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PM News Brief: Cox And Peterson Ad, Don Ipson On Police K-9s & Student Loan Contract

A screenshot of the Stand United ad from Chris Peterson and Spencer Cox.
Screenshot from the Peterson & Cox #StandUnited Ad Campaign
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Utah Gubernatorial candidates Republican Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox and Democrat Chris Peterson released three ads Tuesday promoting civility in politics. This story and more in this evening's news brief.

Tuesday evening, October 20, 2020

State

Cox And Peterson Release Join Ad About Accepting Election Results

Utah Gubernatorial candidates Republican Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox and Democrat Chris Peterson released three ads Tuesday promoting civility in politics. Appearing together, they each said they would fully support the results of November’s election and encouraged Utahns to do the same. In recent weeks, President Donald Trump has been noncommittal about accepting the outcome of the election if he loses, but the White House says Trump and his administration will take the results either way. Early voting in Utah starts Tuesday and the voter registration deadline is Friday. — Darienne DeBrule

Ipson Says People Should Stay Home To Avoid Police K-9 Bites

Utah state Sen. Don Ipson, R-St. George, suggested Tuesday during a legislative committee meeting that if people don’t want to be bitten by police dogs, they should stay home. Ipson made the comments while he and lawmakers were discussing changing training requirements for police K-9s. The committee voted to work on a bill codifying best practices for canine training into law, and Ipson argued that it should not constrain police efforts. Last month, Salt Lake City referred more than half of its police dog bite incidents to the District Attorney for further review. — Sonja Hutson

Rural Utah Receiving Federal CARES Act Funding

Utah is receiving nearly $400,000 in federal CARES Act money to create rural opportunity zones and increase investments in communities. An opportunity zone is a federal designation meant to help the economy by encouraging long-term investments in low income areas. The money from the Economic Development Administration is being given to the Sorenson Impact Center at the University of Utah and to the Utah Association of Counties. Sen. Mitt Romney, R-UT, said in a statement the funding will help rural communities and businesses stay open and keep their employees. — Ross Terrell

Utah COVID-19 Update

Utah’s Department of Health reported an increase of 1,081 COVID-19 cases Tuesday and 291 people are currently hospitalized with the disease. Five more people have also died from the disease. The percent of tests coming back positive has been increasing over the past few weeks and is nearing 15% up a full percentage point from a week ago. On Monday the Intermountain Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George opened a surge intensive care unit to respond to increasing hospitalizations there. Statewide, 69% of all ICU beds are currently occupied. — Caroline Ballard

Utah Not Signing On To Google Lawsuit; Pursuing Other Avenues

The Utah Attorney General’s office is not joining the U.S. Department of Justice’s antitrust lawsuit against Google. Instead, it’s looking into taking separate action along with seven other states. In a release Tuesday, the Attorneys General of Utah, Iowa, Colorado, Arizona, Tennessee, New York, North Carolina and Nebraska said they will conclude a parallel investigation into the company in coming weeks. After that is finished, the states will decide if they’ll file a complaint. Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes said the state’s case may address “additional issues.” — Caroline Ballard

UHEAA Ends Federal Student Loan Contract

The Utah Higher Education Assistance Authority has ended its contract with the federal office of student aid and will layoff nearly 150 employees beginning in January. The education authority said it serviced loans over the past nine years but the contract has led to financial losses. The loans, handled through the agency’s program called CornerStone Education Loan Services, will be transferred to other federal providers in the coming months. The agency said the employees affected by the layoffs are call center operators and loan processors. — Ross Terrell

Northern Utah

Salt Lake County Unveils 2021, $1.3 Billion Budget

Despite a rocky year, Salt Lake County is projecting a budget surplus for 2021. Mayor Jenny Wilson said that is largely because the county was able to deal swiftly with 2020’s many curveballs, which included five emergency declarations, an influx of new activity for some departments and a near-complete shut down for others. She said the proposed budget of $1.3 billion dollars — down from $1.4 last billion last year — allows for a modest salary increase for county employees and also provides stability to handle the ongoing uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic. Read the full story. Jon Reed

Region/Nation

30 By 30 Plan To Protect Public Lands

This week a coalition of 13 hunting and angling groups said they are embracing a plan to protect at least 30% of all land and water in the country by the year 2030. They are joining Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden who already signed onto the plan. It’s called “30 by 30” and it was initially proposed by the United Nations earlier this year. — Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau