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AM News Brief: Climate Change And Rural Economies, Tax Reform Leadership & Making Films In Utah

Photo of two people standing on salt flats in front of an orange sky.
“Nine Days” (pictured) is one of two feature films playing at this year’s Sundance Film Festival that was shot in Utah. This story and more in the Tuesday morning news brief.";s:3:

Tuesday morning, Jan. 28, 2020


Made In Utah

The Sundance Film Festival brings the filmmaking world to Utah. But the state also has an industry of its own: actors, crews and tax incentives. Utah now offers productions a total of $8 million to film here. That’s helped bring in big TV shows like Yellowstone, plus two feature films in Sundance this year. One study found that every incentive dollar brings $14 more back to the state. Some in the industry worry that unless the program grows to keep up with demand, all the momentum Utah film has seen will be lost. — Jon Reed

Hughes Decries Weak Leadership On Tax Reform

Republican gubernatorial candidate and former Speaker of the Utah House Greg Hughes said one of the reasons the new tax reform law — set to be repealed this week — is so unpopular is that Gov. Gary Herbert didn't do a good enough job selling the public on the bill. Hughes said Herbert’s name wasn’t associated with the tax reform, and that’s a sign he didn’t display good leadership. Hughes also said that as governor he would display stronger leadership in addressing tax reform, but first wants to focus on growing the economy so there’s more tax money coming in. — Sonja Hutson

Utah Chief Justices Says Legal Services Aren’t Affordable

The chief justice of the Utah Supreme Court says legal services still are not affordable or accessible for many, and more needs to be done. Chief Justice Matthew Durrant told state legislators during the annual State of the Judiciary address Monday that Utah faces a crisis in legal services. Durrant says a huge gap separates low- and middle-income residents and the help they need to address common legal problems. The chief justice asked lawmakers for about $1.5 million to boost judicial branch funding to cover courthouse sound system repairs and additional staff costs. — Associated Press


McAdams Suicide Bill Passes House

A bill to fund research on how to slow rising suicide rates across the country passed the U.S. House Monday. Utah Democratic Congressman Ben McAdams sponsored the bill, and it passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. It would direct the National Science Foundation to partner with universities and nonprofits to fund research into crisis management and the social factors behind suicide. McAdams said that suicide is the leading cause of death for young people in Utah ages 15 to 24. — Roddy Nikpour


Fight Climate Change, Boost Rural Economies

Rural economies could get a massive boost under policies meant to decrease carbon emissions. That’s according to an analysis by the progressive think tank, The Center for American Progress. For example, the report found that by bolstering soil health programs, there could be less erosion during floods and more carbon staying in the ground. — Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau

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