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Special Session Recap - August 24, 2020

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

With school starting, I understand we are all facing challenges, but I believe this is an opportunity for us to improve education for our youth and future generations. I am excited to see our district’s innovation as we face the unknown.

On Thursday, we concluded the sixth special session. During the special session, we dealt with issues related to COVID-19 and budget related matters. Here are some significant bills that we covered during the session:

H.B. 6004, School Emergency Drill Amendments – Amends laws requiring emergency drills at the beginning of the school year to help prevent the congregating and crowding conducive to the spreading of COVID-19.

H.B. 6002, Supplemental Budget Balancing and Coronavirus Relief Appropriations – This bill continues to address budget issues resulting from the pandemic. It also appropriates federal and state funds to respond to the pandemic.

H.B. 6012, Public Education Funding and Enrollment Amendments – Public education students are changing schools more frequently and in higher numbers than usual because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This bill makes various changes and also reestablishes a salary supplement program that gives a $1,000-2,000 salary increase to teachers that are certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

S.B. 6009, Cares Act and COVID-19 Assistance and Recovery Amendments – The bill amends seven economic assistance programs the state created earlier this year to extend assistance to targeted individuals and industries more efficiently and effectively. The adjustments are in response to observations of the strengths, weaknesses, and popularity of certain programs.

S.B. 6008, Tobacco Retailer Amendments – H.B. 23, passed during the 2020 General Session, prohibits a vape shop from being located within 1,000 feet of a school. Expected lawsuits would challenge the constitutionality of that requirement because it takes private property without compensation. In response, the bill extends until July 2021 when a vape shop has to comply with the provision

You can read the full summary of the special session here.

Just know I receive your calls, texts and emails. Your feedback, input and concerns help me better serve our district. Here are some state updates:

  • The number of total new claims filed for unemployment benefits in Utah was 5,321 for the week of August 9-15, with over $25 million of benefits paid. Read the full report here.

  • The Utah State Board of Education approved a recommendation from the State Charter School Board to increase the enrollment cap for two online charter schools. Read more here.

  • The Department of Workforce Services will host a virtual job fair on August 27. Learn more here.

  • This week, the Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration announced that it awarded the state of Utah a $4 million grant for the expansion of Utah Veterans Cemetery Bluffdale. More information here.

  • V School is sponsoring full-ride scholarships to its online web development program for veterans. Read more here.

Kind Regards,

Senator Ron Winterton

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