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PM News Brief: Rob Bishop Testing Range, The Wave & Animal Poachings

A photo of "The Wave."
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Wikimedia Commons
More hikers will soon be able to access the “The Wave.” It’s a sandstone formation known for it’s striped, wavy appearance and it’s just south of the Utah/Arizona border. This story and more in Monday evening's news brief.

Monday evening, January 11, 2021

State

Gov. Spencer Cox Unveils His First Budget Proposal

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox made his official budget recommendations Monday. Cox recommended the state increase the annual budget for public K-12 education by $431 million. He said he wants to make school funding more equitable and he wants lawmakers to look at how the state is spending tax revenue. “We are recommending we fix this by putting a greater emphasis on the statewide property tax for school,” Cox said. The budget proposal also includes $250 million to help with the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. Read the full story. — Sonja Hutson

Utah COVID-19 Update

Utah health officials reported 1,484 new cases of COVID-19 Monday. The percent of tests that came back positive is still hovering around 30.5% and four more Utahns have died from the disease. But more than 103,000 doses of the vaccine have been administered in the state. That’s 738 more doses than Sunday. — Caroline Ballard

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

More Than 1,050 Animals Poached In Utah Last Year

More than 1,050 animals were illegally killed in Utah last year — just a 2% dropped compared to 2019. That’s according to data released Monday by the state’s Division of Wildlife Resources. Even though poachings were down, the number of citations rose. DWR officials issued 773 for unlawful take and wanton destruction. In 2019, they issued about 500 citations. Still, less than half the number of people had their hunting license suspended last year than in 2019. Officials said if people see any suspicious activity, report it online or call their hotline. — Ross Terrell

Northern Utah

Avalanche Forecasters Warning People About Dangerous Conditions

A 31-year-old man died in an avalanche last week in Park City. Utah Avalanche Center forecaster Nikki Champion said there are more people skiing in the back country each year. And because of that, they’re having to increase their communication with skiers. Champion said avalanche conditions are dangerous because the dry season has led to thin snow packs and can easily trigger an event. Avalanche terrain is considered to be steeper than 30 degrees and should be avoided. She recommends sticking to the lower angled slopes for the rest of the season. — Ivana Martinez

Bill Introduced To Name Testing Range After Rob Bishop

The Utah Test and Training Range could soon be named for a former representative. Rep. Chris Stewart, R-UT, introduced a bill Monday to rename the western Utah location in honor of Rob Bishop. He recently retired after 18 years in Congress. Stewart called him a strong and consistent advocate for Hill Air Force Base. The testing range is said to be the only location where the U.S. Department of Defense can test overland cruise missiles. — Ross Terrell

Southern Utah

The Wave Opening Up To More Visitors

More hikers will soon be able to access the “The Wave.” It’s a sandstone formation known for it’s striped, wavy appearance and it’s just south of the Utah/Arizona border. The Bureau of Land Management announced Monday it approved the plans to increase the number of permits it gives out. Until now, only 20 hiking permits were issued a day. That will increase to 64. BLM said demand to hike the formation has skyrocketed recently. In 2018, only 3.6%of people who applied for permits there were able to visit. — Caroline Ballard

Region/Nation

Mountain West Lawmakers Receiving Backlash For Role In D.C. Riot

Some lawmakers are facing a backlash for helping to incite violence in the U.S. Capitol last week. Protesters gathered in several Colorado towns in recent days calling for the removal of Rep. Lauren Boebert. In Montana, two political scientists published an op-ed urging Sen. Steve Daines to resign. Utah Representatives Burgess Owens and Chris Stewart rejected the certification of Electoral votes. The watchdog group Better Utah has called for their resignations. — Robyn Vincent, Mountain West News Bureau