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Cox signs bipartisan bills on diversity, inclusion in Utah

Posted at 1:00 PM, Apr 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-18 19:19:02-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Governor Spencer Cox and Lt. Governor Deidre Henderson held a ceremony to sign a series of bills centered around diversity and inclusion in the state.

The bills, which all passed the Utah State Legislature with bipartisan support are "helping to make Utah a place where there is opportunity for everyone, where everyone can feel welcome and included," the governor said in remarks Monday at the Jewish Community Center.

Among the bills:

  • Making driver license exams available in multiple languages
  • Expanding driver license services to Afghan refugees who have recently settled in Utah
  • Recognizing Juneteenth as an official Utah state holiday
  • Expanding health care support for Utah's racial and ethnic communities

The governor also signed a resolution condemning antisemitism in Utah. The resolution was run partly in response to an email a Silicon Slopes executive sent to a number of tech firm CEOs and politicians, claiming a conspiracy theory involving Jewish people and the COVID-19 vaccine.

"Right here at home in Utah we have had an increasingly visible tide of antisemitism," said Rep. Doug Owens, D-Millcreek, the resolution's sponsor.

A resolution was also signed warning school districts and youth sports programs to be more accommodating to religious clothing needs of children when it comes to athletic unforms. It came about after some Muslim youth had reported experiencing trouble trying to play sports and not getting any support if they needed to wear a hijab, Rep. Candice Pierucci, R-Herriman said.

Eighth-grader Raneem Alsolaiman said the resolution will help as she seeks to play sports and participate in other activites.

"It’s going to help me know that I have the confidence that if anybody tells me anything about what I’m wearing... that I can tell them, 'No that is clearly in the law. It says I can do this and there’s nothing restricting it,' right? It can help other kids like me, seeing me wear this stuff and being able to stand up against it," she told FOX 13 News.

Monday's signing was ceremonial to call attention to the legislation. The governor had previously signed the bills in the legal window he's allowed after the legislature adjourns.