By Representative Carl Albrecht, District 70
This week, the Governor announced a change in how COVID-19 cases are handled throughout the state. The new system clarifies the public health standards used to determine which counties are placed on a low, moderate or high COVID-19 Transmission Index.
Speaker Wilson issued the following statement regarding the new Transmission Index: “As COVID-19 cases have risen sharply across our state, it has become evident that the color-coded system implemented during the first weeks of the pandemic was no longer meeting the needs of the ongoing response. The new Transmission Index is data-driven and sets statewide standards while empowering local elected and health officials to tailor restrictions to address local needs. Most importantly, this places responsibility for our state’s response with each of us individually. By showing where we are and what it will take for restrictions to be relaxed, we should all be eager to do our part as individuals, families, and businesses to drive our case rate as low as possible.”
You can learn more about the Transmission Index at coronavirus.utah.gov.
Lawmakers will be meeting for interim committees this week. Members of the public will be able to electronically attend the committee meetings, eliminating the need to submit a request in advance in order to attend and provide public comment.
A member of the public may now join the electronic meeting without providing any notice. They may indicate their participation during the public comment portion by simply clicking on the button to ‘raise your hand.’ Individuals may also watch committee meetings to see presentations live.
Legislative proceedings will continue to be live-streamed, recorded, and shared publicly on le.utah.gov.
Policy Priority – Workforce
In an effort to better align the needs of Utah’s workforce with Utah’s education system, lawmakers worked to combine Utah’s System of Higher Education and Utah’s System of Technical Colleges into one unified board. It allows students to earn certificates and degrees across postsecondary institutions with ease, benefitting both students and employers.
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn, the Utah Legislature, with the Utah Department of Workforce Services, allocated $1 million CARES Act grants to meet the needs of Utah’s workforce. Referred to as Talent Ready Utah grants, these funds were designed to create talent pipelines for high-demand, high-wage occupations.
This program aligns with the Legislature’s strategy of combining technical and higher education that is responsive to the needs of the state’s workforce. Grants were given with a focus on increasing the number of employers investing in providing high-quality, work-based learning opportunities and developing a pipeline of talent.
Ballots were mailed out last week. To see all the candidates that are running and see Utah’s Official Voter Information Pamphlet, visit elections.utah.gov. Be sure to vote early. Many areas of Utah have been voting by mail for over two decades. It is simple, easy and safe.
Utah’s seven-day rolling average for positive tests is 1,224 per day. The rolling seven-day average for percent of positive laboratory tests is 13.8%.
We’ve seen new claims plateau over the last month. Though this has allowed some stabilization in the workload, it is nearly four times more than what we experienced last year at this time. Weekly claims continue to drop, which is a positive sign of people leaving unemployment for new employment opportunities.
Judges on the Ballot
Across Utah, 59 judges will be on the ballot this November. Though sometimes overlooked, the question of whether or not to retain a judge is an important one. The Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission (JPEC) helps citizens cast informed votes by providing valid information about the judges appearing on their ballots. Please visit judges.utah.gov to learn more.
As always, thank you for the opportunity to serve. Contact me at (435) 979-6578 or firstname.lastname@example.org with concerns or questions.