SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A legislative committee on Tuesday endorsed spending another $7 million to keep Utah's national parks open through Dec. 1.
The proposal was approved by the Executive Appropriations Committee and will now be considered by both chambers of the Legislature, which is convening for a special session Wednesday.
The measure is one of several that lawmakers are considering to offset the economic hit from the partial shutdown of the federal government.
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert previously authorized $1.67 million in state funds to reopen the five national parks in the state and three other federal recreation areas. The parks had been closed since Oct. 1 due to the shutdown.
This new money would ensure the areas don't close again on Oct. 21, when that initial funding dries up.
State Sen. Stuart Adams, a Layton Republican, sponsored the latest proposal, which would require the committee to approve spending the money every week.
"The national parks have hundreds of thousands of visitors every month," Adams said. "It's important for us that those parks stay open, important to the economy of the entire state of Utah."
The money would keep the parks open through the end of the heaviest part of Utah's tourism season, if the shutdown continues that long.
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