The Utah legislature has made it possible for the public to participate and provide comments during the upcoming legislative session, either in-person or remotely.
Significant efforts have been made to comply with state and local health recommendations to make this possible. The changes allow for in-person participation by both legislators and the public with proper physical distancing, mask-wearing and increased sanitization.
Lawmakers make better decisions with public input, which is why we made sure in-person andremote comment options would be available during the 2021 General Session,”said SenatePresident J. Stuart Adams. “Maintaining the legislative process during this pandemic by ensuringUtahns have options to provide feedback has been a top priority for the Legislature because inputfrom the public helps us create the best policies for all Utahns.”
Public participation and transparency are of paramount importance to lawmakers. At the onset ofthe pandemic, steps were quickly taken to ensure individuals continued to have the opportunityto provide feedback and comments during committee meetings and legislative proceedings.
“From the onset of COVID-19, legislators have done the things we’re best known for here in Utah — looking ahead and planning for the future,” said Speaker Brad Wilson. “Because of significant efforts made by legislators and staff to make modifications and upgrades, Utah is one of only a few states that is planning to safely conduct the important work of the general session with little to no interruption. In fact, some of the upgrades will have the added bonus of making public participation more easily accessible than ever before.”
Changes include the following:
- Masks are required and as much as possible, maintaining a six-foot distance from others. The only exceptions to masks are when an individual is addressing a legislative committee, addressing their respective legislative body from the floor or alone in their own office.
- Each chamber will have a “mask ambassador” who will be providing friendly reminders to mask up.
- Signs will be at each public entrance reiterating the mask requirement.
- Committee room capacity will be limited and electronic participation is encouraged. Each committee room will be disinfected after each meeting.
- Floor access and chamber access will be limited.
- Say goodbye to the familiar green and blue notes for legislators and hello to electronic communication, even from the Hill.
- Organized events including conferences, sponsored breaks and lunches and rotunda events are all canceled this year.
- Security will be enhanced, with the Utah Highway Patrol conducting bag checks at each of the public entrances.