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Gov. Cox signs bill exempting certain employees from workplace COVID-19 vaccine mandates

The Utah governor also approved a bail reform proposal and remaining redistricting maps.

(Trent Nelson | Tribune file photo) Gov. Spencer Cox speaks at his monthly news conference in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021.

Gov. Spencer Cox on Tuesday added his signature to the rest of the bills passed during last week’s special session, including one that will enable employees to opt-out of workplace COVID-19 vaccine mandates because of a “sincerely held personal belief.”

The legislation, SB2004, states that any business requiring employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19 must also let employees decline the shot for medical or religious reasons. The bill prevents private employers in Utah from taking action against workers who use one of those exemptions and requires them to pay for any mandated COVID-19 testing.

Cox has previously said he planned on signing all of the legislation from last week’s special session, which was held primarily to pass redistricting maps. While the governor had already given his final stamp of approval to the congressional district designs, he added his signature on Tuesday to maps for Senate, House and state school board boundaries.

Also signed into law was a proposal that will shift the state away from its cash-bail system for pretrial release and toward one that focuses on an assessment of a defendant’s risk. Another finalized bill will strip the Intermountain Power Agency of the exemptions it has enjoyed to state transparency laws.

Other measures signed into law will:

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