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Utah Legislature to convene a special session to address issues regarding COVID-19.
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Utah State Legislature to convene a special session to address issues regarding COVID-19

Utah State Capitol on the last day of the 2019 Legislature. (Colby Walker | KSL NewsRadio)

SALT LAKE CITY —  Governor Gary Herbert, President J Stuart Adams, and Speaker Brad Wilson have exercised emergency powers granted by the Utah Legislature to convene a special session addressing issues regarding COVID-19.

In light of the impact COVID-19 is having on all education, the healthcare system, the economy, Utah’s business community, individuals and families all over the state, the Legislature will convene on April 16 for its first-ever virtual session to reexamine the state budget and address other issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Issues to be addressed during the special session will include formally accepting federal emergency funding, extending the deadline for sales tax submissions to July 15, 2020, ensuring access to medication and preparing for the June primary election.

In order to address critical issues, this session may last up to 10 days which is the maximum time allowed by the state constitution.

“We are working together to achieve the most favorable outcomes in our state’s fight against the virus, protecting Utah’s families as well as Utah’s businesses,” Senate President J. Stuart Adams stated. “Utah is nationally recognized as one of the states best-prepared to handle unexpected situations. As a state, we don’t just sit back and wait. We always look for options on how to conquer problems. Our private and public sectors have joined forces to win this battle together. As we navigate these unprecedented times, we are committed to finding innovative solutions to do what is in the best interest of all Utahns. Together, we will get through this.”

Between now and the next January’s general session, the Legislature may have to convene multiple times remotely. Decisions in regards to additional special sessions will be made closely in collaboration with the executive branch in consultation with health experts who are keeping a close eye on the COVID-19 outbreak trajectory.

“We are navigating uncharted territory as a state and as a nation,” said Speaker Brad Wilson. “The good news is that, thanks to our sound fiscal practices and long-term commitment to rainy day savings, Utah is better equipped to handle a crisis of this magnitude than almost any other state. We are also witnessing remarkable leadership and collaboration between public and private sector organizations dedicated to seeing us through this challenge as quickly and safely as possible.”

The proposed legislation will be made available publicly in advance and Utahns are encouraged to submit feedback and inquiries directly to through the Senate and House websites.

 

How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus 

 

COVID-19 coronavirus is transmitted from person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading: 

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.  
  • Don’t touch your face. 
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet) 
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.) 
  • Get a flu shot. 

Resources for more information: 

 

LOCAL: 

State of Utah:  https://coronavirus.utah.gov/ 

Utah State Board of Education 

Utah Hospital Association 

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707 

National Links 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization 

Cases in the United States