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News Briefs
Election news from across Utah's statewide and national races in 2020.

AM News Brief: Capitol Closed To Public, Wildfires Merge & Support For Mail-in Ballots

Photo of Utah Capitol.
KUER File Photo
Utah's state capitol complex is off-limits through Saturday under a state of emergency declared by Gov. Gary Herbert. This story and more in the Tuesday morning news brief.

Tuesday morning, June 2, 2020

Northern Utah

Protests Continue Peacefully In Salt Lake City

More than 1,000 protesters took to the streets in downtown Salt Lake City Monday night to continue speaking out against racial injustice. The event was mostly peaceful following a destructive Saturday. Mayor Erin Mendenhall enacted a citywide curfew just 45 minutes before the protest took place, but that did little to stop people from flooding the streets. Leaders of the protest said the next step is to get organized if they really want to see change happen. Read the full story. — Ross Terrell & Jon Reed

Governor Closes Capitol Complex To Public

Utah's state capitol complex is off-limits through Saturday under a state of emergency declared by Gov. Gary Herbert. The Capitol and grounds are closed to the public, though the Capitol building itself has been closed since mid-March because of the pandemic. — Caroline Ballard

Progessive And Moderate Dem Debate Best Way To Win 1st Congressional Seat

The Democratic candidates for Utah’s 1st Congressional District faced off at a debate Monday. Darren Parry and Jamie Cheek are the only Democrats in a primary election for Utah’s congressional races. But despite sharing a party, the two used the debate to highlight their differences on health care, climate change and other issues. Parry positioned himself as the moderate in the race, while Cheek outlined a progressive campaign. A Democrat hasn’t represented the district for nearly 40 years, but both candidates say they’re working to connect with voters of any political affiliation. Read the full story. — Emily Means

Wildfires Merge On Stansbury Island

Two fires have merged into one on Stansbury Island and now burning more than 20 square miles of land. Utah Wildfire officials said the North Stansbury Fire erupted on the north end of the island Monday, while the Tabby Canyon Fire has been burning since Saturday. The latter was ignited from an illegal exploding target. The fire is 20% contained, and crews said Monday’s conditions were extreme because of wind and terrain, on a mix of public and private land. The Bureau of Land Management West Desert District has restricted access to the areas under their jurisdiction, and target shooting and camping are banned. — Diane Maggipinto

Tuesday Primary Debates

The Republican candidates for Utah Attorney General will take the stage at a debate Tuesday. Utah County Attorney David Leavitt is challenging incumbent Sean Reyes, who has been in office since 2013. The winner of the June primary will face Democrat Greg Skordas in the general election. The last time a Democrat held the office was nearly 20 years ago. KUER will broadcast the debate live at noon, and it will be available to watch at kuer.org. — Emily Means

The four Republican candidates for Utah’s 1st Congressional District will also try to distinguish themselves from each other at a debate Tuesday at 3 p.m. Kaysville Mayor Katie Witt and Davis County Commissioner Bob Stevenson qualified for the primary by gathering signatures, while former foreign service officer Blake Moore and former Utah Commissioner of Agriculture Kerry Gibson advanced to the ballot at the state GOP convention. Congressman Rob Bishop will retire from the seat this year. A Republican has represented the district since 1981. You can listen to both debates on kuer.org. — Emily Means

State

Utah’s COVID Cases Reach 9,999

As of Monday Utah has reported 9,999 total COVID-19 cases. It was the fifth day in a row that Utah’s Department of Health reported more than 200 new cases. Health officials also announced that Medicaid will now cover COVID-19 tests and other related services for uninsured people. That could include checks for antibodies and evaluations like x-rays. So far, more than 218,000 people have been tested for the virus, and 6,251 have recovered. — Ross Terrell

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

Region/Nation

Americans Favor Mail-in Ballots

A new report shows that the majority of Americans support mail-in ballots. However there were some differences based on race, political affiliations and residence. In the Mountain West, Wyoming has some of the least support for mail-in ballots, while Colorado ranks near the top. About 63% of Utahns told surveyors they support “making it easier to vote in November by mail.” Meanwhile about 10% were opposed. — Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau

Latter-day Saint President Condemns Violence

The president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints denounced racism and the violence occurring at protests around the country. It was the faith's first public statement since volatile weekend demonstrations over the death of George Floyd. Russell M. Nelson said in a post to his social media accounts Monday that Latter-day Saints join with people around the world being saddened at “recent evidences of racism and a blatant disregard for human life." The Church has been trying to improve race relations in recent decades following a history that included a ban on black men in the priesthood that lasted until 1978. — Diane Maggipinto

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