The bill that would have allowed high school students to transfer from school to school, even for athletic reasons, died on the floor of the Utah Senate this week.

Sponsored by Sen. Mark Madsen, R-Eagle Mountain, SB223 passed out of the Senate Standing Committee for Education last week. Then Tuesday, the bill was first circled, then substituted with stronger language that would ensure students didn't lose their athletic eligibility, even if they transferred for athletic reasons.

Then later Tuesday afternoon, the bill was defeated on the floor of the Senate with a vote of 6-21-2.

The transfer bill was the third of three measures sponsored by Madsen that concern high school sports. His first bill, SB36, which requires public school districts to allow charter or online students the opportunity to participate in extra-curricular activities in their home boundary school, or the school from which they withdrew to attend the charter or on-line school, is on the House's second reading calendar.

Another bill, SB37, would change the eligibility requirements for home school students to participate in athletics. Currently home-school students deal with their individual schools or districts and can be required to show a portfolio, take a test or have their parents sign a sworn affidavit saying they're academically eligible.

The bill would require all parents to sign an affidavit, regardless of what district they live in or what school their children are participating in athletics. Madsen said it makes the eligibility standard state-wide and uniform, while opponents say it sets up a different eligibility standard for a small group of student athletes.

SB37 went through the Senate and was assigned to the House Standing Committee for Education on Feb. 14. It was sent to the Rules Committee on Wednesday, where it will face prioritization to come out to the full House of Representative.


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