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PM News Brief: Teacher Walkout, Rail Lines & The Right To Hunt And Fish

Photo of a crowd of people in red shirts holding signs advocating for public education funding in front of the utah state capitol building
Jessica Lowell
Salt Lake City teachers staged a walkout and marched to the state Capitol to advocate for increased funding on Friday, Feb. 28, 2020.

Friday evening, Feb. 28, 2020


Salt Lake Teacher Walkout

Nearly 500 teachers, parents and students walked from downtown Salt Lake City to the Utah Capitol today, according to an estimate from the ACLU of Utah. Activists raised concerns about overcrowded classes, lack of funding for student counselors and underpaid substitute teachers and paraeducators. Utah has ranked last in the nation in per-pupil funding for more than a decade, according to the census. Activists are hoping for a 6% increase in the amount of money the state pays school districts per student. — Jessica Lowell


Sand Hollow Death

Officials have identified 19-year-old Carlos Rodrigo Brambila of Salt Lake County as the person found dead at Sand Hollow State Park Thursday. Utah State Park Rangers found Brambila’s body 15 feet from shore in 13 feet of water. His vehicle was found at the boat ramp in Sand Hollow after Brambila was reported as missing on Feb. 26. The incident is still being investigated. — Grace Osusky


Bill Would Require Ultrasounds Before Abortion

People in Utah seeking an abortion would have to get an ultrasound beforehand, under a bill being considered in the Utah Legislature. The doctor or technician performing the ultrasound would have to describe, in real time, the ultrasound images, including the presence of visible body parts and organs as well as the location of the fetus in the uterus. They would also have to make the heartbeat audible, although the patient could avert their eyes or ask that the volume of the heartbeat be turned down or off. The House Judiciary Committee did not vote on the bill Friday and held it for a later date due to time constraints of the hearing. Read the full story. — Sonja Hutson

Integrating Rail Lines

Legislators are considering a bill to develop and renovate rail lines in Utah. The bill, which passed unanimously in a House Transportation Committee meeting Friday, would require that the Department of Transportation create a plan to integrate passenger and freight lines statewide. Sen. Jake Anderegg, R-Lehi, said one goal is to create a more efficient riding experience. The bill could cost $2.1 million over two years starting in 2021. It now heads to the House floor. — Jessica Lowell

The Right To Hunt And Fish

The Utah House approved an amendment to the state constitution Friday that gives the people of Utah the right to hunt and fish. If approved by the entire Legislature and signed by the governor, the amendment would still need to be approved by at least 50% of voters in November to take effect. — Sonja Hutson

Bail Reform

A bill aimed at moving Utah away from its reliance on a monetary bail system passed the House 54-15 Friday. It requires judges to release people before their trial using the least restrictive condition possible. Those could include things like ankle monitoring, weekly check-ins or drug testing. The judge could still assign monetary bail. — Sonja Hutson


Delisting The Gray Wolf

A bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives Friday aims to delist the gray wolf from its Endangered Species Act protections. Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, and Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minnesota, sponsored the bill. The animal’s habitat once covered much of the lower 48 states, but they were nearly wiped out in the 20th century. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service attributes the wolf’s comeback to its placement on the ESA. This bill would give control over wolf populations back to individual states. — Grace Osusky

Ski Wax

The ski racing community is backing away from something that has long made athletes faster but is also raising environmental concerns — fluorinated waxes. The waxes contain PFAS, a class of chemicals used in household products that have turned up in public drinking systems and private wells, and are linked to health problems. Next season, the International Ski Federation will ban such waxes in all disciplines. Nordiq Canada is the governing body for cross-country skiing and prohibited some fluorinated waxes in most races this season. And two years ago, the Norwegian Ski Association banned the use of fluorinated glide wax for all athletes under age 16. — Associated Press

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