SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Senate gave final passage to HB81 on Friday, which directs the Utah State Board of Education to reimagine how public school counselors serve students.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Susan Pulsipher, R-South Jordan, calls on the state board to study duties of school counselors and adopt rules that prohibit them from performing certain duties. It also requires that the board report back to lawmakers on its rulemaking during the Legislature’s interim session.
School counselors are called on to assist students and their schools in multiple ways, such as administering tests, changing students' schedules and helping them select classes as they work toward graduation and college, Pulsipher said in committee debate.
In Senate debate, Sen. Lincoln Fillmore, R-South Jordan, said counselors have unique training that should be used to help students with emotional issues. Some students report it can take up to weeks to see a counselor in their school.
It makes more sense that others school employees can perform the other tasks that end up on counselors’ plates, he said.
The bill passed the Senate on a vote of 27-0.