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PM News Brief: Signatures, Endangered Fish & HIV Campaign (Without The Innuendo)

Photo of a humpback chub held in a person's hands.
A. Martin
National Park Service
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says populations of Colorado's humpback chub are robust enough to justify moving the fish from "endangered" to "threatened."

Tuesday evening, Jan. 21, 2020


Tax Referendum Signatures

Organizers announced Tuesday they’ve collected enough signatures to put the referendum to repeal the recently passed tax reform law on the November ballot. The law requires nearly 116,000 signatures and organizers say they have 152,000. Earlier in the day, Utah Senate President Stuart Adams said if the referendum stands it will create logistical challenges for the implementation of the law, which has already gone into effect. When a referendum qualifies for the ballot, it places the law on hold. Many of the signatures delivered today still need to be verified by election officials. Counties have up to two weeks to do so. Read our coverageSonja Hutson & Jessica Lowell

HIV Campaign Returns (Without The Innuendo)

After a creative review, the controversial HIV-prevention campaign shut down last week by Gov. Gary Herbert has been reinstated. The accompanying website was also brought back online after being temporarily shut down. Utah Department of Health officials said in a press release on Tuesday that they are trying to retrieve the state-themed condoms, some of which had already been distributed to local partners. The cardboard packaging with the sayings will be destroyed, and the latex condoms inside the cardboard will be redistributed. — Caroline Ballard


Intermountain Healthcare Expansion

Intermountain Healthcare announced a major expansion Tuesday, with $500 million devoted to strengthening pediatric care. In addition, philanthropist Gail Miller will donate an additional $50 million to the effort. The funds will go toward constructing another Primary Children’s Hospital campus in Lehi and improving facilities and research at the Salt Lake City campus. Other goals include improving mental health services, telemedicine and teen-to-adult transition programs for kids with serious chronic conditions. — Caroline Ballard


Rock Art Protection Revisited

A fight is brewing in eastern Utah over whether the National Park Service should include nearly 200 rock art sites in the National Register of Historic Places. An application from a group of volunteers and preservationists was accepted by the National Park Service, but has since been returned for revisions. Conservationists say the decision adds months of busy work, but the Park Service maintains this revision phase is pretty common for complex applications like this one. — Noah Glick, Mountain West News Bureau


Endangered Fish On The Rebound

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says populations of the humpback chub are robust enough to justify moving the fish from “endangered” to “threatened.” The agency said in a statement that the proposal to “downlist” the fish is due to a multi-million dollar recovery program across the Colorado River basin. The humpback chub has a small, grumpy-looking face, and a fleshy hump above its head that allows it to withstand the river’s turbulent flows. At least one environmental group — WildEarth Guardians — criticized the move, saying additional water projects continue to threaten the fish. The federal government is accepting public comment on the proposal until March. 23. — Luke Runyon, KUNC

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