I want to update you on what is going on in the Legislature and our State with regard to COVID-19.
Over the past two weeks we've had two virtual special sessions and have met multiple times via computer to act in response to the COIVD-19 pandemic. Here ar some of the efforts that are going on in our state:
Utah Leads Together 2.0
The governor’s coronavirus task force released an updated plan to mitigate the economic effects of COVID-19. The plan lays out steps and benchmarks to open up portions of our economy. Read the full plan HERE.
Utah’s Health Together App
The state launched a smartphone app to help with virus contact tracing. The app is voluntary and the information is owned solely by the user. Read more HERE.
Utah Legislature Continues Special Sessions to Address COVID-19 Pandemic
The Utah State Legislature met for the second straight week to appropriate federal coronavirus relief funds as well as expand immunity to business owners from coronavirus lawsuits, require the governor to notify legislative leaders of upcoming emergency declarations twenty-four hours in advance, and allow bars to delay paying license renewal fees. There were also non COVID-19 items that passed including adding the sales tax back to rail fuel and establishing a scholarship for students with disabilities for educational services. See all the bills from both special sessions over the last two weeks: https://le.utah.gov/~2020S3/LegislationSummaries_v5.pdf https://le.utah.gov/~2020S4/LegislationSummaries_v1.pdf
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Available
The Utah Department of Workforce Services announced that additional assistance is available for those who would not ordinarily qualify for unemployment benefits, such as self-employed or gig economy workers. More information about this program and other unemployment programs with links to apply are found here: https://jobs.utah.gov/covid19.
Utah Legislature Convenes Special Session to Address COVID-19 Pandemic
The Utah Legislature met to formally accept federal funds from the CARES Act as well as pass bills related to streamlining unemployment benefits, aligning tax dates with the federal government, making the upcoming primary election safer, extending workers compensation for first responders, providing immunity for healthcare workers operating outside of their licensure, expanding right-to-try of pharmaceuticals, and preparing our state’s economic response. A summary of bills with link to the full text is found here: https://le.utah.gov/~2020S3/LegislationSummaries_v5.pdf
CHIP Premiums Waived and Disenrollment Suspended
The Utah Department of Health announced that they are going to waive CHIP premiums and stop disenrollment, except for out of state moves. This move will help keep children covered during the COVID-19 crisis and matches a move made previously by the department to prevent Medicaid disenrollments. More CHIP and Medicaid information is available here: https://medicaid.utah.gov/covid-19/
School Buildings Will Stay Closed Through School Year
Governor Herbert and State Superintendent Syd Dickson announced that public schools will continue with remote learning through the end of the school year.
Increased Testing Capacity
This week the Utah Department of Health announced that testing capabilities for COVID-19 have increased dramatically since the beginning of the pandemic. They are urging anyone experiencing flu-like symptoms (which now includes fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, muscle aches and chills, or decreased sense of smell or taste) to be tested for COVID-19. More information about testing is here: