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Utah State Legislature extends state of emergency for Magna earthquake

Posted at 6:01 PM, Apr 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-17 20:01:18-04

SALT LAKE CITY — A state lawmaker is asking the legislature to extend Utah's state of emergency because of the earthquake and aftershocks.

House Joint Resolution 302, sponsored by Rep. Sue Duckworth, D-Magna, would extend the emergency until May 18. It was March 18 that Utah experienced a 5.7 magnitude earthquake, epicentered in Magna.

"To date we've had over 1,200 aftershocks in the last month," Rep. Duckworth told her colleagues in the special session on Friday.

The resolution would allow the state to accept FEMA funds, she said.

"My little town here in Magna is a historical town. Many of our buildings and homes here are quite a bit older than those in the valley," Rep. Duckworth said.

A state of emergency was originally issued for Utah because of the earthquake, but Rep. Duckworth sought to extend it. Rep. Brady Brammer, R-Highland, said he recognized Magna's need for the money, but asked if they really needed to continue it to get the federal funds?

"Unless you were with me yesterday morning when that shook, I would say we would need to extend this," Rep. Duckworth replied.

Rep. Elizabeth Weight, D-West Valley City, said the aftershocks continue and homes have been knocked off foundations from the original quake. Rep. Eric Hutchings, R-Kearns, said his own home was damaged.

"I'm still experiencing ongoing damage to my home," he said.

The bill passed the House 71-3 and the Senate unanimously. It now goes to the governor's office for his signature or veto.