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PM News Brief: Tax Cut Bill Passes, Biden Executive Orders & EPA Settlement

An illustration of Joe Biden.
Pixabay
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President Joe Biden signed an executive order on his first day in office to begin the process of undoing former President Donald Trump’s public lands legacy. This story and more in Wednesday evening's news brief.

Wednesday evening, January 20, 2021

State

Utah Health Officials Report More Than 2,100 COVID-19 Cases

Utah saw more than 2,100 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday. It’s the state’s highest single day total since Saturday, but the percent of positive tests continues to drop. It’s now just below 19 % — down from nearly 28% a week ago. Ten more Utahns have died from COVID-19 — nine of them were residents of Salt Lake or Utah counties. — Ross Terrell

Utah Senate Passes First Tax Relief Bill

The Utah Senate passed a bill Wednesday that provides around a $44 million tax cut for retired Utahns by reducing state taxes on Social Security income and military pensions. Sen. Wayne Harper, R-Taylorsville, sponsored the bill. He said it’s the first of around $80 million set aside for tax relief this year. Senate President Stuart Adams, R-Layton, has called 2021 the “year of the tax cut.” The bill passed unanimously and now moves to the House for consideration. — Emily Means

Northern Utah

Utah Based Magnesium Company Settles With EPA

A Utah based company has agreed to a settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency. U.S. Magnesium’s plant is in Rowley, Utah — about an hour west of Salt Lake City. As part of the settlement, the company has to build a wall around part of its facility to prevent leaks into the Great Salt Lake. They must also construct a plant to treat their wastewater. The EPA ordered U.S. Magnesium to pay a fine of $250,000 and they will spend at least $37 million to reach the terms of the settlement. — Ross Terrell

Southern Utah

Biden Signs Executive Order Aimed At Reviewing Two Monuments In Utah

President Joe Biden signed an executive order on his first day in office to begin the process of undoing former President Donald Trump’s public lands legacy. It includes a promise to review a long list of administrative changes, as well as those to national monuments. Aaron Weiss with the Center for Western Priorities said the order directs agency heads to review most of the major changes made to public lands under Trump. But Weiss said the actions won’t all be reversed at once. And the restoration of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments likely won’t happen immediately, either. Still, proponents are celebrating the move, while Utah’s congressional delegation is asking Biden to candle the monument boundary review. Read the full story.Kate Groetzinger, Bluff

Region/Nation

President Biden Unveils New Immigration Plan On Day One

President Joe Biden’s immigration plan will offer millions of undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship, including an estimated 595,000 in our region. Political observers said this goal is achievable but only with Republican support in the House and the Senate. — Stephanie Serrano, Mountain West News Bureau

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