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PM News Brief: 260 White Bass, Clean Car Standards & Mitt Romney On George Floyd

Photo of a white bass in water
Wikimedia Commons
The Division of Wildlife Resources is looking for information after 260 white bass were recently left to waste on the side of a road about 13 miles south of Ogden.

Thursday evening, May 28, 2020

STATE

UDOT Budget Cuts Could Lead To Reductions In Litter Pickup

The Utah Department of Transportation’s budget could shrink by up to $1.5 million next year due to falling tax revenues resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. The Legislature’s Infrastructure and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee approved a plan Thursday to get the department to that goal. The potential cuts include scaling back carcass removal, litter pickup, and road sweeping in a large swath of central Utah. There could also be reductions in building maintenance, traffic studies, and new snow plow purchases. Read the full story.Sonja Hutson

Pushing Back On Rollback Of Clean Car Standards

Utah elected officials and public health experts are speaking out against the Trump administration’s rollback of clean car standards. The administration relaxed fuel standards in March that would’ve required automakers to average nearly 55 mpg by 2025, bringing that number down to about 40 mpg by 2026. The Environmental Defense Fund said the move will increase greenhouse gas emissions by about 1.5 billion tons through 2040. Utah officials said the rollback will increase pollution both in Utah and across the country. They also cited a recent study, which found that increased air pollution makes COVID-19 more deadly. On Wednesday, 23 states — not including Utah — filed a lawsuit against the rollback. — Sonja Hutson

Herbert Admits He Talked To Thomas Wright About Dropping Out

Gov. Gary Herbert confirmed Thursday that he had conversations with gubernatorial candidate Thomas Wright about dropping out of the race and endorsing Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox. Herbert said he didn’t try to pressure Wright to drop out, and doesn’t think he broke any state laws. Wright is still in the race and polling in the single digits, far behind the three other candidates in the Republican primary, which is scheduled for June 30. — Sonja Hutson

New Unemployment Claims Drop For The Seventh Straight Week

For the seventh week in a row, new unemployment claims in Utah have dropped. That’s according to data released Thursday by the state’s department of workforce services. Still, more than 5,400 Utahns filed for benefits last week. Since the start of the pandemic, the state alone has paid out more than $177 million in unemployment aid. Combined with additional money from the federal government, Utahns have received a total of more than $444 million. Salt Lake and Utah counties accounted for the highest percentage of new claims. — Ross Terrell

Largest Single Day Increase In COVID Cases 

Utah saw its largest single day increase in new COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic. That’s according to numbers released Thursday by the state’s Department of Health. Officials announced 215 more cases of the virus, bringing the state to more than 8,900. But state epidemiologist Angela Dunn said the state’s growth rate over the past seven days has remained consistent, which is a sign cases are plateauing. And as the Navajo Nation continues to be ravaged by the disease, elected officials announced some of the steps they are taking to help. Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox said the state has sent thousands of pounds of frozen lamb and flour and hundreds of sheep. The Nation’s infection rate is about 15 times higher than the state of Utah’s. — Ross Terrell

Mitt Romney Comments On George Floyd’s Death

Utah Sen. Mitt Romney addressed the death of George Floyd on Twitter Thursday. Floyd died Monday in Minnesota after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for about seven minutes as he laid face down and handcuffed. Video of the incident has led to violent protests in the city. Romney tweeted “no Americans should fear enmity and harm from those sworn to protect us.” He also said the outrage from Floyd’s death must lead to determination to get rid of racist abuse. Four officers have been fired following the incident. The FBI is currently investigating. — Ross Terrell

SOUTHERN UTAH

COVID Spikes In Southwest Utah

Public health officials said on Thursday afternoon that COVID-19 is now surging in Southwest Utah. The announcement comes one week after the Utah Department of Health warned such an event might occur. The 25 new cases of COVID-19 announced Thursday mark the biggest single-day jump in Southwest Utah since the onset of the pandemic. The region also saw six new hospitalizations, almost doubling the number of local residents who are currently hospitalized due to the virus. Officials emphasized that community spread — not more testing or outside visitors — is driving the surge. — David Fuchs, St. George

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

NORTHERN UTAH

260 White Bass Left To Waste

The Division of Wildlife Resources is looking for information after 260 white bass were recently left to waste on the side of the road. There are no daily take limits on the fish, but they are subject to wasting regulations. Under Utah law, wasting a single white bass is a $10 fine, which means the whole pile could cost up to $2,600. The fish were discovered on West Gentile street near Syracuse about 13 miles south of Ogden. — Caroline Ballard

Mia Love Endorses Kim Coleman 

Former Republican congresswoman Mia Love endorsed state Rep. Kim Coleman, R-West Jordan, in the race for Utah’s 4th Congressional District. Coleman is one of four Republican candidates hoping to win back the seat for the GOP from Ben McAdams. McAdams narrowly defeated Love in 2018 to become Utah’s lone Democrat in Congress. Love said Wednesday that Coleman has been a tenacious contender for the party's nomination in the suburban Salt Lake City district. Love was the first black female Republican in Congress and served from 2015 to 2019. She had briefly considered a rematch against McAdams, who could face an uphill battle to win re-election in the Republican-leaning district. — Associated Press

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