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PM Brief: Utah Supreme Court nomination, illegal pet raccoons & child labor violations

A raccoon in a cage.
Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
Utah wildlife officials removed four raccoons from a home in Roosevelt that were being kept as pets. Keeping unpermitted wildlife is a Class B misdemeanor.

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

State

Pandemic leads to higher turnover in healthcare industry 

The pandemic increased turnover in the healthcare industry and created a new sense of urgency to find replacements. But hospital leaders say Utah colleges aren’t graduating people fast enough. The two groups have been working together for over a decade to create more capacity, and officials with the Utah System of Higher Education said nursing faculty has more than tripled since 2007. But some programs have hundreds more applicants than they can accept. Tiffiny Lipscomb with Intermountain Healthcare said that’s making it hard to fill their 3,000 open positions. The state Legislature provided $2 million this year to help colleges expand their medical training, but it won’t go into effect until the fall of 2023. Read the full story. — Jon Reed 

Judge Diana Hagen nominated to Utah Supreme Court 

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox has nominated Judge Diana Hagen to serve as a Utah Supreme Court justice. She was picked to fill the vacancy left by Justice Deno Himonas whose last day was March 1. He was appointed to the court in 2015. Hagen has been an appellate court judge since June 2017. She was appointed to that position by former Gov. Gary Herbert. Hagen grew up in Ogden and received her law degree from the University of Utah. Her appointment to the court still needs approval from the state Senate. Public comment on Hagen’s nomination will be accepted by the Senate until April 11. — Ross Terrell 

Don’t keep wildlife, especially raccoons, as pets 

Earlier this month, Utah wildlife officials removed four raccoons from a home in Roosevelt that were being kept as pets. The raccoons were brought to Utah when the family moved here. So now, the state’s Division of Wildlife Resources has a message: it is against the law to keep wild animals as pets without a permit and also not safe. Over the past three years, 10 of the animals have been seized for being kept illegally. People caught keeping unpermitted animals as a pet — like coyotes, gophers and ground squirrels, may be cited and charged with a misdemeanor. — Ross Terrell 

Northern Utah

Salt Lake City on notice for potential child labor violations

The U.S. Department of Labor announced Tuesday it’s ramping up efforts to crack down on child labor violations in the Salt Lake City area. The warning comes about two months before schools close. The labor department said that’s also when demand for summer workers grows. Last year, the Wage and Hour division investigated more than 100 hundred cases in the Southwest region. They found nearly 400 minors employed were in violation of federal regulations. That included Utah — where the owners of a Five Guys restaurant in Ogden were ordered to pay more than $17,000 in fines. Two other business, Wiggy Wash Corp. and Kent’s Market, were also cited for violating child labor laws. — Ross Terrell 

Region/Nation

Colorado’s pauses demand management investigations

Colorado’s top water agency is pausing investigations into “demand management,” a program that would pay people to use less water and send it to Lake Powell for storage. Amy Ostdiek, with the Colorado Water Conservation Board, said demand management is a limited tool that would serve a limited purpose and has a lot of constraints on it.” Ostdiek said a big motivation now is where they can be proactive. She said Colorado is waiting to hear more from neighboring states in the Upper Basin, since a demand management program would require agreement from Utah, New Mexico and Wyoming. Ongoing drought is forcing water managers to conserve within states and across the Colorado River basin. — Alex Hager, KUNC

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