FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 21, 2022
Salt Lake City, UT – At the end of the first week of the 2022 General Session, the Utah State Legislature passed two pieces of legislation obstructing efforts to protect public health in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Bypassing the usual opportunities for public input in committee hearings, GOP lawmakers in the House and Senate passed S.J.R. 3, Joint Resolution to Terminate Public Health Orders Pertaining to Face Coverings, and H.B. 183, In-Person Learning Amendments.
Katie Matheson, deputy director of Alliance for a Better Utah, issued the following statement in response:
“Today, the Utah GOP surrendered in the war against COVID-19. Our communities are facing immense pressure in hospitals, schools, and businesses, and local public health officials have stepped up to protect residents in their counties. But instead of doing the same, members of the supermajority have obstructed these efforts, while also citing hypocritical stances on local control, questioning the decisions of local experts, and dangerously underemphasizing the impacts of this virus on our communities.
“By passing these two bills with zero public input, lawmakers have washed their hands of their responsibility to protect the health and general welfare of the people of Utah. They’ve sent a clear message that Utahns are on their own and the burden of this crisis rests on their individual shoulders. GOP lawmakers are done and they’re moving on.”
Alliance for a Better Utah is a nonprofit that holds politicians accountable and advocates for progressive policies that make Utah an even better place. The organization improves the lives of all Utahns through advocacy, transparency, and accountability in Utah politics, policy, and government. More information at www.betterutah.org.