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AM News Brief: “Frugal” Olympic Bid, Homeless Emergency Plans & Teacher Walk Out

Photo of Utah Olympic Park.
Brian Grimmett / KUER
The Salt Lake City Olympic bid committee is vowing to be transparent and frugal and says they'll design a plan based around existing venues.

Thursday morning, Feb. 27, 2020

STATE

Creating Homeless Emergency Plans

A bill addressing homeless safety and health in emergency conditions passed unanimously in a Utah Senate committee meeting Wednesday. Sponsor Sen. Luz Escamilla, D-Salt Lake City, said the bill would require local governments to create response plans to accommodate the unique needs of each city or county and that the state should use these plans to act as a partner to cities and counties. The bill now heads to the Senate floor. — Jessica Lowell

Polygamy Decriminalization Poised To Pass

A bill decriminalizing consensual polygamy is poised to pass the Utah legislature. The House of Representatives approved the bill 70-3 Wednesday, just over a week after the Utah Senate approved it unanimously. The bill now moves back to the Senate for final approval. The bill would knock consensual polygamy down from a felony to an infraction, the equivalent of a traffic ticket. If it’s connected to other charges like child abuse or kidnapping, polygamy would remain a felony. Read the full story. — Sonja Hutson

SOUTHERN UTAH

Planning For Bears Ears — Without Native Voices

Planning for the shrunken Bears Ears National Monument is moving forward, despite protests from the tribes involved in the monument’s designation. The Bears Ears Monument Advisory Committee met over two days this week to discuss recreation in Bears Ears. But the committee’s homogenous makeup raised questions about who the BLM is listening to as it proceeds with plans for the monument. Read the full story. — Kate Groetzinger, Blanding

NORTHERN UTAH

Dinosaurs On The Move

The Utah Geological Survey (UGS) packed up and moved an 18,000-pound sandstone block full of dinosaur bones Wednesday. UGS paleontologists originally extracted the massive block in 2014 from the Stikes Quarry site, just north of Arches National Park. Since then, it was studied at the Museum of Ancient Life at Thanksgiving Point before being trucked to the Department of Natural Resources in Salt Lake City. UGS officials said the new location will give paleontologists and university students better access to the block, thought to be around 125 million years old. Read the full story. — Jon Reed

Salt Lake Teachers Plan Walkout Friday

Teachers in the Salt Lake District plan to cut class Friday. The Salt Lake Education Association has declared “Red for Ed,” and teachers will walk out in the afternoon to push the legislature for prioritized funding. Instructors say the action is not about teacher salaries but over concern for Utah's low rank in education funding. A half-day schedule will be in place, with classes ending early Friday, at 11:45 or 12:30, depending on the school. Buses will run as usual and lunch will be served, according to District Superintendent Lexi Cunningham, and teachers will rally at the Wallace Bennett Federal Building before a march to the Capitol. — Diane Maggipinto

Trax Sensors

The TRAX Observation Project is expanding its reach. The project is a long-term study by the University of Utah that looks at air quality along Salt Lake City’s light rail system. It uses sensors on TRAX trains to measure particulate matter during events like winter inversions and fireworks displays. Now, the project will add sensors to the blue TRAX line, which extends to the South Valley. Researchers say expanding is important because they can look at pollution levels from two different areas in the Salt Lake Valley and at different elevations. — Grace Osusky

“Transparent And Frugal” Salt Lake Olympic Bid

Leaders of the new Salt Lake City Olympic bid committee are vowing to be transparent and frugal. The panel says they'll design a plan for a Winter Olympics bid based around existing venues used in the 2002 Games alongside new and modern ideas. Committee chair Cindy Crane told board members Wednesday that every conversation they have should be considered public. A bribery scandal nearly derailed the 2002 Olympic competitions here, but Crane says part of their plan will make clear that "those days are well behind us." The committee will assess whether to bid for the 2030 or 2034 Games. — Associated Press

Bernie Sanders Utah Stop

Bernie Sanders will stop in Utah next week. The rally for the Democratic presidential candidate and U.S. Senator from Vermont will happen at the Utah State Fairpark at noon on Monday. That's the day before Super Tuesday, a cluster of primaries in 14 states, in which Utah voters participate. Sanders won Utah's Democratic caucus in 2016 in a landslide, and polls have indicated he's a strong front-runner this year as well. — Associated Press

REGION

Census Confusion

Outreach efforts are ramping up around our region to get people to participate in the U.S. Census. People will start seeing mailers for it next month. But many people are still confused about what the Census means. That’s according to a recent Pew Research Center report that found most people didn’t understand that it’s required by law, will be available to fill out online and won’t ask about someone’s citizenship status. — Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau

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