Utah special session to begin on Thursday with packed agenda

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert issued a proclamation today calling the Utah Legislature into a Special Session this Thursday at 9:30 a.m.

The governor set out 26 agenda items to be considered during the special session – an ambitious to-do list. As Bob Bernick, Contributing Editor of Utah Police, wrote: “Likely never in Utah history has a special session had so much to do — balance this and next year’s budgets; further fight the coronavirus, including various kinds of immunity for governments and their workers; deal with some Black Lives Matter policing issues; and more.


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This is will be the second Special Special in Utah since April. Back in April, lawmakers convened virtually to pass legislation authorizing a vote-by-mail primary election, created an economic reopening commission, and passed right-to-try legislation giving physicians greater protections when prescribing off-label or experimental medications during a public health emergency.

While adjusting state budgets will be top of mind for lawmakers this time around, agenda items also include “addressing certain methods of restraint by peace officers” and various COVID-19 related priorities.

As far as budgets, though, deep slashes to state spending are anticipated. Nevertheless, lawmakers appear to be taking steps to ensure education and social services aren’t first on the chopping block.

Senate President Stuart Adams confirmed last week that a plan from legislative leaders is in the works to hold education and social services as “harmless as possible” by tapping into the state’s $900 million rainy day fund.

According to Utah Policy’s reporting, other state budgets may be trimmed anywhere from 2 to 10 percent, depending on new revenue estimates and ongoing tax collections. A new revenue forecast for fiscal year 2020-2021 will be presented to the Executive Appropriations Committee on Wednesday, the day before the Special Session begins.

Lawmakers have the option of attending in person or attending virtually. The list of all 26 of Governor Herbert’s Special Session agenda items are available, here.

As the governor called this session rather than the Legislature, only items the governor approves can be considered by lawmakers.