LOGAN – Thursday begins a special session of the Utah legislature that is unique in two ways. It is focused entirely on a state response to a pandemic – COVID 19. It will also be the first ever virtual special session. The coronavirus has put the country in what looks to be a great recession. The only question, at this point, is how deep and how long will it be. The groundwork needs to be laid for economic recovery once the virus has subsided to the proper degree.
That will require a legislative response. The virtual session has been tested over the last couple of days and you’ll have an opportunity to watch several different ways. One way is through the legislative website le.utah.gov. On KVNU’s For the People program on Wednesday, Representative Dan Johnson, R-District 4, said a wide variety of topics will be addressed.
“I actually think, now, it’s all the way from having to do some bills to accept the stimulus money. All the way to actually curtailing things, like education, for example. Not having testing for our students and then just figuring out how to negotiate getting kids as educated as we can get them to the end of the school year,” said Johnson.
On the same program was State Senator Lyle Hillyard, R-District 25, who told us the layout of the sessions.
“We cannot meet – the house and the senate – at the same time, the electronics just don’t work out. So, the House will meet at 9 o’clock until noon. It’s planned for the Senate to meet from 2 o’clock to 5. The House will pass their House bills, … about half of them will be House bills,” said Hillyard.
“They’ll send them over to the Senate, so when we convene at 2, we’ll have the House bills to discuss and pass, and then the Senate bills to pass. And then the question is, when the House come back – hopefully Friday – hopefully everything is pretty well agreed to because we’ve been working very, very hard.”
He said they’ve been working hard to keep off the agenda items that are very controversial, instead focusing on the must-do, no-brainer type things to get done.