Democrats take issue with process that immediately ended Utah mask mandates


Save Story
Leer en español

Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

SALT LAKE CITY — Democrats in the Utah House of Representatives are questioning whether the legislative resolution that overturned mask mandates should have taken effect immediately.

Senate Joint Resolution 3, or SJR3, cleared the Senate last Tuesday and passed in the House on Friday with a vote of 45-29. It immediately terminated the countywide mask mandates in Salt Lake and Summit counties and also the K-12 mask requirement for students in Salt Lake City.

In a series of tweets, House Democrats said SJR 3 "raises serious constitutional questions."

During the debate on Friday, Rep. Jennifer Dailey-Provost, D-Salt Lake City, asked why the resolution would take effect immediately when the Utah Constitution requires a two-thirds vote to override the 60-day waiting period after the end of the legislative session for a law to take effect.

"I was hoping for clarification on that before the body goes to a vote," Dailey-Provost said.

In response, House Speaker Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, said he already checked with legislative lawyers and was told the 60-day period does not apply.

"That is related to legislation with effective dates, not resolutions like this," Wilson said.

The tweets from House Democrats detailed how SB195, which was passed in 2021, put in place the current process that allows the Legislature to terminate local health orders immediately with a simple majority vote.

"Can the legislature pass a bill to give itself future carve-outs from the constitution?" asked one of the tweets from Utah House Democrats.

"While the House and Senate clearly made known their intentions on Salt Lake and Summit Counties' mask orders, this move creates a concerning precedent, and we have doubts about whether SJR3 is effective immediately given these constitutional issues," House Democrats' concluding tweet said.

In response to Democrats' tweets, Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, pointed out in a tweet that Rep. Dailey-Provost voted to approve SB195.

A spokesperson for Senate Republican leadership told KSL that it's a longstanding rule and practice that resolutions go into effect once they are signed by the Senate president and House speaker, which happened on Friday.

House Minority Leader Brian King, D-Salt Lake City, said that the Legislature is in a gray area when it comes to SJR3.

"There is a good argument to be made on both sides: that the failure to get two-thirds in the House means that it isn't in effect until another 60 days," King said.

King said the argument on the other side is that the resolution is an extension of last year's SB195, which did pass with a two-thirds majority.

"The problem that I have is that we're in a gray area at a time when we should not be," he said.

House Democrats said they don't plan to take further action or initiate litigation about their complaint.

"But we do want people in the state of Utah to know that there is a legitimate question about the extent to which that revocation of the mask mandate took effect immediately," King said.

"They could have proceeded without putting the integrity of the process at risk," Dailey-Provost said.

Dailey-Provost said she would like to have a longer discussion about the process.

"The importance of calling it out is to make sure that in the future we do a better job about examining and revering the process that is outlined in our constitution so this doesn't become a question again," she said.

Related stories

Most recent Utah stories

Related topics

UtahPolitics
Ladd Egan
Lindsay Aerts
Lindsay attended Utah State University and got a degree in Broadcast Journalism. She previously reported for KSL NewsRadio.

STAY IN THE KNOW

Get informative articles and interesting stories delivered to your inbox weekly. Subscribe to the KSL.com Trending 5.
By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to KSL.com's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

KSL Weather Forecast