2021 Utah legislative session prioritizing participation, top issues during pandemic

Jan 19, 2021, 9:05 AM | Updated: 11:42 am
Utah legislative session domestic violence legislation...
(Utah State Capitol Complex. Credit: Paul Nelson, file)
(Utah State Capitol Complex. Credit: Paul Nelson, file)

SALT LAKE CITY– The Utah 2021 general legislative session begins Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, with some big priorities, and big differences amid the pandemic.

The state capitol remains closed to the public for health and safety reasons. The session will be fully online for now.

Listen to KSL NewsRadio live on the first day of the legislative session here

But Senate President Stuart Adams says they have made new ways people can participate remotely. In the past, committee hearings had audio streams, but people had to be there in-person to testify or give public comment. This year, those committee meetings will be streamed on video, and people can testify remotely on video.

“Almost as if they were there in person,” said Adams.

Adams noted it will keep people from gathering during the pandemic, but it also allows more people to participate without having to drive long distances or arrange babysitting.

“This is the year to have public input and hear the voice of the people. There’s never been an easier time to be able to join in the public process in committees,” said Adams.

“It’s going to be different, but there’s going to be plenty of ways, in fact there will be new ways and more ways for people to engage,” said House Speaker Brad Wilson.

The Senate and House Floor time will continue to be streamed over video like in the past on

Tackling COVID-19 challenges and the budget during the Utah legislative session

Adams said lawmakers will be tested for COVID-19 twice a week. They will also have face masks and physical distancing.

The pandemic and COVID-19 response is a top issue for lawmakers. Governor Cox’s budget would take a chunk of money to help with COVID-19 testing and the vaccine rollout.

“One of the things that has been most concerning to me has been mental health. We’ve seen the challenges, the anxiety, both economically and with people’s health,” said Adams.

Education funding already got a boost of $400 million to the base budget.

“By already funding growth, inflation, student enrollment, as well as a significant increase in the WPU, and a large bonus for teachers across the state,” said Wilson.

Balancing power, affordable housing, homelessness and infrastructure needs are other big priorities.

Adams explained a lot of people have moved here for the open space and because of how Utah has handled the pandemic.

“We’re going to have to work on infrastructure, and continue to work on infrastructure. Water, roads, double-tracking Frontrunner, trying to deal with the issues that growth brings,” he said.

Lawmakers have already made it known they will talk about a tax cut, too. They set aside $80 million last year for a tax cut but held on to it because of pandemic economic worries. However, legislative leaders state Utahns need that money now.

“The end of the day, it’s putting that dividend back into the pockets of Utahns so they can determine how to spend that money,” said Wilson.

Utah Democrats focus on helping lower-income residents and police reform 

But House minority leader Brian King says Democrats want to make sure tax breaks are targeted to help lower income communities and those heavily impacted by COVID-19. 

“I don’t want to cut taxes just to say we are cutting taxes, I want to cut taxes in a way that most effectively addresses the needs of the state right now,” said King.

King also wants to focus on police reform.

“There will also be some significant legislation discussion and policy discussion surrounding guns,” said King, including his repeated attempts for universal background checks.


Today’s Top Stories

All News

Trucks are lined up for sale at Low Book Sales in Lindon on Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022. Most new vehicl...
Heather Kelly

Automatic emergency braking should only be used as a last resort

AAA of Utah says automatic emergency braking systems have limitations and should only be used as a last resort to prevent a crash.
23 hours ago
Ballpark Station closes Thursday night due to a debris on the tracks. Photo credit: Salt Lake City ...
Devin Oldroyd

Utah Transit Authority closes Ballpark Station due to debris on tracks

Ballpark Station closes Thursday night due to a debris on the tracks.
23 hours ago
Utah airbnb rentals rising interest rates affecting millennial home buyers...
Mark Jones

Eviction filings on the rise in Utah, compared to this time last year

The Rental Housing Association of Utah says eviction filings in Utah saw a 46% increase in the first six months of this year as compared to the same time in 2021.
23 hours ago
(Getty Images)...
Mark Jones

21-year-old man sentenced for multiple sex crimes

A 21-year-old man was sentenced Wednesday for four sex crimes he pled guilty to in August.
23 hours ago
university of utah...
Mark Jones

University of Utah Health among the nation’s top 10 for 13th year in row

The 2022 Vizient Bernard A. Birnbaum, MD, Quality Leadership Award has ranked University of Utah Health in the top 10 for the 13th straight year.
23 hours ago
utah employment...
Alejandro Lucero

Annual Golden Key Awards presented to local businesses

Golden Key Awards recognize the people and businesses who believe in Utahns with disabilities, said a press release. Nine businesses were recognized today.
23 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
large group of friends tohether in a park having fun...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

What differentiates BYU’s MBA program from other MBA programs

Commitment to service is at the heart of BYU’s MBA program, which makes it stand out among other MBA programs across the country.
a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
2021 Utah legislative session prioritizing participation, top issues during pandemic