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AM News Brief: Stimulus Debit Cards, Sonic Boom & Investigating Police Officers

IRS Debit Card EC.png
Elaine Clark
/
KUER
That Visa debit card some Utahns have already gotten in the mail from the U.S. Treasury is real. This story and more in the Wednesday morning news brief.

Wednesday morning, January 27, 2021

State

Investigating Police Officers

Right now, a Utah police officer under investigation by their current employer can move to another department without them knowing about it. A bill passed by a state legislative committee Tuesday aims to change that. Former Utah Rep. Lee Perry, a retired highway patrol officer, said the bill will help keep police accountable. “There’s nothing that good policemen hate worse than a bad police officer,” he said. “We’re our biggest advocates to remove those who shouldn’t be in the profession.” The bill would require law enforcement agencies to report misconduct allegations to the state’s Peace Officer Standards and Training division, or POST. It would also require the investigation to be completed. The legislation passed the Senate committee unanimously and now goes to the full Senate. — Emily Means

Contraception For Inmates

Some Utah lawmakers are pushing for a bill that would provide contraceptives to inmates. Rep. Rosemary Lesser, D-Ogden, a retired gynecologist, said cutting contraceptives out of medical care in jails was an oversight. “There are many conditions that are treated with contraceptives,” Lesser said. “Either intrauterine devices or birth control pills to solve, for instance, things like heavy bleeding and so forth that the prisoners may have as a medical condition that needs to be treated.” This marked the third year this bill has been introduced and passed through committee. It now moves to the full House chamber. — Ivana Martinez

House Votes To Eliminate Concealed Carry Permit

A large majority of the Utah House voted Tuesday in favor of less restrictions on carrying concealed weapons. The bill would drop the requirement for a permit, which includes taking a class and passing a background check before adults can carry a concealed gun in public. Rep. Merrill Nelson, R-Grantsville, was among those who offered bipartisan resistance to the bill. He said it would bring Utah one step closer to the Wild West. The proposal now heads to the Senate. — Associated Press

Northern Utah

State Of The City

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall gave her second State of the City address Tuesday. She reflected on the challenges of 2020 — from the earthquake in March to the wind storm in the fall and the impacts of the pandemic. But even though a lot has changed, Mendenhall stressed that life shouldn’t go back to how it was. She said Salt Lake City still grapples with housing affordability, air quality and managing growth. Mendenhall also addressed the city’s struggle with homelessness. She asked that community members “reset the rhetoric” around that issue. Read the full story. — Emily Means

Sonic Boom

Officials at Hill Air Force Base confirm a fighter jet caused a sonic boom Monday night. The boom was heard by thousands of Northern Utah residents. Micah Garbarino is a spokesman for the 388th Fighter Wing out of Hill. He said inversion conditions along the Wasatch Front allowed the sound wave to get trapped and spread more than 80 miles. — Bob Nelson

Region/Nation

Stimulus Debit Cards Are Legit

That Visa debit card some Utahns have already gotten in the mail from the U.S. Treasury is real. Better Business Bureau officials said dozens are wondering whether these cards are legitimate or scams. But treasury officials said the cards are the fastest way to get the latest Economic Impact Payments out. So that's how the second round of payments is being distributed to some people. Others may have already received their payments by direct deposit to personal bank accounts or in the form of mailed checks. The treasury department has details at eipcard.com. — Bob Nelson

Colorado Representative And The Three Percenters

Militia movements are under increasing scrutiny as alleged members are arrested for their reported involvement in the Capitol insurrection, including the “Three Percenters.” Mark Pitcavage, an extremism expert with the Anti-Defamation League, said the group has extreme ideology based on opposition to the government and conspiracy theories, and a long history of violence and criminal activity. He said militia members broke norms when they supported former President Donald Trump as a major party nominee, so it’s not surprising that elected officials who support Trump would also receive their support. Colorado Congresswoman Lauren Boebert is in a recent video with a man gifting her a custom pistol who appears to be wearing a Three Percenters patch. — Robyn Vincent, Mountain West News Bureau