LOCAL NEWS

Legislature Acts On Pandemic Relief, Masks In Schools & Other Issues

May 19, 2021, 10:47 PM | Updated: May 20, 2021, 5:42 am
The Utah State Capitol (Photo: Derek Petersen, KSL TV)...
The Utah State Capitol (Photo: Derek Petersen, KSL TV)
(Photo: Derek Petersen, KSL TV)

SALT LAKE CITY, UtahCritical race theory grabbed most of the attention at Tuesday’s special session of the Utah Legislature, but lawmakers tackled other issues that included what to do with millions of dollars in federal pandemic relief funds, whether Utah should become a Second Amendment sanctuary state and masks in schools.

Lawmakers decided on how to spend more than $1.5 billion that Utah accepted from the American Rescue Plan. Here’s the breakdown:

  • $720 million will go to infrastructure and unemployment.
  • $115 million will go to the ongoing pandemic response.
  • $280 million will go to water infrastructure.
  • $80 million will go to education.

The legislature also passed a resolution to prohibit face mask requirements in schools. Masks could still be required to control an outbreak as long as the health department agrees.

It came after an emotional debate with some lawmakers questioning how an end to mask-wearing could impact unvaccinated students.

Those who supported it said it’s about the mental health of students while those against it said it takes control away from school districts.

Two additional resolutions passed in the House and Senate to explore whether Utah should become a Second Amendment “sanctuary state.”

Senate Majority Leaders Evan Vickers, R-Cedar City, said, “This simply sets up a process where we can be in place and have a policy in place where we can protect those (Second Amendment) rights.

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Legislature Acts On Pandemic Relief, Masks In Schools & Other Issues