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News Briefs

News Brief: Job Numbers, Protestors & Lawmaker Involved In Malheur

Photo of Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service via Flickr
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A Washington state legislator was directly involved in planning the armed takeover of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon in 2016, according to an investigative report released Thursday.

Friday afternoon, December 20, 2019

NORTHERN UTAH

SLCPD Report On Inland Port Protestor Arrests

The Salt Lake Police Department says officers “responded appropriately” to an inland port protest that turned violent in July. The department released a report Thursday that said officers “showed great restraint” and “deserve merit for maintaining their composure during a volatile situation.” Officers reported being spit on and kicked, while protestors complained they were shoved, punched and choked without warning. Ten protestors are facing charges of rioting and criminal trespass, and are scheduled for their next court appearance early February. — Jon Reed

STATE

Utah Job Numbers

Utah's unemployment rate hit a record low of 2.4% for November. According to the Department of Workforce Services, the last time the number was that low was early 2007. Utah's private sector employment grew by 3.7% over the past year, and Utah holds the top spot in the country for total job growth in the U.S. — Bob Nelson

REGION

WA Legislator Involved In Malheur Takeover

A Washington state legislator was directly involved in planning the armed takeover of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon in 2016. Republican Matt Shea also had a role in two other confrontations between militia movements and the federal government. Those findings are contained in an investigative report commissioned by the Washington House of Representatives and released Thursday. Washington state house GOP minority leader JT Wilcox calls the findings "chilling" and says he has asked Shea to resign. Read the full storyAustin Jenkins, Northwest News Network

NATION

Red Rock Rumble

Republican Utah representatives Rob Bishop and Mitt Romney have introduced legislation to protect 30,000 acres of a national forest in Illinois. Bishop introduced the Shawnee Wilderness Area Designation Act in the House. He says he doesn’t want it to pass, but that the point of the bill is to send a message to Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin. The Democrat filed America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act last week. It seeks to designate 8 million acres of public land in Utah as wilderness. Bishop says the effort by Democrats to pass the act ignores its negative consequences. In a statement, Durbin’s office wrote that he would be happy to consider supporting the designation of any other lands the Forest Service thinks should be wilderness in Illinois. Read the full story — Kate Groetzinger, Blanding

Tracking College Graduation Rates

Republican U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, along with two Republican senators from Wyoming, has introduced legislation that would change the way community colleges report their graduation rates. Under current law, colleges and universities are only required to count new, full-time students into their graduation rates. Their bill would require community colleges to also include part-time, returning students in their graduation reports. — Rocio Hernandez

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