LOCAL NEWS

State Lawmakers Preparing For Unique Special Session

Apr 14, 2020, 6:04 PM | Updated: 6:21 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – This week’s special session of the Utah State Legislature will be unlike any other in history because it will be held remotely to avoid spreading COVID-19, which has already infected one lawmaker.

The proceedings will start Thursday and will be streamed online and on TV.

What’s more, this will be the first time lawmakers have called themselves into session.

Special sessions typically last one day but this one could last as long as 10 days. Lawmakers have a lot on their plate.

The long agenda lists 21 issues up for discussion. Most are focused on economic and state budget problems created by the financial fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Other items included:

  • Authorizing the acceptance of federal stimulus funds
  • Preparing for the June primary election
  • Extending the state income tax deadline
  • Reducing the wait time for unemployment benefits
  • Waiving year-end testing for public schools

The proposed legislation will be posted online for Utahns to look over and submit feedback.

That has raised concerns. The Alliance for a Better Utah released a statement expressing unease that public comments submitted will not actually be made public.

“This is a violation of the spirit of transparency in government, and possibly a violation of Utah’s Open Meetings Act. Utahns deserve full insight on how these bills are being shaped and influenced — especially in the absence of committee hearings,” the statement read.

Senate and House leadership said it may be necessary for the Utah State Legislature to convene electronically multiple times this year as Utah adapts to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Coronavirus Resources

How Do I Prevent It?

The CDC has some simple recommendations, most of which are the same for preventing other respiratory illnesses or the flu:

  • Avoid close contact with people who may be sick
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

How To Get Help

If you’re worried you may have COVID-19, you can contact the Utah Coronavirus Information Line at 1-800-456-7707 to speak to trained healthcare professionals. You can also use telehealth services through your healthcare providers.

Additional Resources

If you see evidence of PRICE GOUGING, the Utah Attorney General’s Office wants you to report it. Common items in question include toilet paper, water, hand sanitizer, certain household cleaners, and even cold medicine and baby formula. Authorities are asking anyone who sees price gouging to report it to the Utah Division of Consumer Protection at 801-530-6601 or 800-721-7233. The division can also be reached by email at consumerprotection@utah.gov.

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State Lawmakers Preparing For Unique Special Session