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PM News Brief: Justice In Policing Act, McCluskey Lawsuit & Huntsman, Jr. COVID Test

Photo of a police car parked on a street at night
Brian Albers
U.S. Congressional Democrats announced the Justice in Policing Act of 2020 bill Monday in response to protests across the U.S. and Utah speaking out against racial inequality and police brutality.

Monday evening, June 8, 2020


Congress Unveils Bill Aimed At Police Reform

U.S. Congressional Democrats announced the Justice in Policing Act of 2020 bill Monday aimed at police reform in the country. The bill is in response to protests across the U.S. and Utah speaking out against racial inequality and police brutality. It would ban chokeholds, create a national police misconduct registry and allow citizens to sue officers. It would also require all officers to wear body cameras and have them on the dashboard of police vehicles. Democratic Congressman Ben McAdams said in a statement that the U.S. needs more effective police reforms. — Jessica Lowell

Utah Averages More Than 300 New Daily Cases

Another 256 new cases of COVID-19 were reported Monday by the Utah Department of Health. Last week, the state averaged 303 new cases each day. That meant a week-long positivity rate of about 10%. That’s determined by the number of positive results each day compared to the total number of people tested. Before the recent spike, that number hovered around 4%, which health officials said meant cases here had plateaued. The state’s health department also reported three new deaths, bringing the total to 124. All were over the age of 60 and hospitalized at the time of their death. — Ross Terrell

Huntsman Tests Negative For COVID-19

Republican candidate for governor Jon Huntsman Jr. has tested negative for COVID-19. Huntsman had been quarantining after being exposed to a member of his campaign staff who had contracted the virus. But, an additional two staffers did test positive for the disease. The campaign’s headquarters were briefly shut down last week, but have now reopened. His running mate, Provo Mayor Michelle Kaufusi, did not get tested. — Ross Terrell

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

Utah Attorney General Calls For Meat Industry Investigation

Utah’s Attorney General Sean Reyes is pushing the federal government to investigate suspected price-fixing in the U.S. cattle meatpacking industry. Reyes said in a release Monday a growing number of attorneys general from midwestern states want an investigation into the four meatpacking companies that control most of the country’s beef processing. Over the last five years, prices for cows dropped, but the price of processed beef remained high. In a May letter to U.S. Attorney General William Barr, Reyes wrote that this has resulted in higher profit margins for meatpackers, and he wants to know if they have coordinated their efforts. — Caroline Ballard


McCluskey Family Files Second Suit

The family of Lauren McCluskey filed a second lawsuit Monday against the state and the University of Utah for violations of state law in her death. Another lawsuit filed by the McCluskey family in June 2019 is currently underway for violations of federal law. In October 2018, Lauren McCluskey was shot and killed on campus by her ex-boyfriend. She had previously reported her harassment and stalking to university police. The new complaint claims her death was caused by negligence and unequal treatment due to her sex, which are violations of the Utah State Constitution. Lawyers for the family say the State of Utah therefore cannot claim immunity in the case. — Caroline Ballard

Theaters Around Northern Utah Reopening

Some Utah theaters are reopening in various ways after the coronavirus pandemic caused them to close. At the Parker Theatre in Salt Lake City, audience members will be separated by entire rows and attendees are required to wear face masks. Actors will also be socially distanced, with each standing on an individual platform. The Hale Center Theater in Orem began streaming recordings of past performances through its website in March, with a new show each weekend. CenterPoint Legacy Theatre in Centerville will also be streaming an online concert performance on Saturday. — Associated Press


Lake Powell Pipeline Impact Statement

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation released a draft environmental impact statement for the proposed Lake Powell Pipeline Monday. The document considers the potential environmental effects of two routes for the pipeline, as well as a “no action alternative.” The preferred route would go around the Kaibab Indian Reservation, whereas the other route would follow the road that cuts through it. Members of the public have until Sept. 6 to submit comments on the document. — Lexi Peery, St. George


Tuskegee Trials And Modern Day Vaccine Bill

At a Colorado hearing Sunday, opponents of a bill aimed at boosting childhood vaccination rates used an infamous experiment to promote their cause. The Tuskegee Trials spanned 40 years and involved the government using black men with syphilis as guinea pigs, by tracking their condition but not offering available treatment. Erik Underwood, who ran for Colorado governor in 2018, called the bill a “roadblock” to people’s choices. There’s overwhelming medical consensus that vaccines are safe and effective. And the legislation would not take away any options when it comes to vaccine exemptions. Instead, it would require parents to do an online course on vaccines, or get a certificate signed by a health care provider in order to opt out for religious or personal reasons. — Rae Ellen Bichell, Mountain West News Bureau

Rocky Mountain Treasure Found

A bronze chest filled with gold, jewels, and other valuables worth more than $1 million and hidden a decade ago somewhere in the Rocky Mountains has been found. Art and antiquities collector Forrest Fenn hid the treasure when he was recovering from cancer and left clues to its whereabouts in his 2010 memoir. Treasure hunters had flocked to Yellowstone and its environs to find it and at least five people died searching for the prize. The 89-year-old Fenn told the Santa Fe New Mexican on Sunday that someone found the chest a few days ago and sent him a photo for confirmation. — Kamila Kudelska, Mountain West News Bureau

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