Utah governor calls lawmakers into special session

(Jeffrey D. Allred | Deseret News/pool) Gov. Gary R. Herbert adjusts his protective mask during a press conference with legislative, community, and business leaders to share an updated and expanded version of the Utah Leads Together Plan in Salt Lake City on Friday, April 17, 2020. The announcement included details about how and when Utah will stabilize and reactivate the economy, and help Utahns return to daily life.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert issued a proclamation Tuesday calling Utah lawmakers into special session later this week to address impacts related to the coronavirus — and to deal with two bills from the general session he’d vetoed.

Lawmakers are being asked to consider how to spend the federal funds they accepted last week and whether to extend the deadline for payment of the renewal fee for a bar establishment license, the governor said Tuesday.

They will also look at making some changes to a bill that would’ve rolled back a sales tax exemption for purchases of locomotive fuel and created a fund for constructing or renovating railroad crossings and another that would have expanded special-needs scholarships in Utah.

Herbert vetoed both of those earlier this year, and lawmakers were rumored to be considering a veto override session.

The Legislature was already planning to convene Thursday as part of a historic, all-virtual special session it called last week to respond to the global pandemic. So far, lawmakers have approved a slate of bills related to COVID-19 — including approving an almost entirely by-mail primary election, creating a commission to advise the governor on reopening the economy and passing right-to-try legislation that will give physicians greater protections when prescribing off-label or experimental medications during a public health emergency.

Still on their list of unfinished business once they reconvene is a measure that would require the governor to give lawmakers at least 48 hours notice before issuing an emergency proclamation in most cases and another that addresses local government response to the pandemic.