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PM News Brief: Burgess Owens Endorsement, Romney SCOTUS Vote & Near Record COVID-19 Cases

4th CD Debate
Kristin Murphy
/
Deseret News
Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, who is also the Republican candidate for governor, is endorsing Burgess Owens for Congress. Owens, a former NFL player, is running as a Republican to represent Utah’s 4th congressional district. This story and more in Thursday evening's news brief.

Thursday evening, October 15, 2020

State

Department Of Corrections Addresses COVID-19 Outbreak

According to the Utah Department of Corrections, there are currently 274 active COVID-19 cases at the Utah State Prison in Draper. On Thursday, Executive Director Mike Haddon said most are part of an outbreak in one facility there, but there are also a few cases in the women’s units. The department has implemented a number of health and safety procedures in response to the coronavirus pandemic. But the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah said there’s more to be done. Read the full story.Emily Means

Romney To Vote Favorably For Amy Coney Barrett

Sen. Mitt Romney, R- UT, announced Thursday that he will vote to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court. “I believe she’s highly qualified, I think she has distinguished herself in the hearing to date and I anticipate giving her my full support when it comes to the floor,” Romney said. Last month, he said he would vote on a nominee if one reached the senate floor, pushing back against Democrats who said with Election Day being so close, the next president should make the pick to fill the seat. When pressed by reporters Thursday on whether he thought the vote should be postponed, he said that is a decision for the judiciary committee and the majority leader to make. — Elaine Clark

Utah Three Cases Shy Of Single Day COVID-19 Record

Utah health officials reported Thursday, the state’s second highest number of COVID-19 cases in a single day, with 1,498. It’s just three shy of the record set a week ago. It comes as new health restrictions went into effect Thursday. Six counties are in the high transmission level, meaning masks are required and casual social gatherings, like birthdays or friends getting together, are limited to 10 or fewer people. Fifteen counties are in the moderate level and public health officials have directed masks to be worn in those locations until Oct. 29. — Ross Terrell

Utah Unemployment Claims Remain Steady

New unemployment claims held steady last week, as just over 4,600 people applied for first-time benefits. That’s according to numbers released Thursday by the state Department of Workforce Services. But even with new claims remaining relatively consistent, the state has seen an overall drop in continued claims for nearly three months. About 3,500 people ended their unemployment claims last week though nearly 20,000 did the week before. Department officials said many industries are hiring and they are offering low-cost or free job training programs to help people get back to work. — Jon Reed

Northern Utah

SLCPD Undergoing Sensory Inclusivity Training

More than a month after officers from the Salt Lake City Police Department shot an unarmed 13-year-old autistic boy, department officials announced Thursday all first responders in the city — including firefighters and 911 dispatchers — will undergo sensory inclusivity training. Department and city officials said SLCPD is the first police department in the country to undergo the training, designed to help them better understand and respond to the needs of people with sensory needs and other hidden disabilities, such as autism, post-traumatic stress disorder and Parkinson’s disease. Read the full story.Jon Reed

Salt Lake City To Restart Parking Enforcement

Salt Lake City will resume enforcement of several parking ordinances that were suspended back in March, at the start of the pandemic. Things like timed parking on certain streets, storing motored homes or trailers on roads, and stopping and parking in designated areas will be enforced again. The resumption will begin on Nov. 1 and city officials say they will give out warning citations leading up to then. — Bob Nelson

Utah Man Sentenced To Life In Prison For Drug Ring

A Utah man convicted of building a multimillion-dollar dark-web drug ring from his suburban basement was sentenced to life in prison Thursday. Aaron Shamo was convicted of shipping fake prescription drugs nationwide from his home in suburban Salt Lake City during the nation's opioid epidemic. He was found guilty of a dozen counts in August 2019, including one for running a criminal enterprise that carries a mandatory life sentence. The case was a glimpse at how fentanyl can be imported from China, pressed into fake pills and sold through online black markets to people in every state. — Associated Press

Burgess Owens Lands Endorsement From Spencer Cox

Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, who is also the Republican candidate for governor, is endorsing Burgess Owens for Congress. Owens, a former NFL player, is running as a Republican to represent Utah’s 4th congressional district. Cox said in a statement “I trust Burgess Owens to be a strong voice for all Utahns in Congress and to uphold our Constitution with integrity and honor.“ Owens is running against Rep. Ben McAdams, D-UT, who won the seat in 2018. — Sonja Hutson

Region And Beyond

People’s Rights Network Spreading Across The Mountain West

The far-right group People’s Rights Network is rapidly spreading across the region. It now has about 20,000 members, according to the Montana Human Rights Network and the Institute for Education and Research on Human rights. Those organizations wrote a report that profiled dozens of local People’s Rights leaders in the region. Those local leaders include anti-vaxxers, anti-maskers, militia members and conspiracy theorists, among others. Report authors hope their work prompts people within the group to leave it, and have communities work to push it out. — Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau