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PM News Brief: Mask Mandate Extended, Utah AG Joins Election Suit & Protests At Officials’ Front Doors

A photo of disposable face masks.
Chelsea Naughton
/
KUER
Utah will extend its statewide mask order through Dec. 17. This story and more in Wednesday evening's news brief.

Wednesday evening, December 9, 2020

State

Utah Mask Mandate Extended

Utah will extend its statewide mask order through Dec. 17. This requires people to wear face masks in places where it is impossible to social distance outside the home. Other restrictions put in place by the state include limits on certain public gatherings and extracurricular activities. The state reported 2,574 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday, and for the second day in a row, a reported 23 more people died from the disease. One of them was a Utah County male younger than 25. Currently 581 people are hospitalized. — Caroline Ballard

Rep. Bishop Suffers “Mild” Stroke

Rep. Rob Bishop, R-UT, said he experienced a "mild stroke" earlier this week. The Salt Lake Tribune reports Bishop had blurred vision and some balance issues on one side of his body, but was released from a Washington D.C. hospital Wednesday. The Utah Representative will retire after this year's session ends. — Caroline Ballard

Reyes Joins Election Lawsuit

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes signed on to a brief Wednesday in support of a Texas lawsuit to block four states from voting for President-elect Joe Biden in the electoral college. The lawsuit claims that pandemic-related changes to elections violated federal laws.The majority of similar lawsuits have been thrown out and there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud. Reyes said in a statement that he has “great confidence” in Utah’s elections, which have been conducted by mail for years, and that “without the Supreme Court reviewing this matter and rendering its impartial judgment, there will always be questions regarding election integrity.” — Sonja Hutson

Transit Agencies Look For Relief Dollars

The Utah Transit Authority and eight other major transit agencies in the country are asking Congress to pass a coronavirus relief package with funding for public transportation. UTA Executive Director Carolyn Gonot said during a press conference Wednesday overall ridership is down 60%, but essential workers and lower income communities still rely on the service. The transit authority received $187 million of federal coronavirus funding earlier this year from the CARES Act. Utah Sen. Mitt Romney said Tuesday the latest bipartisan proposal for federal aid includes $45 billion for transportation needs — including airlines. — Sonja Hutson

Region/Nation

Protests On Officials’ Doorsteps

Anti-mask and lockdown protesters are targeting public health officials and politicians across our region. In Boise this week, one county commissioner’s 12-year-old son was home alone when protesters showed up there. City officials in Orem, Utah passed an ordinance that limits picketing in front of a private residence. A similar ordinance was backed by the Supreme Court in the late 80’s. The court said people’s rights to peace in their own home overruled the right to protest in front of it. — Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau

Last week, the Daily Herald reported that both Lehi and Spanish Fork are considering their own ordinances to limit picketing at private residences.