HEALTH

‘Serious constitutional questions:’ Democrats take issue with process that immediately ended mask mandates

Jan 25, 2022, 7:21 PM

Utah 2022 legislative session...

Aerial view of the Utah State Capitol. Federal disaster relief is on its way to Utah to help those impacted by flooding and wildfires. Photo: Ravell Call, Deseret News, KSL-TV Chopper 5

SALT LAKE CITY — Democrats in the Utah House of Representatives are questioning whether the legislative resolution that overturned mask mandates should have taken effect immediately.

Senate Joint Resolution 3, or SJR3, cleared the Senate last Tuesday and passed in the House on Friday with a vote of 45 to 29. It immediately terminated the countywide mask mandates in Salt Lake and Summit counties. And also, the K-12 mask requirement for students in Salt Lake City.

In a series of tweets, House Democrats said SJR 3 “raises serious constitutional questions.”

Mask mandate resolution

During the debate on Friday, Representative Jennifer Dailey-Provost, D-Salt Lake City, asked why the resolution would take effect immediately when the Utah Constitution requires a two-thirds vote to override the 60-day waiting period after the end of the legislative session for a law to take effect.

“I was hoping for clarification on that before the body goes to a vote,” Dailey-Provost said.

In response, House Speaker Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, said he already checked with legislative lawyers. And was told the 60-day period does not apply.

“That is related to legislation with effective dates, not resolutions like this,” Wilson said.

The tweets from House Democrats detailed how SB 195, which was passed in 2021, put in place the current process that allows the legislature to terminate local health orders immediately with a simple majority vote.

“Carve-outs from the constitution”

“Can the legislature pass a bill to give itself future carve-outs from the constitution?” asked one of the tweets from Utah House Democrats.

“While the House and Senate clearly made known their intentions on Salt Lake and Summit Counties’ mask orders, this move creates a concerning precedent. And we have doubts about whether SJR3 is effective immediately given these constitutional issues,” House Democrats’ concluding tweet said.

In response to Democrat’s tweets, Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, pointed out in a tweet that Rep. Dailey-Provost voted to approve SB 195.

A spokesperson for Senate Republican leadership told KSL that it’s a longstanding rule and practice that resolutions go into effect once they are signed by the Senate president and House speaker, which happened on Friday.

House Minority Leader Brian King, D-Salt Lake City, said that the legislature is in a gray area when it comes to SJR3.

“There is a good argument to be made on both sides: that the failure to get two-thirds in the House means that it isn’t in effect until another 60 days,” King said.

King said the argument on the other side is the resolution is an extension of last year’s SB 195. It did pass with a two-thirds majority.

“The problem that I have is that we’re in a gray area at a time when we should not be,” he said.

No further action planned over mask mandates

House Democrats said they don’t plan to take further action or initiate litigation about their complaint.

“But we do want people in the state of Utah to know that there is a legitimate question about the extent to which that revocation of the mask mandate took effect immediately,” King said.

“They could have proceeded without putting the integrity of the process at risk,” Dailey-Provost said.

Dailey-Provost said she would like to have a longer discussion about the process.

“The importance of calling it out is to make sure that in the future we do a better job of about examining and revering the process that is outlined in our constitution. So this doesn’t become a question again,” she said.

Read more:

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Health

(Canva)...

Michelle Lee

The hidden dangers of too much sugar

Let’s Get Moving Host Maria Shilaos spoke with Health Educator Troy Duell to learn about the hidden dangers of sugar.

10 hours ago

Chief of Police for Price City Police Department, Brandon Sicilie, holding PeeDee....

Britt Johnson

Abandoned puppy finds a home at the Price Police Department

PeeDee, a puppy found on the side of a roadway during a dispatch call, has found a new home with the Price City Police Department.

2 days ago

cdc sign shown, the agency updated its covid guidelines...

Brenda Goodman, CNN

CDC drops 5-day isolation guidance for COVID-19

The CDC says it’s updating its guidance for Covid-19 to bring it in line with its advice for other kinds of respiratory infections, including influenza and RSV.

2 days ago

baby feet, utah postpartum retreat helps new moms...

Britt Johnson

Utah company aims to help postpartum moms with special retreats

The founder of Utah Postpartum Retreat said she thinks new moms are at high risk for developing postpartum mood disorders because they lack support.

3 days ago

A nurse works in the laboratory room in El Nuevo San Juan Health Center at the Bronx borough in New...

Tammy Kikuchi

Skeptics have doubts about universal health care model for Utah

One of the biggest concerns is affordability, according to a recent presentation at the Kem C. Gardener Policy Institute.

5 days ago

FILE: Vietnam War veterans gather for a photograph following a ceremony to recognize and honor Viet...

Eric Cabrera

Veterans can soon sign up for the largest-ever expansion of VA health benefits

On March 5, vets who served in a combat zone, beginning with the Vietnam war, can directly enroll in VA healthcare.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

‘Serious constitutional questions:’ Democrats take issue with process that immediately ended mask mandates