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AM News Brief: Expanded Unemployment Benefits, Navajo Weekend Lockdown Extended & Another 4.2

Photo illustration of unemployment application forms
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State officials announced the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program Wednesday. This story and more in the Thursday morning news brief.

Thursday morning, April 16, 2020

State

The Public And The Special Session

The Utah legislature is kicking off its first-ever virtual special session this morning. Public comment won't be live, but Utahns can share their thoughts on bills directly to their representatives through the legislature’s website. Those public comments will not be viewable on the Legislature’s website after they’re submitted though, and critics say that doesn’t serve transparency “at a time when it’s most needed.” Read the full story. — Sonja Hutson

Expanded Unemployment Benefits

State officials announced the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program Wednesday. The federally funded program would offer gig-workers and self-employed Utahns unemployment benefits. People who are eligible for it will also receive an extra $600 a week in benefits under the federal “Cares Act.” — Jessica Lowell

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

Northern Utah

Another Aftershock

The Salt Lake Valley felt another aftershock Thursday morning. The University of Utah Seismology Stations reported a 4.2 aftershock that occurred at 7:40 a.m. near Magna. This aftershock hit just two days after another one on Tuesday which was also of magnitude 4.2. Five aftershocks have had a magnitude of at least 4 since the earthquake on March 18. Experts call these normal and say there could be more. — Roddy Nikpour

Southern Utah

The Rural Card In The Governor’s Race

When Washington County Commissioner Victor Iverson signed on as Greg Hughes’ running mate on Tuesday, he became the first Southern Utahn to enter the race for the governor’s office in 2020. The timing of the announcement — which comes one to two months after frontrunners Spencer Cox and Jon Huntsman revealed their picks for the lieutenant governor’s seat — is strategic, intended to generate momentum for Hughes’ campaign heading into the Utah Republican convention. Read the full story. — David Fuchs

Region

Navajo Weekend Lockdown Extended

The Navajo Nation is extending its weekend lockdowns to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. The plan prohibits people from leaving their homes except in emergencies. The Navajo Nation already imposed weekday night time curfews, which are still in place as well. The number of coronavirus cases on the Navajo Nation surpassed 900 on Wednesday, with 38 deaths. Last weekend, Navajo police issued more than 100 criminal nuisance lockdown violation citations. About 175,000 people live on the reservation, which lies in parts of Utah, Arizona and New Mexico. — Associated Press

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