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AM News Brief: Republicans For Pete, Defining Consent & Mumps In Colorado

Microscopic photo of the mumps virus.
Pixio.com/A. Harrison and F. A. Murphy, USCDCP
Microscopic photo of the mumps virus.

Wednesday morning, Feb. 26, 2020

SOUTHERN UTAH

First Utah Black Lives Matter Chapter Off Wasatch Front

The first chapter of Black Lives Matter — the civil rights movement set off by the fatal 2014 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri — has opened in Southern Utah. Based in Washington County, the group is a full-service civil rights organization dedicated to providing legal aid and support services to people of color in the region as well as educational workshops on systemic racism to the broader community. It’s the third chapter to open in Utah and the first off the Wasatch Front. Read the full story. — David Fuchs

Utah Coronavirus Patient Hospitalized In California

A third Utahn has tested positive for the coronavirus — though not in the state. Mark Jorgensen was quarantined at the Travis Air Force Base in California and posted on his Facebook page Tuesday that he has been transferred to a hospital. He was among a handful of Americans flown back to the states after being quarantined on the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship in Japan after an outbreak of the virus onboard. Jorgensen’s wife, Jerri Jorgensen, is still undergoing treatment for the coronavirus in Japan. A Tooele man who was also aboard the ship tested positive and is being treated in Japan as well. Hear KUER’s Feb. 18 interview with Mark Jorgensen. — Caroline Ballard

NORTHERN UTAH

Arrests In Black Missionary Attack

Police have arrested three more people who are thought to have been involved in an attack on a black missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Nineteen-year-old Nathan Thomas of Nephi has been charged with assault, which is enhanced by a hate crime classification. Two juveniles were also arrested in connection with the Jan. 28 attack in Payson, bringing the total arrests to five people. The victim says a group yelled a racial slur and beat him as he headed to a house. — Associated Press

Topless Charge Plea Deal

A West Valley City woman who fought criminal charges after her stepchildren saw her topless in her home has taken a plea deal to avoid the risk of having to register as a sex offender if convicted. Tilli Buchanan and her husband had stripped down to work with drywall material in their garage. Her husband was not charged. Charges against Buchanan were filed after the children’s mother reported the incident to child welfare officials working on a separate investigation involving the children. Buchanan and the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah had pointed to a court ruling that overturned a topless ban in Colorado and helped fuel a movement. — Associated Press

STATE

Defining Consent

A bill that would change the legal definition of consent unanimously passed a state Senate committee late Tuesday. That amended definition says that consent to one sexual activity doesn’t necessarily mean the person is consenting to another. It also says that consent can be withdrawn at any time. The bill has already passed the House of Representatives and now heads to the Senate floor. — Sonja Hutson

Inland Port Changes

More changes to the Utah Inland Port may be coming under legislation passed by a state House committee Tuesday. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Francis Gibson, R-Mapleton, gives seats on the Inland Port Board to the Salt Lake City mayor’s office and Magna township and encourages the Port Authority to incentivize development that is eco-friendly. But more than a dozen public commenters said that simply encouraging the authority to incentivize green development doesn’t go far enough. Read the full story. — Sonja Hutson

Republicans For Pete

Ahead of Utah’s Democratic primary next week, organizers for the Pete Buttigieg campaign hosted a debate watch party last night for Republican voters interested in a Trump alternative. Organizers say a number of conservatives volunteered for the former mayor in Iowa and they’re seeing the same thing in Utah. Buttigieg is currently polling in 5th place in Utah, well behind frontrunner Bernie Sanders. — Jon Reed

Cellphone Driving

It has been illegal in Utah to use a hand-held cellphone while driving since 2007, but a House bill this year aims to enforce that ban. Currently, enforcement has to accompany other moving violations. The bill, which advanced to the Senate this week, would reduce penalties many Republicans say were too harsh. Under the updated bill, a first offense would be an infraction. That bill has support from law enforcement, insurance companies and prosecutors. — Associated Press

REGION

Mumps Outbreak At Colorado Ski Resort

Health officials are investigating an outbreak of mumps that started among employees of Keystone Resort in Colorado, with about 20 cases so far. The viral infection causes painful swelling in the cheeks and jaw, in addition to fever, fatigue and headaches. It’s preventable with the MMR vaccine, which most people now receive as children. Public health officials say the risk to the general public is low, but that it wouldn’t be surprising to encounter more cases in coming days. — Rae Ellen Bichell, Mountain West News Bureau

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