Utah voters to decide on two constitutional amendments related to education funding in 2024

The Utah State Legislature referred three constitutional amendments to the ballot for Nov. 5, 2024, as of March 3.

Two of the amendments concern education funding. One of the measures would increase the annual distribution for public education from the State School Fund from 4% to 5%. The amendment was passed unanimously in both chambers of the legislature.

The other amendment would require taxes on intangible property and income to be used to maintain a public education funding framework, provided through state law, that (1) uses a portion of revenue growth for Uniform School Fund expenditures for changes in student enrollment and long-term inflation and (2) provides a budgetary stabilization account. The amendment would also allow tax revenue from intangible property and income to be used for other purposes once the requirements for public education funding are met. All 14 House Democrats and six Senate Democrats voted against the amendment. All but three Republican legislators voted in favor of the amendment.

An amendment concerning sheriff elections was also passed unanimously. It would amend the constitution to provide that every county must elect a sheriff to serve four-year terms. Utah state law currently mandates the election of county sheriffs, which means that this constitutional amendment would not alter the current procedures for selecting sheriffs. Utah has 29 counties and 29 elected county sheriffs.

From 2000 to 2022, the Utah State Legislature referred 40 constitutional amendments to the ballot. Voters approved 35 (87.5%) and rejected five (12.5%) of the referred amendments. All of the amendments were referred to the ballot for general elections during even-numbered election years. The average number of amendments appearing on the general election ballot was between three and four.