Gov. Cox signs full-day kindergarten and school safety bills

“This is the most important bill signing that we’re doing,” said Utah Gov. Spencer Cox at a ceremonial bill signing at Daniels Canyon Elementary School.

He and Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson signed several bills Wednesday.

Among them was HB 477 Full-day Kindergarten Amendments, sponsored by Rep. Robert Spendlove of Sandy.

“It essentially makes all-day kindergarten available to every student in the state. It provides full funding for all-day kindergarten throughout our state,” Spendlove said.

Cox said it’s taken 20 years for the bill to finally come together, adding that it will make a major difference for Utah’s students.

“The teachers can tell a significant difference between the students who didn’t have it and who did have it,” he said.

Cox also signed HB 61 School Safety Requirements, sponsored by Rep. Ryan Wilcox from Ogden.

Wilcox said the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas in 2022 prompted the legislature to reevaluate the safety of Utah’s schools. He said the shooting of hoaxes across Utah from earlier this year also underscored the importance of this legislation, which will create a School Security Task Force to develop and evaluate critical response training and protocols.

“We’re going to be able to implement the things we’ve learned. The good, the bad, everything, in a real-time, very real-life scenario,” Wilcox said.

Other bills Cox highlighted include one allowing students to wear cultural attire during graduation ceremonies, and another which makes amendments to teacher compensation.

As Utah’s population continues to grow, the state will have to continue to reevaluate its education programs.