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AM News Brief: Utah Republican Convention, Feb. Job Numbers & Fewer Utah Latino Kids Insured

Photo of Utah GOP headquarters.
Julia Ritchey
The Utah Republican Convention is still on schedule for April 25 — but it will be online due to the coronavirus outbreak. This story and more in the Friday morning news brief.";

Friday morning, March 20, 2020


State Expedites Alcohol Buyback

As the economic toll of social distancing weighs on bars and restaurants, Gov. Gary Herbert issued an executive order Wednesday evening to make it easier for them to return the alcohol they bought in March but can no longer sell. After the statewide ban on dine-in service was handed down earlier this week — effective at least through April 1 — the new offer allows bars and restaurants a full, expedited refund on any alcohol purchased through the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. It could help some get through the month. But for others, it isn’t enough to make a difference. Read the full story. — Jon Reed

Mental Health During Social Distancing

Fears of COVID-19 can create an anxiety-provoking climate, according to the Utah Psychology Association. Earlier this week, they released a list of self-care advice to manage anxiety caused by public threats. Tips include getting enough sleep, practicing yoga or meditation and even singing to refocus your mind. Read the full story. — Caroline Ballard & Jessica Lowell

Utah Republican Convention Plans

The Utah Republican Convention is still on schedule for April 25 — but it will be online due to the coronavirus outbreak. The Republican Party’s chairman Derek Brown said they are working with a private company to make sure online voting is secure for delegates. The party has also postponed its caucus night, which was set to happen next Tuesday. In a letter, Brown said they still need volunteers to help with the virtual aspect of this year’s convention. The delegates from the convention will also attend the national convention later this year in North Carolina. As of now, the in person component of the national convention is still on. — Grace Osusky

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

Utah’s February Jobs Numbers

Utah’s economy hummed along in February. The state’s Chief Economist Mark Knold said last month’s seasonally-adjusted numbers show a continued dip in unemployment — estimated at 2.5%. Knold said we won’t know the impact of coronavirus on the state economy until May, but that because of huge economic growth and record low unemployment, the state is in a good position to bounce back. — Diane Maggipinto

Utah’s Uninsured Latino Children

Nearly 17% of Latino children in Utah are uninsured according to a report from UnidosUS and Georgetown University. Numbers show in 2018 there were more than 30,000 Latino kids without insurance — nearly 1.5 times more than the amount in 2016. And the rate of uninsured children in Utah rose faster than the national average. Lawmakers introduced H.B. 210 this year that would have provided children with continuous healthcare, even if their parents lost it. Although that bill was unsuccessful, the measure passed as an appropriations request in H.B. 3. — Grace Osusky

Northern Utah

I-15 Closure In Layton

Starting Friday at 10 p.m., a stretch of I-15 in Layton will be closed at times during the next three nights. The Utah Department of Transportation will close the highway between Layton Parkway and Antelope Drive. The highway will reopen Saturday at 8 a.m., before closing at 10 p.m. Saturday and reopening Sunday morning at 9 a.m. Construction to install beams for a new bridge shouldn’t impact any Monday morning travel, though the highway will close at 9 p.m. Sunday and reopen by 5 a.m. The project is a part of UDOT’s Davis Weber Express Lanes project, which is set to open in May. — Grace Osusky

Clarification 3/23/20 3:58 p.m. MT: This story has been updated to clarify two bills that affect continuous medical coverage for children.

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