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  • Writer's pictureRep. Candice Pierucci

August Special Session

Dear Constituents, Neighbors, and Friends, 

Yesterday, we met as a legislature for the Sixth Special Session of 2020. We considered 20 bills to make necessary adjustments to the state budget and policies related to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic. Several issues were discussed including providing Utahns and Utah businesses financial relief by waiving state income tax on PPP loans and CARES Act money, modifying the 2020 general election process, addressing issues related to public education funding and enrollment and adjusting the 2021 state budget to further address the impacts of COVID-19. A full list of legislation and summaries can be found here. With updated budget revenues and remaining CARES Act money, we were able to restore some of the deep cuts made during a previous session. We allocated $125 million out of the $150 million remaining. Those funds were used for extending broadband access for schools, creating K-12 classroom enhancements, allocating more funds to the Utah business grant programs, increasing testing, and aiding disability services.  Emergency Powers Last June, I voted against extending Utah’s state of emergency. When under a state of emergency the Governor is able to exercise emergency powers and spend federal funds without oversight from the legislative body. Like so many of you, I have had serious concerns about the emergency powers that have been used at both the state and local level in the name of expediency and have resulted in limited accountability and little to no legislative oversight. We as a legislative body did not renew the state of emergency yesterday. Unfortunately, Governor Herbert has already opted to renew the state of emergency himself, without the legislature. As a member of the Government Operations Interim Committee, I requested that we formally review the emergency powers granted to executive branch and a review of no-bid contracts and purchasing agreements that have occurred during the pandemic. As a legislative body, we must be vigilant in safeguarding tax payer dollars. Unfortunately, we are still needing consensus from both bodies to move forward with a bill limiting emergency powers granted to the Governor and local health departments—if you haven’t already I would encourage you to reach out to your Senator and the Governor’s office. I am committed to continuing to work on this issue of reigning in the powers of the executive branch. Unemployment Update Below is the latest news release on Utah’s unemployment insurance claims (August 9-15):

  • Traditional unemployment insurance new claims increased 3.1% from the previous week to 3,004 claims

  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance new claims increased by 7.11% from the previous week to 820 claims

  • Pandemic Extended Unemployment Claims increased by 27% from the previous week to 1,497 claims

  • Total new claims for all three programs ended the week at 5,321 (see claim graph below)

  • Combined weekly claims for all three programs was at 66,984

  • Total combined numbers from March 15 to August 15

  • New claims: 279,481

  • Benefits paid: $1,349,452,495

Utah was one of the first states to be approved for Lost Wages Assistance through FEMA. This will give the majority of claimants an additional $300 for the weeks July 25 through August 15. To learn more about the program, click here for an FAQ.   Census The amount of federal funding Utah receives for healthcare, education, and transportation is dependent on census participation. Please take the census if you have not yet done so.

As always, it is a pleasure and honor to serve and work with you to make our community and state a better place to work and live. Please email me at cpierucci@le.utah.govwith any questions or concerns you might have.  Sincerely,  Candice B. Pierucci State Representative for House District 52

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