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News Brief: Drugs, Law Enforcement & US Citizenship For American Samoans

Photo of a Samoan man in a suit and a lei in front of government building.
Courtesy Equally American
John Fitisemanu was among the plaintiffs in a lawsuit seeking U.S. citizenship for people from American Samoa.

Thursday evening, December 12, 2019

Northern Utah

New Law Enforcement Role At U

The University of Utah’s police department is getting two new leaders. The next police chief will have to work under the future chief safety officer, a new position at the U. Though critics are concerned about another layer of bureaucracy, a spokesman for the police department says more oversight will be “beneficial.” The university is hoping to make an offer for both positions by the end of the year. Read the full storyRocio Hernandez

Stormy Weather

Winter weather heading to Utah will come and go and come again, according to National Weather Service hydrologist Brian McInerney. A winter storm warning is in effect now, and will remain in place through most of Saturday. McInerney says any lull you see will pick up again on early in the weekend. The projected 1.5 to 2 feet for the Wasatch Mountains and western Uintas won’t bring quite as much snow as the last storm, but the weather service warns motorists that travel could be very difficult to impossible. — Diane Maggipinto


Utah Judge Rules On U.S. Citizenship Samoans

American Samoans are now considered US citizens following federal district court ruling in Utah on Thursday. Until now, anyone born in the U.S. territory American Samoa had been labelled a U.S. national, not a citizen. Despite paying taxes, nationals aren’t allowed to vote or run for office. The Federal government is expected to appeal the historic decision. Until then it’s not clear yet how broad the ruling can be applied. But for now, those born in American Samoa and living in Utah are U.S. citizens and can register to vote in the 2020 election. — Jon Reed

Romney Bill On Drug Cartels

Utah Senator Mitt Romney is introducing a bill that would impose sanctions on drug cartels and other criminal organizations outside the U.S. The bill comes roughly a month after 9 members of an American family from a Mormon community were killed in Northern Mexico. Authorities are reportedly investigating the attack as cartel-related. Read the full storySonja Hutson

Fighting Fentanyl

All the Attorneys General in the United States, including Utah's Sean Reyes, signed a letter encouraging Congress to classify any fentanyl knock-off as a schedule one drug. They wrote in support of the FIGHT Fentanyl Act, which would extend fentanyl related drugs' classification as a schedule one drugs permanently. The current classification from the Drug Enforcement Administration will expire next February. Authentic fentanyl — used pharmaceutically — would remain a schedule two drug. — Jenny Goldsberry

Correction 9:39 a.m. MST, 12/13/19: A previous version of this story misidentified which types of fentanyl would be considered a schedule one drug under the FIGHT Fentanyl Act. Pharmaceutical fentanyl is and would remain a schedule two drug.

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