Rep. Albrecht Addresses COVID-19, Unemployment

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By Representative Carl Albrecht, District 70

This week, President Adams and Speaker Wilson met with the Governor. In their conversations, the Governor said that he has no intention of moving back in the color coded system. As cases continue to spike throughout the sate, the Governor is committed to keeping the economy open. That being said – it is important that we do our part to slow the spread. As you may have seen, he intends to issue an order mandating masks at state facilities. In higher and public ed institutions, the State Capitol and other state facilities, employees and guests will be required to wear a mask.

He will very likely allow county health departments, in consultation with the elected officials, determine if they would like to issue orders for masks. 

COVID-19 Update

As of Thursday, June 25, the Utah Department of Health has reported 19,374 positive cases (an increase of 590 cases from the day prior), 1,290 hospitalizations (170 current hospitalizations) and 164 deaths (an increase of one from from the day prior). In all, Utah has administered 312,054 total tests. Additionally, it is estimated that 10,642 Utahns have recovered from COVID-19. Thank you and your families again for doing your part to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Unemployment

Below is the latest update on Utah’s unemployment insurance claims. A few things to highlight from last week (June 14-20):

  • Unemployment insurance claims increased 2.4% from the previous week to 4,961 claims
  • This week’s claim volume represents a 339% increase from the average weekly claims seen in 2019
  • More than $23.8 million paid in state benefits
  • More than $45.7 million paid in federal dollars from the CARES Act $600 weekly stimulus
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claims had an additional 1,629 individuals file and more than $16.2 million paid in federal dollars last week for PUA benefits
  • Total combined claims from March 15 to June 20
    • Traditional: 192,487 claims; $752 million benefits paid (67% federal funds)
    • PUA: 33,128 claims; $66.4 million benefits paid (100% federal funds)

We are still trending in a positive direction with more individuals ending their unemployment insurance weekly claims than new applications. We are also seeing more job openings with 24,177 jobs listed on jobs.utah.gov.

4th of July 

Happy 4th of July! With the holiday quickly approaching, please review information regarding fireworks here.

Voting

Don’t forget to vote! The deadline for primary ballots is June 30. We have critical races throughout the state and your voice matters. You can learn more at vote.utah.gov.

Special Session

During the recent special session, there were two notable bills I voted against, one being Peace Officer Amendments HB5007. I felt like this was a “knee-jerk” reaction to a problem we’ve never experienced in Utah and that POST (Police Officers Standards and Training) would make changes on their own. I want our local law enforcement to know that I support them 100%. There were only five legislators who opposed this bill. I also voted “No” on HJR504, which was a Joint Resolution extending the current State of Emergency due to COVID-19 through July 31. There were 24 legislators who voted no.

I try always to weigh the concerns of my constituents. There is a current economic and social divide in Utah separating rural and urban. This division also applies to COVID-19.

We did balance the budget with an overall increase of 1.7%. We held public education harmless. Some departments were cut from 2-10%. The prudent work of current and past legislators allowed us to use rainy day funds and working capital reserves to do this. We were much more prepared than most states to fill the holes and cut unnecessary expenses to arrive where we did.

As always, thank you for allowing me to represent you on the hill. Contact me with questions or concerns.

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