Socially distant at the Capitol, lawmakers plan COVID-19 bills

in Government

SALT LAKE CITY — Lawmakers sat in every other chair in an empty committee room, sporting face masks as others appeared on a computer screen.

Ahead of a special session planned at the end of this week, bills are being drafted to address the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Utah State Legislature’s Interim Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee voted to advance a bill that would expand teleworking in the state. When the pandemic began, the state was experimenting with it and was forced to dramatically expand it.

Now, they’ve found, it’s a huge hit. An analysis provided to lawmakers shows that it can save money and productivity is still good. Sen. Dan McCay, R-Riverton, asked for it to be expanded. He initially sponsored a bill to expand teleworking in state government as an air quality measure. However, COVID-19 prompted him to ask to designate all state government employees based on whether they can telework.

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