Humanities // Christy Williams, Program Director at KZMU in Moab and Founder of Moab ArtTrails
  5. We had another great year fighting for culture at the legislature and have also been working with a number of municipalities on local cultural initiatives such as more RAP-type taxes and 1% for public art programs.
  6. We sent Derek Dyer to National Arts Advocacy Day in D.C.
  7. We are ahead of schedule in implementing our 5 year strategic plan:
    1. We received our 501(c)4 that allows us to do even more with advocacy and policy making! We have also created a separate board to govern the 501(c)4.
    2. We have a funding plan in place for our 501(c)4 that will help grow UCA to a full-time organization (Crystal will talk about it more).
    3. We released a candidate survey that graded over 100 candidates on their friendliness of their campaigns towards culture.
    4. Culture Bytes went on the road to Cache (twice), Cedar City, and Moab. Moab and Cedar City were multi day trips with multiple events.
    5. Great turnout as well at all Salt Lake Culture Bytes, due in large part to our partnership with Salt Lake County’s Zoo, Arts, and Parks (ZAP). We also held three in the new Community Conversations format that were friendly to individual artists as well as those working for organizations.
    6. We released the first of our State of the State reports that assesses the economic contribution of Utah’s cultural businesses. This is a year ahead of schedule! We presented it to the Business, Economic Development, and Labor Appropriations Sub-committee at the legislature to great acclaim. 
    7. We are beginning the process to better collect statewide economic data from cultural businesses. 

2015 Accomplishments

  1. Yet another year of growing the membership and our revenues!
  2. Sold out luncheon
  3. Culture Bytes in Cache and Moab
  4. Great turnout at all Culture Bytes/Brown Bags, due in large part to our partnership with Salt Lake County’s Zoo, Arts, and Parks (ZAP). 
  5. New Pillars of the Community format (a networking oriented evening event), honored an organization for the first time and turned it into a small fundraiser for our organization.
  6. Increased advocacy successes thanks to our lobbyist Jayceen Walker and advocacy team: Ken Crossley, Brooke Horejsi, and Penelope Caywood. Stay tuned for our 2016 legislative priorities! 
  7. We sent Derek to National Arts Advocacy Day AND Ken to National Humanities Advocacy Day!
  8. We drafted a strategic plan, certainly our first in at least 10+ years and possibly our first in the history of the organization (since 1981!)