Representative Christine Watkins Reports on Special Legislative Session


In response to the COVID-19 pandemic that is sweeping the world, Utah legislators gathered this week for a special session to address various bills. The legislators met on Thursday and Friday electronically and will meet again next week.

“A lot of the stuff we did really deals with the COVID-19 issues,” Watkins said.

Legislators addressed the upcoming primary election and voted in favor of all primary voting being conducted by mail. There will be no open polls in the state for primary voting. At this time, no decision has been made about the structure for voting in November.

Senate Bill (SB) 3003 was also presented, which addressed unemployment benefits amendments. This bill authorizes the Department of Workforce Services to waive the one-week waiting period for unemployment benefits and provide an unemployed individual with a benefit for that week.

“So, some people may be getting some back unemployment pay,” Watkins said.

SB 3002, Emergency Health Care Access and Immunity, provides limited immunity for health care workers, including the use of certain treatments provided during a major public health emergency. It also amends the Utah Right to Try Act to permit the use of certain investigational drugs and devices during a major public health emergency and creates limited immunity for health care providers who provide an investigational drug or device to a patient during a major public health emergency.

HB 3007, COVID-19 Workers’ Compensation Amendments for First Responders, also addressed those working in health care industries. This bill allows those part-time first responders who would usually not qualify for workers’ compensation to become eligible for compensation if they contract COVID-19 on the job.

A Senate Joint Resolution approves the state of Utah to accept certain federal funds. HB 3001 also addressed funds in terms of state general obligation bonds. This bill allows the state to obtain bonds instead of using existing cash funds.

In addition, House Joint Resolution 302 extends the state of emergency for Utah to May 18. Originally set through May 1, the earthquake and aftershocks that have occurred throughout the state encouraged the extension to assess the damage and request FEMA funding.

House Bill (HB) 3003 was presented and addresses the deadline for filing state taxes. The state has followed the federal government’s lead and moved its tax filing deadline to July 15.

The legislators also passed a resolution of support for health care workers and all those serving on the front lines as essential workers during the pandemic.

scroll to top