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PM Brief: Becky Edwards’ signatures, USU equity report & addressing MMIW crisis

Lake Powell
Courtesy Utah State University
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From August 2020 to July of 2021, nearly 600 reports of sexual misconduct or discrimination were filed at Utah State University. That story and more in this evening's news brief.

Tuesday evening, Mar. 8, 2022

State

Utah Senate president defends Legislature’s surprise move 

Utah Senate President Stuart Adams defended the Legislature’s surprise, last-minute move to pass a bill banning transgender girls from playing school sports. After more than a year of negotiations, the Legislature seemed ready to pass a bill that would create a commission to decide if individual trans athletes could play. Then, just hours before the end of the session, the Senate took up a new version that completely banned transgender girls from school sports. Adams said that process represents “good government.” Sen. Gene Davis, D-Salt Lake City, said he was blindsided by the move. Transgender activists and Gov. Spencer Cox have all said they were surprised by the move. Cox has promised to veto the bill. Read the full story. — Sonja Hutson

Senate candidate Becky Edwards submits more than 28,000 signatures 

Republican Senate Candidate Becky Edwards has submitted enough signatures to qualify for the primary ballot. Her campaign said they turned in more than 28,000. But they still need to be verified by the State Elections Office. Edwards’ team said they’ll keep gathering signatures in the meantime. She is challenging Sen. Mike Lee, R-UT, who is likely to qualify for the primary ballot through a nomination from the state GOP convention. In a recent poll, more than 50% of registered Republicans said they would back Lee in a primary. Only 5% said they would vote for Edwards. But 37% were still undecided. — Sonja Hutson 

Northern Utah

Utah State University releases first equity report 

From August 2020 to July of 2021, nearly 600 reports of sexual misconduct or discrimination were filed at Utah State University. That included about 400 unique incidents, since some were reported multiple times. That’s according to data released Tuesday by the university’s Office of Equity. The highest number of complaints came from non-Title IX sexual misconduct cases. Most of those were allegations of a hostile environment. The data also found 74% of complainants were women. — Ross Terrell 

Region/Nation

Navajo Nation delegate calls for more federal help with MMIW 

A recent congressional hearing discussed the disproportionate rate of women and girls of color who go missing in the U.S. In 2020, about 40% of them were people of color, according to the U.S. House committee. Yet they make up a much smaller percentage of the population. Now, Navajo Nation Council Delegate Amber Kanazbah Crotty is calling for more federal support. Crotty said there have been some victories surrounding missing and murdered Indigenous peoples, like gaining access to Amber Alerts in tribal lands. She also thinks it’s taking the federal government a long time to establish a multi-agency commission to address the crisis. — Emma Gibson, Mountain West New Bureau

Full-time jobs returning to Mountain West region 

The number of people unable to get full-time work went down across our region last year as the economy started recovering from COVID’s impact. But some states are seeing more improvement than others. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were fewer people working part-time who wanted full-time work last year than in 2020. In Utah for example, that number dropped to almost half of what it had been during the pandemic’s peak. In Nevada, there was only a modest improvement in the number of people who were involuntarily working part-time. But the number of unemployed people declined dramatically. Wyoming saw a relatively small correction, too. In general, unemployment rates in the Mountain West tracked national trends, with two exceptions: New Mexico and Nevada, which rely heavily on tourism. — Bert Johnson, Mountain West News Bureau

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