Special Session June 23, 2020
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Last we had a successful special session where we covered a variety of topics and passed a total of 27 bills. You can read a highlight of each bill here. I passed a concurrent resolution, SCR502 which refunds excess Public Employee Health Insurance Program funds back to employees and to the state’s general fund (very simple bill). We also celebrated Juneteenth Day which commemorates the emancipation of the last remaining African American Slaves in the Confederacy. You can read the full citation we passed here.
Below are a few updates on COVID-19 and special session. Enjoy!
As of June 22, at 1:00 p.m. the Utah Department of Health reported 299,312 total tests administered, 17,906 total testing positive, 9,863 estimated recovered, 1,192 total hospitalization, 171 current hospitalizations, and 158 total fatalities. Additional information can be found here.
Local Updates for COVID-19
Uintah (26 overall positive cases)
Duchesne (10 overall positive cases)
Daggett (0 overall positive cases)
Ute Indian Tribe (0 overall positive cases)
Gov. Herbert approved nine rural counties' requests to transition from yellow (low) risk status to green (new normal health risk status), including Beaver, Daggett, Duchesne, Emery, Garfield, Millard, Piute, Uintah and Wayne. Read more here.
Budget and Education
Our June 2020 consensus revenue estimates project a deficit in the general and education funds in FY 2020-2021 of $93 million in one-time funding and $757 million in ongoing funding.
After countless meetings and learning from my constituents, we worked hard for a careful balance between meeting immediate needs and preparing for the future. A combination of targeted budget cuts and utilization of existing rainy-day funds put us in a position to pass a budget that will restart the state’s economy. And we did just that.
The budget bills we passed include a 2.2 percent overall increase for education funding. This includes a 1.8 percent increase to the weighted pupil unit, in addition to the $50 million in enrollment growth funded in the base budget. We also used $125 million from CARES Act funding to bolster online education and access. The pandemic has increased our needs for many of our social services and so we passed a 5.4 percent increase in overall social services funding.
Overall, we reduced the state budget by 1.7 percent by utilizing an estimated $680 million in rainy day and reserve funds. Between long-term and working rainy day funds, nearly a third of the state’s reserves are being utilized.
Professional golf is coming back to Utah this month with the Utah Championship presented by Zions Bank and hosted by the Utah Sports Commission. Tee off will be Thursday, June 25, at Oakridge Country Club in Farmington, Utah. More information here.
A new ‘Hamilton’ movie is coming to Disney+ this summer. Read more here.
Most Megaplex Theatre locations will begin to reopen on Thursday, June 18. Auditoriums will be limited to 50 people with row spacing and seating gaps between groups in addition to employee safety measures. More information here.
The Utah Leads Together 4.0 plan has been released to help the state move into full recovery. Read the plan here.