Utah Legislature commences work amid pandemic concerns and fears of unrest

The Utah Legislature kicked off its 45-day session on Tuesday.

While members of the public are currently not permitted inside the state capitol due to pandemic restrictions and fears of civil unrest, lawmakers in attendance donned face masks and members of the House of Representatives were divided by plexiglass. 

Opening ceremonies heralded the beginning of the session in both the House and the Senate, and speeches from legislative leaders set the tone for the six weeks of work ahead.

During his opening remarks, Utah House Speaker Brad Wilson, R-Salt Lake City, said that the new protocols are necessary in order to keep those in the capitol safe.

“Under these far less than ideal circumstances, we should all do our part to protect one another so we can continue to do the work of the people of Utah,” Wilson said.

Speaker Wilson also laid out several legislative priorities during his speech, including tax cuts, education funding, developing rural infrastructure and further managing the medical and economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“During this session, and in months in years to come,” he said, “let’s focus on education, housing and health in order to become a more inclusive state.”

Members of the public are encouraged to participate online at le.utah.gov. To comment during committee hearings, visit the calendar at the legislature’s website and click on active meetings. 

The 2021 Utah Legislative Session will end on March 5th.

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