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PM News Brief: Rep. Curtis And The ERA, Youth Mental Health & Timing An Olympic Bid

Photo of the ski jump.
Brian Grimmett
The Salt Lake City Olympic organizing committee said it may bid for the 2034 Winter Olympics since Sapporo, Japan, has announced a bid for 2030. The ski jump (above) is at the Utah Olympic Park, which was built in Park City for the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Thursday evening, Feb. 13, 2020


Curtis ERA

Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, was one of five Republicans to break with his party Thursday, voting to remove the deadline to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. If that deadline is removed, it would pave the way for the amendment’s ratification. Opponents, including Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, say the ERA would require taxpayer-funded abortions. But Curtis said in a statement, "I refuse to believe that treating women as our equals comes as a tradeoff for traditional Utah values." — Sonja Hutson

2034 Olympics?

Salt Lake City may shift its focus to bidding for the 2034 Winter Olympics rather than the Games four years earlier following the announcement that Sapporo, Japan, will bid for 2030. Organizing committee President Fraser Bullock says they will do a careful analysis in the coming months about the pros and cons between bidding for 2030 or 2034. The U.S. Olympic Committee chose Salt Lake City two years ago over Denver and Reno, Nevada, as the next American city to bid for a Winter Olympics but hasn't chosen which year it wants Utah to pursue. — Associated Press

Buttigieg In Utah

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg will campaign in Salt Lake City on Feb. 17, two weeks ahead of Super Tuesday, to hold a town hall talk and a breakfast fundraiser. Ballots for Utah’s Democratic primary are due on March 3. As of Jan. 30, the polling website 538 puts the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana fourth among Democratic presidential candidates in Utah. Buttigieg won support from voters in predominantly white states, but has struggled in more diverse areas. — Grace Osusky


Future Of Former Monument Land Near Kanab

The debate over public lands under the Trump administration has turned Grand Staircase Escalante and Bears Ears into household names. But there’s another slice of land that hasn’t gotten as much attention. It’s called the Kanab Escalante Planning Area, or “KEPA” for short. It’s home to the nearly 900,000 acres that President Donald Trump cut from the original Grand Staircase in 2017. Read the full story. — David Fuchs, Kanab


Tax Return Fraud

A federal grand jury Thursday indicted a Utah family of tax return preparers. Sergio Sosa owned a tax preparation business in Orem, where both his adult children worked. The U.S. Department of Justice says Sosa is accused of not filing his personal taxes, and it says he and his children then allegedly obstructed the IRS in its attempt to collect. Sosa allegedly owes the IRS more than a million dollars. — Jon Reed


Youth Mental Health

Some Mountain West states are recognizing our youth mental health crisis by debating bills that address the problem from both inside and outside of schools. Democratic state Sen. Rhonda Fields of Colorado is sponsoring two of those bills. One provides funding to train teachers and administrators in mental health first aid. Her other bill expands the definition for excused absences to include mental health disturbances, like anxiety or sadness from a loss or a trauma. Our region has some of the highest rates of youth suicide rates in the country — in some communities as much as two to three times the national average. — Ali Budner


Liberia Missionaries

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is transferring all missionaries currently in Liberia out of the country. The move was spurred by poor economic conditions, which have made basic supplies hard to get and missionary work difficult. According to the church, there are currently more than 13,000 Latter-day Saints in that country spread across 48 congregations — Caroline Ballard

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