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PM News Brief: Utah’s Apple Settlement, Wild Horse Herding & Mask Mandate Effectiveness

A photo of wild horses in Utah.
Courtesy of Bureau of Land Management
On Sunday, the Bureau of Land Management will resettle wild horses in western Utah to control the population. This story and more in Monday evening's news brief.

Monday evening, November 23, 2020

State

Utah State Senator Drafting Bill To Increase Affordable Housing Units

Utah Sen. Jake Anderegg, R-Lehi, is pursuing a bill aimed at helping local governments subsidize the construction of affordable housing. The bill, which is still being drafted, would require a state agency to compile a list of unused properties owned by state and local governments and encourage them to donate suitable property to affordable housing developments. The bill would also allow local governments to designate what Anderegg is calling “housing reinvestment zones.” In those areas, local governments would be able to take a certain percent of property tax from new affordable housing developments and use it to subsidize low income rents. Read the full story. — Sonja Hutson

Two Weeks After COVID-19 Health Orders, Utah Still Seeing Case Surge

Two weeks after Gov. Gary Herbert issued a statewide mask mandate and a ban on some social gatherings, Utah continues to see a surge in new COVID-19 cases. The gathering ban ended Monday, but Herbert is urging Utahns to keep them small, especially during the holidays. “We think it’s a bit of a stretch to say to people, we’re gonna tell you what to do in the walls of your own home,” Herbert said. “It doesn’t mean the risk has been any less over the past two weeks and we’re asking people to voluntarily comply with good protocol.” The Utah Department of Health reported 2,244 new cases of COVID-19 Monday. Four more people have died from the disease and 545 people are currently hospitalized. — Sonja Hutson

Utah Receives $1.5 Million As Part Of Apple Settlement

Utah's Department of Commerce is part of a $113 million settlement with Apple, regarding battery life and slower operation of iPhones dating back to 2016. More than 30 state attorneys general alleged that Apple intentionally slowed down the speed of iPhones with a new software update — in order to cover up a malfunction that caused the phones to randomly shut down. It goes on to say that Apple profited from this cover-up because people bought new devices when they didn't have to. As part of the settlement, Utah is receiving $1.5 million and Apple agreed to be more transparent about the functionality of its technology. — Roddy Nikpour

Three People Charged With Illegal Firearm Purchases In Utah

Three people have been charged in Utah for trying to illegally purchase guns over the past three months. The complaint alleges Erick and Christopher Lopez and Bryan Rodriguez, all from California, traveled to Utah between August and November to obtain 27 pistols. One of the firearms was later recovered during a traffic stop in Arizona involving a convicted felon and traced back to the two Lopez men. If found guilty, the defendants face a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. — Ross Terrell

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

Central Utah

Bureau Of Land Management Resettling Nearly 500 Horses

On Sunday, the Bureau of Land Management will resettle wild horses in western Utah to control the population. The gathering will last about two weeks and they'll be moving nearly 500 horses from Fillmore to Axtell. The BLM is permitting the public to view the event, but officials said it's adhering to COVID-19 safety measures — like requiring masks, social distancing and not allowing sick people to participate. — Roddy Nikpour

Region/Nation

New Study Advocates For The Importance Of Mask Mandates

New findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reinforce the importance of wearing a mask to slow the spread of COVID-19. In the Mountain West region, Idaho and Wyoming are still without statewide mask mandates, though Utah’s mask mandate has been extended through Dec. 8. Health experts say mandates are important because they create a stronger public buy-in and pressure to abide. — Beau Baker, Mountain West News Bureau