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AM News Brief: Salt Lake County Masks, Americans Take On Climate Change & Glen Canyon Fire Restricti

Photo of the lake
ventdusud via iStock
Stage 2 fire restrictions are now in place at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area that includes Lake Powell. This and more in the Friday morning news brief.

Friday morning, June 26, 2020

Northern Utah

The U Not Requiring ACT or SAT Test Scores For Fall 2021

The University of Utah is dropping its requirements for ACT or SAT scores for admission. It’s a two-year pilot program that starts with applications for the Fall of 2021. A university official said this is a way to help students who have had problems taking the standardized tests because of the COVID-19 pandemic and that it helps decrease the cost of applying for college. The University will rely on things like high school GPA and course rigor to judge applicants. — Elaine Clark

Governor Grants Salt Lake County Request To Require Masks

Salt Lake County can now require people to wear face coverings in public to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Earlier this week, county Mayor Jenny Wilson asked the governor for permission to require masks. The governor granted her request Thursday. COVID cases have spiked in Utah. Over the past week the state has averaged about 500 new cases a day. Gov. Gary Herbert has also required face coverings to be worn in all state buildings, like liquor stores and DMV offices. — Ross Terrell

Southern Utah

Tax Reform Bill Key Issue In Southern Utah House Race

A dozen incumbent legislators in Utah are facing primary challengers this year. And for many current legislators, the rallying cry against them is about their involvement in the controversial tax reform bill passed at the end of 2019. In Southern Utah, the race between Rep. Brad Last, R- Hurricane, and Willie Billings is centered on it. Last defended his vote for the tax reform bill, saying it would have lowered taxes by $160 million while Billings has campaigned on increasing public education funding, something that would have dropped had the bill passed. The primary election is June 30. Read the full story.Lexi Peery, St. George

Glen Canyon Fire Restrictions

Stage 2 fire restrictions are now in place at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area that includes Lake Powell. Hot, dry conditions mean a ban on all wood-burning and charcoal fires except in provided rings or structures at developed areas. Smoking is prohibited, except in a vehicle, at a developed site, or in barren areas cleared of dry grass and other flammable material. Using any kind of fireworks or pyrotechnics is always prohibited on all public lands. Rangers said fire danger is high because of the heat and low humidity. — Diane Maggipinto

Zion National Park Shuttle Buses Return

Zion National Park rangers are rolling out the shuttle buses again. Park officials said the system that serves Zion Canyon Scenic Drive will resume July 1. Visitors will need a ticket to ride the timed shuttle. That will be the rule until the end of the year, when the park service will reevaluate conditions. Tickets are a dollar each and everyone must have one — including annual pass holders and those with reservations at park campgrounds and Zion Lodge. Tickets must be purchased in advance starting Tuesday, for the month of July. Sales for August rides start in mid-July. — Diane Maggipinto


Lawsuit Filed To Get Reyes’ Campaign Donations Disclosed

A man in Beaver County has filed a motion to disclose Attorney General Sean Reyes’ campaign contributions. Paul Darwin Picklesimer filed the suit in fifth district court. In it, he asks the court to disclose campaign donors to see whether special interests are influencing the attorney general. Picklesimer specifically points to meat packer Smithfield Foods, which in the past has contributed to Republican committees and campaigns. Reyes recently called for a federal investigation into Smithfield and other meatpacking companies over whether they have been price-fixing the meat market. — Caroline Ballard

Utah COVID Update

Utah reported its second-highest daily number of new confirmed cases of COVID-19 Thursday, as 590 new daily cases were announced. That’s second behind only the 643 reported Saturday. The state has averaged 503 cases per day over the last week. That's more than double the 200-per-day rate the state's epidemiologist recommended as a target by July 1 to avoid having to close down parts of the economy. — Associated Press

Utahns Can Mail In Ballots On Election Day, Unlike In The Past

Utah voters will have extra time to vote in the primary election June 30. Lawmakers passed a bill in April that allows voters to mail in ballots on June 30. That revises the old statute that mandated ballots be postmarked the day before Election Day. Results won't be released until two hours after the polls close. These changes are temporary for this primary election. — Associated Press


Most Americans Want More Done About Climate Change

Two thirds of Americans think the federal government could be doing more to reduce the impacts of climate change. That’s according to a new Pew Research report. It found broad support for federal actions like planting millions of trees. And a majority of both Democrats and Republicans also supported tax credits for carbon capture and storage projects and taxing corporations more based on emissions. — Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau

Federal Aid Has Slowed Poverty Rise 

A new analysis from Columbia University shows that government assistance during the COVID-19 crisis has kept the poverty rate from increasing drastically. The research from the university’s Center on Poverty and Social Policy shows the $2 trillion relief aid packages will potentially prevent 12 million people from falling into poverty this year. — Amanda Peacher, Mountain West News Bureau

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