Special Session Of Utah Legislature Set For Wednesday

May 17, 2021, 10:30 AM | Updated: 10:33 am

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Gov. Spencer Cox has called for state legislators to meet in a special session Wednesday to discuss 22 issues, including accepting and appropriating funds from the American Rescue Plan.

The Legislature will also discuss prohibiting face mask requirements in K-12 schools, amending provisions related to the sale of electronic cigarettes and extending the state of emergency for drought conditions.

However, lawmakers will not discuss critical race theory and Second Amendment sanctuary legislation during the special session.

The governor explained in a letter sent to legislators Monday that he felt those items should be discussed in next year’s general session.

“There are two issues that I felt would benefit from more time, thought, dialogue and input: Critical Race Theory, and the Second Amendment Sanctuary State,” Cox said. “While I’m sure someone might be able to point out differently, I can’t remember these types of hot-button issues ever being put on a special session call. It’s not that I disagree with the desire to act, but doing it the right way — and at the right time — will lead to better legislation.”

The governor cited the Utah Constitution, which says, “The general control and supervision of the public education system shall be vested in a State Board of Education.”

Cox said he has had “very productive conversations” with leaders of the Utah State Board of Education on critical race theory, and they have been working on the subject for several months.

“They have asked that we delay any action on this issue until the general session so they have an opportunity to fulfill their constitutional role and work with educators and parents to get it right. I believe they deserve that opportunity and will likely craft a better solution than we could in such a short time.”

Cox also said Second Amendment sanctuary legislation should wait for a future general session.

“On the second issue, Second Amendment Sanctuary State, I want to be clear that I believe Utah is and always has been a Constitutional sanctuary state,” Cox said. “Since Marbury v. Madison in 1803, when the federal government acts in ways that violate the Constitution, aggrieved parties have petitioned the courts to overturn those acts. I meet regularly with Attorney General (Sean) Reyes to discuss federal overreach and join lawsuits to hold the federal government accountable.

“Furthermore, my administration’s commitment to protecting the Second Amendment must never be in doubt. Passing and signing HB60 last session only serves to underscore that commitment. And while the concept of a sanctuary state is an intriguing one, I believe, for all the reasons mentioned above, it is best left to a general session.”

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Special Session Of Utah Legislature Set For Wednesday