Speaker gives overview of issues ahead of special sessionNov 04, 2021 12:04PM ● By Becky Ginos
House Speaker Brad Wilson discusses topics facing the legislature in the upcoming session. Photo by Becky Ginos
SALT LAKE CITY—Restricting and vaccine mandates will most likely be the topics up for debate as the legislature meets in a special session next Tuesday. House Speaker Brad Wilson hit some highlights at a press conference held last week at the Capitol.
“Expect a swift response from us on a mandate requiring businesses to require their employees to be vaccinated,” he said. “We believe they should be able to manage their own employees without government intervention. Businesses thrive in that environment.”
It provides consistency and certainty, he said. “When there is volatility it’s hard to create jobs. It’s happening and some are managing very well.”
Intermountain Healthcare announced last week that it would require all of its caregivers to be vaccinated to comply with the Biden Administration’s action plan that includes facilities that participate in Medicaid or Medicare.
“Intermountain is doing what the federal government mandates,” said Wilson. “It’s one of the largest private employers. I understand why they’re doing it. The federal government has put them in a tough position. The last chapter is still being written. We can’t intervene in that space.”
Wilson and other elected officials including the Governor and Lt. Governor, announced on Monday that they would join a lawsuit opposing the proposed federal mandate requiring vaccinations for federal contractor employees nationwide.
“We must take a stand for hardworking Utahns who are being forced to either get the vaccine or lose their jobs,” the joint statement said. “The president is making a habit out of reaching beyond the limits of his authority. In doing so, he is unnecessarily exacerbating stress on the supply chain, damaging the economy, forcing workers to leave jobs and hurting American families. We cannot stand idly by and allow President Biden and his administration to impose yet another reckless and illegal executive action.”
Redistricting has also been an issue as the Legislative Redistricting Committee wrapped up its statewide public comment period and will give its recommendations for maps to the Legislature for approval. Wilson commented on the abrupt departure of former Congressman Rob Bishop recently from the Independent Redistricting Commission.
“He tapped out in frustration with the process, particularly with the maps,” said Wilson. “Very few people understand what we need to represent our state in Congress and what makes sense for Utah. He believes and I also believe that we need members of the delegation who are all working for rural Utah back in Congress. Rob believed the commission was turning a blind eye to that.”
The Independent Redistricting Commission presented its maps to the Legislative Redistricting Committee on Monday. “By constitution the legislature has to approve those maps,” he said. “We make the final decision.”