In response to the global pandemic, Utah lawmakers started a special legislative session on Thursday morning. The session marked the first time lawmakers called themselves into a session since the state’s constitution was amended in 2018 to give them the power to do so and the first time they held a session via video conferencing.
During floor time for the Utah House of Representative on Thursday morning, lawmakers voted on multiple issues, including changes to voting protocol for the upcoming primary election and requiring the governor to consult with legislative leadership at least 48 hours before making an executive order, unless there was an imminent threat to life.
There are more bills that will be considered during the session and Speaker Brad Wilson said this includes one to establish a committee of legislative and gubernatorial appointees that will determine how and when to begin reopening parts of the economy.
“We'll basically say, ‘if we're at the highest level of protecting the health and kind of the most intense measures which we're in right now, what would be the next, lower steps that we can take to help maybe start loosening up a few areas of our economy and getting the economy moving again?’” Wilson said,
He said this committee will begin meeting next week and will use data to make policy recommendations to the governor of what could be done to re-open the economy.
“We'll also be looking at the right industries, we'll also be looking at geography,” Wilson said.
“There might be certain geographies across the state or regional areas as well as industries that would open up in a different pattern than other places or industries across the state.
Wilson said this could mean rural and urban areas opening at different times, but it could also mean looking at industry specific openings, or monitoring hotspots within communities.
The Utah Senate began their floor time around 3 p.m. on Thursday and the Utah House will begin floor time again on Friday morning.