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PM News Brief: Missing And Murdered Bill To Gov, Abortion Ultrasound Bill & Early Voting Turnout

Photo of people holding posters of missing Navajo people.
Courtesy Navajo Nation Missing Persons Updates
The Utah Legislature on Tuesday passed a bill to create a task force to study the high rates of missing and murdered indigenous women in the state.

Tuesday evening, Mar. 3, 2020

STATE

Missing And Murdered Indigenous Bill Heads To Governor

The Utah Legislature passed a bill Tuesday to create a task force to study the high rates of missing and murdered indigenous women in the state. Native Americans experience the highest rate of homicide of all races in Utah, according to the state’s Office of Vital Records and Statistics. But there’s not a lot of information about why the rate is so high. The bill now heads to the governor’s desk. — Sonja Hutson

Ultrasound Bill Passes House Committee

People seeking abortions would have to get an ultrasound beforehand under a bill that passed in a Utah House committee Tuesday morning by a vote of 6 to 5. The doctor performing the ultrasound would have to describe the images — as well as the location — of the fetus in the uterus. They would also have to make the heartbeat audible, although the patient could look away or ask the doctor to turn the volume of the heartbeat down or off. The bill now heads to the House floor. — Sonja Hutson

Breaking Early Voting Records

Utahns were at the ballot box Tuesday voting in Democratic and Republican presidential primaries. More than 420,000 people had already voted early and by mail so far in this election, according to the state’s Elections Office at 5:30 p.m. Results from many of those mail-in ballots will be released once the polls close Tuesday at 8 p.m. Voter turnout by 5:30 p.m. Tuesday was at 31.8%, and the state was close to surpassing its record turnout for a lone presidential primary. The 2008 election holds the record at 32.4%. — Sonja Hutson

SOUTHERN UTAH

Utah Shakespeare Fest Enters Prestigious Partnership

The Utah Shakespeare Festival will be getting a bit more British over the next few years. That’s thanks to a new partnership with Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, or RADA, unveiled by the Southern Utah festival on Thursday. The five-year agreement will run through Dec. 31, 2024, and is made possible by an anonymous donor. Read the full story. — David Fuchs, St. George

REGION

Mushroom Toxin Detector

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently announced the creation of a portable test strip that quickly detects whether foraged mushrooms carry deadly toxins. It can also detect whether the toxins are in dog or human urine. This means that doctors and veterinarians can rule out whether an upset stomach is a result of eating the wrong mushroom. The federal scientists are working with a partner to produce a commercially available kit. Read the full story. — Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau

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