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AM Brief: Intermountain’s 2M COVID tests, Utah man’s conviction vacated & Cox signs 67 bills

Utah National Guard Soldiers and Airmen assist state in COVID-19 response
Tech. Sgt. John Winn
151st Air Refueling Wing
Airman First Class Mary Lawrence, a medical technician assigned to the 151st Medical Group, conducts a COVID-19 test on a member of the Utah National Guard at a supply warehouse, May 14, 2020 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Tuesday, Mar. 22, 2022


Changing demographics challenge school districts

Shifting demographics are forcing school districts in Utah to confront some very different challenges. Some areas are rapidly growing and schools are looking at expanding, while others are shrinking and may have to consider cutting jobs. Officials in the Jordan School District said they’re going to have an “enrollment problem” very soon, as 10 schools are projected to see a significant influx of new students. The most drastic is in Herriman, where board member Matt Young is proposing to build a new “flexible” building to house fourth through sixth graders. Some districts, like Ogden, are projecting enrollment drops. It’s expecting to lose 1,200 students over the next five years and might have to consolidate some schools. Read the full story. — Jon Reed

Utah governor’s bill-signing pen is busy

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox signed 67 bills Monday across a broad range of issues, including water conservation, Utah Lake and the Inland Port Authority. HB 443 revokes Salt Lake City’s voting membership on the inland port board, among other changes, and SB 216 allows some refugees and asylum seekers to take the driver's license exam in certain native languages. HB 232, in part, creates the Utah Lake Authority, which will implement a plan to manage the lake, and HB 242 requires water users to meter secondary water use. So far, Cox has signed 121 bills from this year’s legislative session. — Leah Treidler

Intermountain reaches COVID testing milestone

Intermountain Healthcare has processed two million COVID tests since the start of the pandemic. IHC collected its first 14 tests on Mar. 13, 2020, and by mid-week, the lab was handling around 200 tests a day. Now, the lab can evaluate 9,500 each day, with the vast majority of patients getting results back within 24 hours. Cases have dropped the past few weeks, but Intermountain officials say they’re prepared in case another wave hits the state. — Leah Treidler

Northern Utah

Utah man’s child sexual abuse sentence vacated

The conviction for a man sentenced for aggravated sexual abuse of a child has been vacated. The Salt Lake County District Attorney’s office vacated Kelly Bingham’s sentence Monday. The Conviction Integrity Unit found the court did not have the jurisdiction to charge Bingham in 2016 because of the statute of limitations that applied to the crimes he committed between 1989 and 1995. The panel said Bingham has worked to address his deviant behavior and put his life back together. But it also said Bingham does not claim he’s innocent — and the panel takes no position on his crimes’ impact on the victim and their family. — Leah Treidler


Boosting internet access in broadband desserts

The Federal Communications Commission is gearing up for public input on ways to combat digital discrimination as part of a new federal effort outlined in President Joe Biden’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The FCC is zooming in on broadband deserts, which disproportionately affect rural residents, tribal communities and low-income families in the Mountain West. Jessica Rosenworcel, chairwoman of the FCC, said infrastructure and cost are the main barriers. The FCC is trying to address this with a first-of-its-kind program that subsidizes broadband for low-income families. — Robyn Vincent, Mountain West News Bureau

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