2019 Session Talking Points

Talking Points for 2019 Legislative Asks that Benefit the Arts & Humanities Sector

On this page is detailed information about:

  1. Appropriations (or financial) asks of the legislature on behalf of Utah's arts and humanities
  2. Policy being considered this session that impacts the cultural sector
  3. Which legislators to reach out to about which request.

We at Utah Cultural Alliance encourage you to reach out to your elected officials about these appropriations requests and bills that impact the cultural sector. Download a spreadsheet with contact info here; UCA members can access legislative intern contact info as well here (this is a members-only benefit and you must be logged in as member to get it).

Tip: Don't hit ALL of these in your letter or meeting. Choose 2 or 3 points that are most important to you.


Grants Increase: $6 million ongoing

  • Ask: $6 million in ongoing grant funding for cultural organizations, distributed through the Utah Division of Arts & Museums. These funds will be allocated directly to nonprofit and municipal cultural organizations statewide through a process that utilizes vetting by experts, improved clarity of taxpayer dollars, and stronger reporting.
  • Museum, humanities and arts are an intrinsic and vital part of Utah's quality and way of life. Utah is #1 in the entire country for live arts participation per capita.
  • Utah's cultural sector (nonprofit and for-profit) positively impacts Utah's economy: they employ 112,000 Utahns and contribute $4.6 billion in earnings.
  • Utah cultural employment has grown at 4.01 percent, one of the fastest growing cultural sectors in the nation.
  • Arts & humanities boost creativity, understanding, empathy, and kindness; businesses frequently cite creativity as a #1 valued skill in employees.
  • Children exposed to the arts & humanities see higher graduation rates, increased creativity, and better test scores.
  • Earnings from Utah’s cultural sector (nonprofit and for-profit) contributes approximately $175 million to the state’s income tax (b/c 5% flat tax rate)
  • Cultural organizations in Utah are constantly faced with the challenge of serving more people with flat or even decreasing funding levels.
  • Funds support general operations and projects the most difficult funding to acquire.
  • Current ROI to the state is 1,346% For every dollar invested in the sector $9 is returned.
  • Utah has been giving grants to cultural organizations since the 1970s. 
  • Since the grants program was created, the budget has remained largely static for over 30 years.
  • Current grants budget for Utah Division of Arts & Museums is $1.6million, about $600,000 of which comes from the NEA
  • While the funding levels have remained static, the number of organization asking for funding has grown to over 250 organizations. Indeed, there are 350 nonprofit cultural organizations in Utah.
  • The current grants budget for UA&M ($1.6 million) represents roughly 0.52% of cultural nonprofit budgets in the state ($250,000,000)
  • The current funding is 49 cents per capita
  • Adding $6million ongoing to the grants budget would bring the state’s investment in nonprofit cultural organizations to approximately 3% (bringing the ongoing total to $7.6 million)
  • Most states make a greater investment in their nonprofit cultural sector:
        • Maryland invests at an average of 10% of budgets
        • Minnesota invests at an average of 10%
        • South Carolina funds at approximately $1 per capita
        • Virginia invests at an average of 4%
  • To bring Utah’s investment similar to other states:
        • An investment to equal Virginia’s 4% would be $10million ongoing
        • An investment to equal Maryland and Minnesota would be $25million ongoing
  • How you can help: reach out in support of this request to members of Executive Appropriations (EAC) and Business, Economic Development, and Labor Appropriations (BEDL) sub-committee (see below).

Beverly Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program (BTSALP)

  • Ask: $1.5 million ongoing
  • The Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program (BTSALP) provides arts-integrated instruction to elementary students, effectively increasing student performance in every subject—from language arts and social studies to math and science.
  • The program is currently in 300 Utah elementary schools in 31 districts (including over 30 charter schools) and is serving approximately 202,800 students. 
  • 70% of the funds are provided by the state, the remainder comes from the schools.
  • The ask ($1.5 million) will allow this important program to serve more elementary children around the state
  • How you can help: reach out in support of this request to members of Executive Appropriations (EAC) and Public Education Appropriations (PEA) sub-committee (see below).

iSEE (Informal Science Education Enhancement)

  • ask: $282,900 ongoing increase
  • iSEE allows 9 orgs to support students and teachers statewide in STEM education.
  • Orgs: Clark Planetarium, Discovery Gateway, Hawkwatch, Hogle Zoo, The Leonardo, Living Planet Aquarium, Natural History Museum of Utah, Red Butte Garden, & Thanksgiving Point
  • A 10th organization, Ogden Nature Center, participates through the RFP.
  • 8 of the 9 groups are asking for a 6% increase in on-going funding for the purpose of expanding service, broadening reach and serving more students and teachers. Hogle Zoo is not part of the increase since they just moved out of the RFP last year.
  • How you can help: reach out in support of this request to members of Executive Appropriations (EAC) and Public Education Appropriations (PEA) sub-committee (see below).

POPS (Professional Outreach Program in Schools)

  • ASK: $500,000 ongoing
  • POPS is a consortium of 13 organizations that visit students in all school districts to introduce them to the arts.
  • Members: Ballet West, Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, Tanner Dance, Repertory Dance Theatre, Springville Museum of Art, Spy Hop, Timpanogos Storytelling, Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theatre, Utah Film Center, Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Utah Shakespeare Festival, Utah Symphony, & Utah Opera
  • $200,000 ongoing will allow the POPS groups to improve programming and better serve students.
  • $300,000 will open up the RFP to allow new organizations to participate, as well as allow special projects for some of the existing organizations.
  • How you can help: reach out in support of this request to members of Executive Appropriations (EAC) and Public Education Appropriations (PEA) sub-committee (see below).


5.5% Increase to the Weighted Pupil Unit (WPU)

  • The WPU is the fundamental funding unit of public education (including charter schools). It is a per child funding amount that moves with each child whenever they change schools
  • ASK: a 5.5% increase to the current WPU levels
  • UCA supports this ask because any increase to public education funding theoretically boosts arts and humanities education.


How you can help with policy requests: Eventually decision makers will be the entire legislature, however the first step will be passing them through committee. Stay tuned! In the meantime, please let Crystal at [email protected] know how these issues have impacted you or your organization. Especially helpful are any stories and screen shots of ticket resellers impersonating your website.

UCA SUPPORTS: HB128, Rep. Handy: "Consumer Ticket Protection Modifications." Click here to read it.

This bill requires that 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.

How you can help: reach out to a member of the House Business and Labor Committee and express support for this bill. 

If you'd like to send an email to members of the committee, here is a sample email (please personalize)

Dear Rep. (insert name):

I represent (insert name of organization and identify if you are a constituent or if your organization runs programs in their district). My nonprofit is impacted by ticket scalpers who have impersonated my website (insert links or screenshots of you have any). Our audiences have also had negative experiences when they purchase heavily marked up tickets to performances that aren't even sold out. (please insert other experiences in regards to this issue). I urge you to vote in favor of HB 128.

UCA IS NEUTRAL: SB69, Sen. Henderson: "Consumer Ticket Protection Amendments." Click here to read it.

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.

UCA commentary:

While SB 69 does prohibit primary ticket sellers from restricting more than 10% of their tickets, that definition of restriction is very specific. It ONLY restricts a from who have the technological ability to restrict tickets from ever being transferred to another person. All other forms of restriction (such as the measures taken around Hamilton) are not restricted i.e. restricting the number of tickets a patron can resell, only allowing a ticket to be transferred to a family member, waiting mechanisms, printing “not for resale” on the ticket, etc. are not restricted by SB 69.

UCA SUPPORTS: HB 224, Rep. Winder: 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 Deparment define quorum and how pass through appropriations are distributed.

UCA SUPPORTS SB81 Substitute 1, Sen. Iwamoto and Rep. Sagers: Native American 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. 

UCA SUPPORTS: SB 73 Sen. Henderson: Amendments to Martha Hughes Cannon Oversight Committee

Clarifies that the statue of Martha Hughes Cannon, along with funds donated for its creation, maintenance, and transportation, belong to the State of Utah

UCA SUPPORTS: SCR 02 Rep. Kwan & Rep Watkins: Concurrent Resolution Recognizing Navajo Code Talker

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.


UCA SUPPORTS: SB 101: Sen. Iwamoto: 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.

UCA SUPPORTS: SB 87 Sen. Escamilla: Procurement of Design Professionals Amendments

Adds interior designers as part of the definition for "design professionals" and adds interior design services to the definition of "design professional services" for which the state must follow standing procurement practices when hiring their services.


Reaching out to a decision maker:

Ultimately, all appropriations requests are made by the Executive Appropriations Committee who typically work off of the priorities set by the various sub-committees. Thus, the Business, Economic Development, and Labor Appropriations Sub-committee will decide whether or not to prioritize the increase to the grants budget. The Public Education Appropriations Sub-committee will decide whether or not to prioritize the three arts education increases. Finally, Infrastructure and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee will decided whether or not to prioritize the Collections Management Facility.

If you or your organization is represented by any of the following legislators or if your or a board members has a personal relationship, we ask you to write a letter, make a call, or request a meeting in support of our requests. Download a spreadsheet with contact info here; UCA members can access legislative intern contact info as well here (this is a members-only benefit and you must be logged in as member to get it).

Executive Appropriations Committee (reach out to these legislators about all appropriations asks)
Sen. Jerry W. Stevenson (R), Senate Chair
Rep. Bradley G. Last (R), House Chair
Sen. Don L. Ipson (R), Senate Vice Chair
Rep. Jefferson Moss (R), House Vice Chair
Sen. J. Stuart Adams (R)
Sen. Luz Escamilla (D)
Sen. Daniel Hemmert (R)
Sen. Jani Iwamoto (D)
Sen. Derek L. Kitchen (D)
Sen. Karen Mayne (D)
Sen. Ann Millner (R)
Sen. Evan J. Vickers (R)
Rep. Francis D. Gibson (R)
Rep. Brian S. King (D)
Rep. Karen Kwan (D)
Rep. Carol Spackman Moss (D)
Rep. Val L. Peterson (R)
Rep. Angela Romero (D)
Rep. Mike Schultz (R)
Rep. Brad R. Wilson (R)

Business, Economic Development, and Labor Appropriations Sub-committee (reach out to these legislators about the grants increase)
Sen. Scott D. Sandall (R), Senate Chair
Rep. Val K. Potter (R), House Chair
Rep. Christine F. Watkins (R), House Vice Chair
Sen. Curtis S. Bramble (R)
Sen. Gene Davis (D)
Sen. Don L. Ipson (R)
Sen. Ralph Okerlund (R)
Sen. Daniel W. Thatcher (R)
Sen. Evan J. Vickers (R)
Rep. Patrice M. Arent (D)
Rep. Timothy D. Hawkes (R)
Rep. Derrin R. Owens (R)
Rep. Val L. Peterson (R)
Rep. Tim Quinn (R)
Rep. Jeffrey D. Stenquist (R)
Rep. Elizabeth Weight (D)
Rep. Mike Winder (R)

Public Education Appropriations Sub-committee (reach out to these legislators about the education increases)
Sen. Lyle W. Hillyard (R), Senate Chair
Rep. Steve Eliason (R), House Chair
Rep. Steve Waldrip (R), House Vice Chair
Sen. Lincoln Fillmore (R)
Sen. Ann Millner (R)
Sen. Kathleen Riebe (D)
Sen. Jerry W. Stevenson (R)
Sen. Ronald Winterton (R)
Rep. Joel K. Briscoe (D)
Rep. Francis D. Gibson (R)
Rep. Craig Hall (R)
Rep. Dan N. Johnson (R)
Rep. Bradley G. Last (R)
Rep. Karianne Lisonbee (R)
Rep. Jefferson Moss (R)
Rep. Marie H. Poulson (D)
Rep. Susan Pulsipher (R)
Rep. V. Lowry Snow (R)
Rep. Robert M. Spendlove (R)

Infrastructure and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee (reach out to these legislators about the Collections Management Facility)
Sen. Kirk A. Cullimore (R), Senate Chair
Rep. Douglas V. Sagers (R), House Chair
Rep. Brady Brammer (R), House Vice Chair
Sen. Jacob L. Anderegg (R)
Sen. David G. Buxton (R)
Sen. Wayne A. Harper (R)
Sen. Deidre M. Henderson (R)
Sen. David P. Hinkins (R)
Sen. Karen Mayne (D)
Sen. Daniel McCay (R)
Rep. Walt Brooks (R)
Rep. Ken Ivory (R)
Rep. A. Cory Maloy (R)
Rep. Calvin R. Musselman (R)
Rep. Merrill F. Nelson (R)
Rep. Stephanie Pitcher (D)
Rep. Mike Schultz (R)
Rep. Lawanna Shurtliff (D)
Rep. Andrew Stoddard (D)

Find contact info at le.utah.gov or download our spreadsheet of contact info (you must be a current member and logged in to see this document). Again, click here for talking points and the Museums Day one sheet (you need to be logged in to see). 

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