Utah State Capitol

First Special Session Planned to Address COVID-19

davidwicaiBlog, COVID19, Legislature

Barely a month removed from the end of the general session, Utah legislators will reconvene on Thursday, April 16, for an historic special session.

For the first time ever, legislators will meet virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic. During their session, they will consider bills needed to respond to that pandemic.

Chief among those are multiple bills to address funding — but so far, none of the bills make cuts to the budget approved during the general session. The primary appropriations bill, Senate Bill 3001, temporarily shifts money that hasn’t been used yet this year but will restore the funding when the new fiscal year begins.

Other budget bills authorize the acceptance the federal stimulus money and allow for expanded bonding. There are also bills that shift the primary elections in June to vote-by-mail and authorize the tax commission to change filing and payment deadlines.

While cuts aren’t being made during this session, legislative leaders are cautioning that things will “get choppy” and additional special sessions will be needed. To make that message clear, a resolution will be considered urging state agencies and local governments to prepare for the downturn by reducing spending now.