ST. GEORGE — Utah lawmakers will meet in a particular legislative session to give attention to accepting and allocating greater than $1.5 billion in federal coronavirus reduction funding and different points, together with a prohibition on sure masks necessities in faculties and increasing the state of emergency for drought situations.
Absent from the particular session’s agenda might be payments associated to banning important race idea and declaring Utah a Second Amendment Sanctuary.
In a letter to state Senate and House leaders, Gov. Spencer Cox – whose workplace calls the particular periods and units the agenda – stated he felt these “hot button” points wanted “more time, thought, dialogue and input” earlier than being voted on.
Despite two of the extra probably controversial points being punted from the agenda, the Legislature will nonetheless contemplate a ban on sure face masks necessities for Okay-12 faculties, if not banning them altogether.
The governor has beforehand said that Utah gained’t mandate masks in faculties this fall.
Banning masks necessities might run in opposition to persevering with federal pointers for faculties set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that advocate their continued use.
The Legislature can also be anticipated to authorize the acceptance and allocation over $1.5 billion from the American Rescue Plan for persevering with pandemic relief-related efforts.
Additionally, the state of emergency for persevering with drought situations might be addressed and presumably prolonged.
Cox issued the original declaration in March and lately declared one other. The declaration permits communities, farms and amenities negatively impacted by the drought to use for federal catastrophe funding.
The authentic order additionally issued time-of-day outside water restrictions for state amenities. Additional declarations could impose different restrictions relying on the persevering with severity of the drought.
Other points to be addressed embody amending native constructing laws, industrial hemp laws, eligibility standards for cops, provisions associated to the sale of digital cigarette and nicotine merchandise, and a decision celebrating the historical past and cultures of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders whereas additionally condemning acts of anti-Asian hate.
Additional measures might be centered on updating or fixing errors made in payments that handed the overall session earlier this 12 months.
“Hot button” points saved for an additional day
On the Second Amendment Sanctuary situation, Cox wrote in his letter that, “I want to be clear that I believe Utah is and always has been a Constitutional sanctuary state.”
As an instance of his assist of gun rights, Cox pointed to his signing of Rep. Walt Brooks’ HB 60 legislation that lately handed and permits Utah residents to hold hid firearms with out a allow.
As for critical race theory, he wrote, “I am on record saying that CRT has no place in our curriculum.”
Cox has mentioned the matter with state Superintendent Sydnee Dickson and Utah School Board of Education chair Mark Huntsman, he wrote, they usually have requested the Legislature to delay any actions on the difficulty “so they have an opportunity to fulfill their constitutional role and work with educators and parents to get it right. I believe they deserve that opportunity and will likely craft a better solution than we could in such a short time.”
The Associated Press contributed to this text.
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