Utah Lawmakers Gather For 6th Special Session Of 2020

Aug 20, 2020, 12:43 PM | Updated: 8:09 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Lawmakers gathered for their sixth special legislative session this year and approved changes to Utah’s November election, eliminated the income tax on certain CARES Act funding and allowed schools to forgo emergency drills during the pandemic.

Legislators had nearly two dozen items up for debate during Thursday’s session. Most had to do with the state’s response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, like allocating millions of dollars in federal relief funds and dealing with new situations caused by the pandemic.

For example, House Bill 6001, or the Uniform Electronic Wills Act, allows for wills to be electronically signed. H.B. 6004, titled School Emergency Drills Amendments, gives schools the option to provide fire evacuation instruction rather than perform fire drills that could cause crowded hallways. Both bills passed on Thursday.

Lawmakers unanimously made changes to the November election with S.B. 6007, which calls for some in-person voting along with Utah’s vote-by-mail system. It’s a change from the June primary that was a strictly mail-in election.

“In-person voting will be required but they will dictate the manner best for their county,” said the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Wayne Harper, R-Taylorsville. “It allows the county to determine the best method for in-person voting that works for them, which will be different from Salt Lake County versus Garfield County.”

Options could include outdoor voting, drive-through or walk-up voting locations. Another part of the bill dealt with adding penalties for ballot harvesting.

“That is going door-to-door or going into an institution or trying gather ballots and then mailing those in for somebody else,” said Senate President Stuart Adams, R-Layton. “We made clear that that is illegal.”

When it comes to the national debate over the security of mail-in voting, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle said Utah has the right system in place.

“We’ve had vote-by-mail for a long, long time,” said Sen. Karen Mayne, D-West Valley City. “It is successful.”

“It’s the model for what the country should have,” Harper said.

The legislature also unanimously passed S.B. 6005, titled Income Tax Amendments. The bill prohibits state income tax on Paycheck Protection Program forgivable loans and CARES Act funding.

“Eliminating income taxes on money individuals and businesses received from the CARES Act or PPP loans will help Utahns overcome current challenges and move forward on a path of recovery and success,” Rep. Robert Spendlove, R-Sandy, said in a prepared statement.

As with most events during the pandemic, it was not a typical scene inside the Utah State Capitol since the building is closed to the public. Lawmakers were able to attend the session online or in person.

House Speaker Brad Wilson said that a sixth special session was required because of the extraordinary circumstances but that having lawmakers meet so frequently should not become the norm.

“We must not allow COVID-19 and this pandemic to trigger a transition from a part-time legislative body to a full-time legislative body,” Wilson said. “It is simply not in the best interest of our state.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories


Hundreds of protesters marched in Provo for abortion rights....

Supreme Court’s abortion ruling sets off new court fights

Judges have temporarily blocked abortion bans in Louisiana and Utah, while a federal court in South Carolina said a law sharply restricting the procedure would take effect there immediately.
1 day ago
FILE: Utah State Representative Phil Lyman, R-Blanding talks with KSL about the restitution order a...
McKenzie Romero, Deseret News & Ladd Egan, KSL-TV

GOP lawmaker alleges fraud in Utah primary election. State says otherwise

A Utah GOP lawmaker posted election fraud claims in their primary election on social media, only for state officials to debunk the claims.
1 day ago
FILE: Rudy Giuliani (Photo by Joshua Roberts/Getty Images)...
KAREN MATTHEWS Associated Press

Heckler charged with assault after clapping Rudy Giuliani on the back

A heckler who clapped former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani on the back at a campaign event has been arrested on an assault charge.
1 day ago
Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during the American Freedom Tour at the Austin Convention...
ERIC TUCKER Associated Press

Lawyer who advised Trump says federal agents seized phone

A lawyer who aided former President Donald Trump’s efforts in the 2020 election says that federal agents have seized his cell phone.
1 day ago
(KSL TV)...
Michael Houck

Judge grants temporary restraining order blocking Utah’s abortion law

A Utah judge has granted Planned Parenthood's request for a temporary restraining order blocking Utah's abortion trigger law.
1 day ago
Abortion right protestors at the Utah State Capitol in support if the Planned Parenthood lawsuit. (...
Karah Brackin

An ‘uphill battle’ for Planned Parenthood lawsuit against Utah’s trigger law

A law export says Planned Parenthood faces an 'uphill battle' with its lawsuit against Utah's trigger law.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Utah Lawmakers Gather For 6th Special Session Of 2020