facebook-pixel

Utah’s Senate president says he ‘dealt with’ concerns about COVID-19 during session, wants to focus on other issues

Senate staff declined to answer a list of questions The Salt Lake Tribune submitted about health and safety protocols at the Capitol.

(Francisco Kjolseth | Tribune file photo) Senate President Stuart Adams, R-Layton, drops the gavel for the start of the 2022 legislative session in the Senate chamber at the Utah Capitol in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022.

Utah Senate President Stuart Adams on Wednesday said he’d rather focus on cutting taxes than continue to talk about COVID-19 precautions in the state Capitol.

He made the comment during his daily media availability in response to a question about Sen. Derek Kitchen’s recent concerns over health safety in the Legislature.

“Those are obviously issues that we dealt with last week, and I know that they’re hopefully issues that we’ve dealt with in the past,” Adams, R-Layton, said to a group of reporters. “I think we have other issues that I’d like to focus on and some of those are tax cuts and some of the things we’ve talked about today.”

During a press conference last week, Kitchen, D-Salt Lake City, had accused COVID-positive Republican lawmakers of ignoring isolation and masking guidance.

“Here we are three days into the 2022 legislative session and, frankly, we’re not off to a great start,” Kitchen said. “We’re seeing legislators show up testing positive for COVID-19 and refusing to wear masks to keep the rest of us safe.”

Senate staff declined to answer a list of questions The Salt Lake Tribune submitted about health and safety protocols at the Capitol, referring simply to Adams’ comment that he wanted to move on to other priorities.

The legislative session began last week, just after Adams had finished a five-day quarantine for COVID-19. On opening day, the Senate president publicly stated that he’d just tested negative for the disease, even though he’d actually gotten two positive results.

Adams thought he’d tested negative when he made those comments, according to the Senate chief of staff.

The Senate president has not consistently worn a mask during the early days of the session, even though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise people to cover their faces for five days following their quarantine.

Return to Story