The following is a House of Representatives report written by Rep. Carl Albrecht, District 70.
We honored and mourned the many lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001. Volunteer and serve your neighbors, families and communities as a tribute to the lives lost and altered in the attacks, the selfless and brave first responders, and the courageous and devoted men and women who serve our country defending our freedoms.
A strong windstorm hit northern Utah last week, uprooting trees, damaging property and shutting off power. These storms gave a whole new meaning to 2020 frontline workers. We are thankful to the utility companies, public works, cities and counties, Utah Highway Patrol, the media, and other first responders who worked tirelessly to restore power, clean up debris, and keep the public informed and safe.
Utah Leads Together 5.0
On Thursday, state leaders announced a new phase of Utah Leads Together. Accountability is critical. The public not only deserves to be informed, but all Utahns also need to be involved in our effort. The Utah Leads Together Accountability Framework outlines the mission, the two major goals and the objectives we need to focus on in order to emerge victorious. As part of this, a dashboard has been developed to show the state’s progress in meeting and accomplishing goals related to COVID-19. For more information on the Utah Leads Together Accountability Framework and to view the dashboard, go to coronavirus.utah.gov/scoreboard.
Shop in Utah Program
On Sept. 14, at 9 a.m., GOED will open a new round of funding for the COVID-19 Impacted Businesses Grant Program, known as Shop In Utah.
The award calculation was amended, and businesses interested in the popular grant program may now qualify for up to $150,000 if they agree to give customers 50% of the total grant amount. Companies eligible for funding, including those that already received a Shop In Utah grant, need to submit a new application.
Applications will be accepted again on Sept. 14 at 9 a.m. (all times are MDT) on a first-come, first-served basis while funds are available. Companies interested in applying that have not participated in any previous GOED COVID-19 grant programs should set-up a GOED account now at https://utah.us19.list-manage.com/track/click?u=bba6a146af0b05baf49fa8719&id=b4f6c76bca&e=dbb4206012 to be ready to submit complete applications on Sept. 14.
GOED has already awarded $31 million in Shop In Utah grants, leaving around $24 million for round two. Also, you can view ~800 existing Shop In Utah offers at https://utah.us19.list-manage.com/track/click?u=bba6a146af0b05baf49fa8719&id=0dd04dedd0&e=dbb4206012.
Constitutional Amendments on November Ballot
Any change to the Utah Constitution must be approved by voters. In November, Utahns will vote on seven constitutional amendments. Below is a brief overview of each amendment.
Amendment A: Change words that apply to a single gender (i.e. men) to words that are not limited to a single gender (i.e. persons).
Amendment B: Specify that certain requirements that a person must meet to be eligible for the office of senator or representative in the Utah Legislature apply at the time the person is elected or appointed.
Amendment C: Remove the language that allows slavery and involuntary servitude as punishment for a crime and clarify that the ban does not affect otherwise lawful administration of the criminal justice system.
Amendment D: Rewrite a provision relating to municipal water rights, including allowing a municipality to define their boundaries of water service areas and to set the terms of water service for that area.
Amendment E: Preserve the individual right to hunt and fish, including the right to use traditional hunting and fishing methods subject to certain regulation and establish public hunting and fishing as the preferred way of managing and controlling wildlife.
Amendment F: Change when the Utah Legislature’s general session from the fourth Monday in January to a day in January designated by law passed by the Utah Legislature and excluding state holidays, that are not federal holidays, from counting toward the maximum number of days the Legislature may meet in an annual general session.
Amendment G: Expand the use of money the state receives from income taxes and intangible property taxes to include supporting children and supporting people with a disability.
State Parks – We’ve Loved Them to Death
Listen to this week’s Utah House of Representatives podcast for information on Utah’s state parks. This podcast is part two, so listen to last week’s podcast first!
Utah’s COVID-19 Case Counts from September 8 – September 11
Tuesday, September 8
* 55,359 positive cases, an increase of 326 from the previous day
* 695,347 total tests administered
* 115 current hospitalizations
* 424 total deaths, one more than the previous day
* 47,093 recovered cases
Wednesday, September 9
* 55,673 positive cases, an increase of 314 from the previous day
* 698,541 total tests administered
* 116 current hospitalizations
* 427 total deaths, three more than the previous day
* 47,548 recovered cases
Thursday, September 10
* 56,019 positive cases, an increase of 346 from the previous day
* 668,425 total tests administered
* 120 current hospitalizations
* 431 total deaths, four more than the previous day
* 48,024 recovered cases
Friday, September 11
* 56,675 positive cases, an increase of 656 from the previous day
* 707,807 total tests administered
* 123 current hospitalizations
* 433 total deaths, two more than the previous day
* 48,396 recovered cases
Utah’s seven-day rolling average for positive tests is 402 per day. The rolling seven-day average for percent of positive laboratory tests is 9.0%.
As a note, several testing locations in northern Utah were closed on Tuesday due to the wind storm. These closures may result in lower test numbers being reported over the next several days.
For more information, please visit https://coronavirus.utah.gov/. You can also call 1-800-456-7707 to receive help.
Governor Herbert will be moving Carbon County and Box Elder County to the Minimal Level of Restriction (Green). For more information, visit https://coronavirus.utah.gov/utahs-health-guidance-system/.
Below is the latest news release on Utah’s unemployment insurance claims from the Department of Workforce Services:
One item to note is that we added into the calculation continued claims for Extended Benefits since more people are beginning to need this benefit more regularly as they exhaust their traditional unemployment insurance. A few key points to highlight from Aug. 30 – Sept. 5.
* Traditional unemployment insurance new claims increased slightly by .3% from the previous week to 2,612 claims
* Pandemic Unemployment Assistance new claims increased by 2.4% from the previous week to 765 claims
* Extended Unemployment Claims decreased by 6.6% from the previous week to 1,159 claims
* Total new claims for all three programs ended the week at 4,536
* Combined weekly claims for all three programs was at 54,661
* Total combined numbers from March 15 to Sept. 5
* New claims: 295,219
* Benefits paid: $1,408,088,803
We also began to pay out the Lost Wage Assistance payments to eligible claimants for the weeks ending Aug. 1, 8 and 15. Eligible claimants will receive an additional $300 for each of these weeks. Utah has been approved for two more weeks and we are awaiting approval for the final sixth week. We anticipate knowing if we are approved within the next few days and then we will process the second round of payments for the final three weeks. For more information about Lost Wage Assistance, visit https://jobs.utah.gov/covid19/lostwagefaq.pdf.
The election is just around the corner. Your voice matters and your vote counts. Visit https://secure.utah.gov/voterreg/index.html for more information.
As always, feel free to contact me with questions or concerns. I’m honored to be able to serve you. Thank you.