GOVERNMENT

Another special session called by Governor Herbert

Apr 22, 2020, 7:16 PM
COVID-19 average...
(Photo Credit: Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)
(Photo Credit: Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Governor Gary Herbert is calling state lawmakers into another special session, however, the one called last week hasn’t adjourned yet.

Lets talk funding

Lawmakers say they need more time for appropriating federal funds.

They also needed the Governor specifically to call the next session, to avoid financial limitations.

Governor Herbert has the new session set for Thursday afternoon, meaning it’ll start just after lawmakers conclude their own session.

Senate Budget Chairman Jerry Stevenson tells the Deseret News the appropriations bill they’ll be working on will help balance the budget.

“The emphasis of it is to (address) the budget imbalance and take into account all of that federal money that we got,” he explains.

The Legislature is now facing a deficit when the budget year ends June 30.

It is due to their decision to move the income tax returns deadline from April to July amid the pandemic.

What’s (not) on the special session agenda?

Most notably, House Bill 3009 will not be taken up Thursday, according to the bill’s Senate sponsor.

That piece of legislation is seeking to give elected officials, not local health department leaders, the power to issue emergency orders.

Sen. Jake Anderegg, R-Lehi, says the bill is “on pause” after a wave of opposition. He says a general misunderstanding of the bill is to blame for the rapid spread of negativity on social media pages.

“There has been fervor and outcry that we’re going to be like China,” he explains.

Anderegg claims to be receiving hundreds of emails from people about the legislation. He says most people incorrectly believe the bill seeks to grant government more power to issue emergency orders. Rather, he says the intent is to bring “checks and balances” between local leaders’ power already available under current state code.

According to him, lawmakers will likely wait to consider the bill in another special session, perhaps in May.

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Another special session called by Governor Herbert