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Cache County Lawmakers Say S.B. 195 Helped Set End Date For State Mask Mandate

S.B. 195 was one of the measures state legislators took during the legislative session to limit the power of the governor during a drawn out emergency like a pandemic. In a town hall on Thursday, some Cache Valley lawmakers shared how they believe this impacted the end date set for the state’s mask mandate.

“So I know there was some misreading of the bill, thinking that we were actually giving more powers. But in reality, this was just trying to bring that decision making back to a legislative body of elected officials,” said Rep. Chris Wilson.

He said he received many emails and texts from constituents who were worried S.B. 195 would give the governor more power in an emergency situation. Wilson said this is not the case and that the bill should help more people be in the decision making process.


Although the bill did not go as far as Rep. Mike Peterson would have liked it to, he said it is a step in the right direction.


“And the fourth substitute, which I actually voted in favor of, said that the state couldn't mandate healthy people to wear a mask, it couldn't mandate healthy people to be quarantined. It didn't pass. And so we were so we were stuck with an earlier version. An earlier version that I think a lot of folks felt like it didn't go as far as they'd hoped,” said Peterson.


According to Sen. Scott Sandall, the bill is one reason the state’s mask mandate ends in less than a month. 


“The governor didn't want that. But the legislature had enough for a veto override. I know that we would have taken masks away quicker than that. I know we would have. So the governor got in and started negotiating and started to look at some numbers and the legislature negotiated with the governor on the April 10 date,” said Sandall. 


He said the school mask mandate isn’t supposed to be removed until July 21. He believes it will continue to be discussed and won’t be changed unless there is a special session, which may happen due to the COVID-19 relief package released by the Biden administration. 

Sandall said he’d vote to remove school mask mandates now if he could.