The Utah Legislature will resume in person public participation beginning Monday, January 25th.
For the first week of the 45 day session, the state capitol was closed to members of the public. All committee hearings and floor debate had to be watched online. To reopen to the public, COVID-19 safety procedures will be in place throughout the Capitol complex. Wearing a mask and physical distancing will be required by all those who plan to visit the Capitol. Due to COVID-19 protocols, space will be limited in committee rooms. Because of this, a virtual option will continue to be made available and state officials are encouraging it.
In a statement, Senate President Stuart Adams said, quote, “the health and safety of all Utahns remain our number one priority as we accommodate in-person attendance at the Capitol. Public input is essential in maintaining the legislative process and steps were quickly taken to ensure in-person public participation.” He hopes that Utahns will continue to provide their feedback virtually or in-person.
Utah Highway Patrol (UHP) will be stationed at each of the four public entrances at the Capitol to conduct bag checks. UHP will also have an active presence and provide security for each committee meeting to protect the public, staff and elected officials.
House Speaker Brad Wilson said while they initially allowed for virtual public participation, they look forward to the public rejoining lawmakers in person. He said they will continue to adapt to whatever is thrown their way. The health and safety of our lawmakers, staff, and the public, he said will continue to be the top priority.”
Lawmakers and their staff are required to take rapid Covid tests twice a week hoping that will protect them from outbreaks. However, to respect the privacy of staff and legislators, the state won’t be releasing the numbers of positive COVID-19 tests, or give out specific names. Individuals who need to be informed to prevent the spread of the virus will be notified.
The public can access all committee meetings and legislative floor debates on the legislative website.
You can view information how to participate virtually here.
Free rapid testing is available at the Utah State Fairgrounds for those interested in attending in person. Testing is recommended, but not required. If you are showing any symptoms of COVID-19, please participate from home. More information on rapid testing can be found here.
The Utah legislature will meet through Friday March 5th.