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Photo of a person wearing a face mask waiting to cross the street
Brian Albers / KUER

Utah’s Democratic candidate for governor Chris Peterson added his voice to a growing number of Democrats in the state calling for a statewide mask mandate to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Photo of ballot envelope.
Renee Bright / KUER

Utah state Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, plans to sponsor a bill that would prohibit organizations, like political campaigns, from turning in voters’ ballots for them. 

Photo of balconies on a red brick apartment building
Jason Finn via iStock

Utah renters would need to make almost $20 an hour to afford a typical two-bedroom apartment or home. But the average renter in the state makes about $5 less than that.

via Riverton City Website

The Midvale City Council recently stalled on a decision to pull out of the Unified Police Department. And on July 1, Taylorsville voted to leave UPD to form its own, more community-based law enforcement agency.

Photo of the outside of a building that says "Four Corners Regional Care Center"
Kate Groetzinger / KUER

Dalene Redhorse lost her dad and her grandfather over the weekend. Both lived at the Four Corners Regional Care Center in Blanding and tested positive for COVID-19 last week. 

Lexi Peery/ KUER News

Over 40% of COVID-19 cases in Utah are Latinos but they only make up about 14% of Utah’s population. Often a lack of access to health care services leaves these populations vulnerable. 

Photo of Republican ballot.
Caroline Ballard / KUER

In the two months leading up to the June Republican primary election, more than 73,000 Utahns registered with the Utah GOP. 

Some Democrats and left-leaning unaffiliated voters temporarily switched their affiliations to participate, since only registered Republicans could vote in the primary. 

Photo of a row of colorful houses
Jason Finn via iStock

Homeownership among Black Americans is at its lowest level since 1968. That’s according to a new study out of Brigham Young University and published in the journal Race and Social Problems. As of last year, just 41% of Black Americans owned homes, compared to nearly 75% of white Americans. KUER’s Caroline Ballard spoke with the study’s author, assistant professor of sociology at BYU, Jacob Rugh, about the implications of those numbers. 

Stock image of three doctors walking in a hospital hallway
kzenon via iStock

Utah’s medical community is calling on state officials to mandate wearing face masks in public. In a press conference Friday, representatives from the state’s largest health care systems said they’re concerned about recent spikes in coronavirus case numbers, and worry the state’s hospitals could soon be overrun. 

a trail on Photo of a hillside overlooking downtown Salt Lake City
Michlaovic / Public Domain

Congressman Rob Bishop, R-Utah, has temporarily blocked passage of the Great American Outdoors Act, which would guarantee full annual funding for a popular conservation program Bishop has taken issue with in the past.

Protesters covered the Salt Lake County District Attorney's office building with posters and paint on Thursday, July 9 after a ruling that the use of deadly force by police officers who killed Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal was justified.
Ross Terrell / KUER

Gov. Gary Herbert has declared a state of emergency until July 13, following a protest in Salt Lake City calling for justice for Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal. 

Photo of five people sitting, wearing masks and holding up a framed photo of a man
Emily Means / KUER

Updated 6:11 p.m. MDT 7/9/2020

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill ruled Thursday morning that the officers’ use of deadly force was justified in the shooting of Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal.

Photo of Gov. Gary Herbert wearing a face covering.
Laura Seitz / Deseret News / Pool Photo

Gov. Gary Herbert announced Thursday that he will not mandate face coverings in public places across the state, the day after the state reported a record number of daily cases. Herbert instead issued a “challenge” to Utahns to wear face masks in public and comply with social distancing guidelines, to get to less than 500 new daily cases by August 1. 

Photo of a dam stopping water between red rock cliffs
istock.com / sjgh

Draft plans for the Lake Powell Pipeline have the project running through sacred and culturally significant lands to the Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians.

Renee Bright / KUER

Updated 5:54 p.m. MDT 7/8/2020

Utahns voted in an influential primary election June 30. There is an open seat for Governor for the first time since 2004, and four Republicans are vying for their party’s nomination. Utah’s incumbent Attorney General Sean Reyes is being challenged by another Republican. The 1st Congressional District is an open seat for the first time since 2002, andRepublicans and Democrats are facing off in their own primaries for the chance to compete for the seat in November. 

Rufus and Marsha Ellington
Kate Groetzinger/ KUER News

Warning: this report includes offensive language.

Updated 12:18 p.m. 7/8/20

Residents of Price and nearby Helper have revived calls for the Price City police chief to step down, due to concerns that he is racially biased. Calls for his resignation first came in 2017, after Brandon Sicilia, then a sergeant, posted derogatory comments about Black and Muslim people on Facebook, and again in 2019, when he was promoted to police chief. 

Headshots of each candidate cropped into one image
University of Utah website and Spencer Cox campaign

Utah Republicans have selected Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox as their nominee for Utah governor. Cox will now face Democrat and University of Utah law professor Chris Peterson in the general election.

Photo of cars lined up on a snowy road.
Chelsea Naughton / KUER

Plans are moving ahead to tackle traffic on one of Utah’s most crowded ski roads — LIttle Cottonwood Canyon, which takes drivers from the east side of Salt Lake County up to ski resorts like Alta and Snowbird. 

Nighttime photo of a crowd wearing masks and holding candles.
Lexi Peery / KUER

One-third of the inmates at Washington County’s jail have tested positive for COVID-19 and family members say officials didn’t provide adequate protection against the virus. 

Photo of a young man in bed with a computer on his lap talking to a doctor.
iStock.com / YakobchukOlena

The Food and Drug Administration has approved an Emergency Use Authorization for an at-home COVID-19 test from Kroger Health, a division of the same company that owns Smith’s Food and Drug in Utah. The test will be available to Utah companies and organizations by the end of July. 

Photo of an American flag waving in front of a red rock cliff
WeMcLaughlins via iStock

Independence Day is often seen as a day to commemorate the founding of the country, to reflect on American values and celebrate freedom. But as protests against racial injustices and police brutality continue in Utah and across the country, some are marking the holiday by focusing instead on the progress they hope to see. 

Photo of an empty classroom
iStock.com / Ridofranz

The coronavirus pandemic has fundamentally altered education in Utah, when learning was forced from the classroom to the computer. For some teachers, the ongoing challenges of online learning, along with an uncertain health risk come fall, have them questioning if they can stick with teaching. 

Photo of a mailbox covered with "i voted" stickers
BackyardProduction via iStock

County clerks in Utah are still counting ballots from Tuesday’s primary election.

A woman in a red vest looks at a display of missing persons posters.
Courtesy of Meskee Yatsayte

State and federal officials are launching new efforts to address the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Utah, after a nationwide study called attention to the issue in 2018. 

Photo of an instructor hosting online summer camp.
Courtesy Hogle Zoo

Normally when the last bell of the school year rings, students race out of the classroom, throw away old assignments and get excited for summer plans. But the coronavirus pandemic has thrown a wrench in those plans, forcing families to reevaluate and make adjustments. 

Photo of a man standing outside
Courtesy of the Chris Wilson campaign

In a stunning upset, state Sen. Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, has been ousted by a political newcomer after 35 years in the Utah Senate and nearly 40 years in the state Legislature. 

Photo of USPS mail box with an election sign telling voters not to drop ballots here.
Elaine Clark / KUER

Utahns voted in a very influential primary election Tuesday. There's the open governor's seat, a congressional swing district ... Most races, though, are still up in the air this morning. KUER’s politics team Sonja Hutson and Emily Means joined Diane Maggipinto to break down what happened.

A group of people standing on the sidewalk.
Kate Groetzinger/ KUER News

Masks are a contentious issue in Moab. Local officials have pushed visitors to voluntarily use them since tourism resumed, but many visitors aren’t complying. Now, the Grand County Council is pushing to make face coverings mandatory inside all public places and businesses. 

Photo of a house in a neighborhood
Pablo Zarate / For KUER

Utah has provided nearly $134,000 in rental assistance to 112 people since mid-May, when the governor’s eviction freeze ended. 

Photo of a mail-in ballot
Elaine Clark / KUER

Tuesday is Utah’s primary election, but because of COVID-19 it looks fairly different. No lines to polling places, voting booths or “I Voted” stickers — because the primary election is being conducted almost entirely by mail. Utah has embraced mail-in voting in the past, but never on this scale. To better understand what the lasting impact of this could be, KUER’s Caroline Ballard spoke with Marie Paxton Staniforth, an assistant professor of political science at Westminster College in Salt Lake City. 

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