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PM News Brief: Internet Access, Federal Minimum Wage & Cedar City Police

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Kelsie Moore / KUER
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Utah Sen. Mitt Romney tweeted Tuesday that he’s introducing a bill to raise the federal minimum wage. The bill would be co-sponsored by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-AR. This story and more in Tuesday evening's news brief.

Tuesday evening, February 16, 2021

State

Incarcerated Students And Access To Higher Education

Right now, incarcerated students in Utah can get their GED. But a state lawmaker wants to give them access to higher education, too. The legislation by Rep. Lowry Snow, R-St. George, would create a program that helps young people in long-term custody earn college credits. At a hearing for the bill Tuesday, Brett Peterson, director of Utah’s Juvenile Justice Services, said education is an important tool in reducing recidivism. The bill passed the House Education Committee with unanimous support. It now goes to the full chamber for consideration. Read the full story.Emily Means

Utah Lawmakers Push To Increase Internet Access Statewide

A Utah House committee approved a bill Tuesday that would create a state program charged with developing a strategy to boost internet access. "This sets a really good precedent to make sure that everybody in our state who is by definition a marginalized community, in part because they don't have access to high speed Internet, that those barriers are broken down," said bill sponsor Rep. Jen Dailey-Provost, D-Salt Lake City. Gov. Spencer Cox has also said that increasing internet access is one of his priorities. His budget recommendation allocated $50 million to improving broadband in rural Utah. — Sonja Hutson

Four Consecutive Days With Fewer Than 1,000 New COVID-19 Cases

Utah health officials reported just under 600 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday. It’s the fourth day in a row the state has had less than 1,000 new cases. Officials also announced one more person died. He was a Salt Lake County resident older than 85. So far, Utah has given out nearly 533,000 vaccines and 272 people are hospitalized with the virus. — Ross Terrell

Sen. Mitt Romney To Introduce Bill To Raise Minimum Wage

Utah Sen. Mitt Romney tweeted Tuesday that he’s introducing a bill to raise the federal minimum wage. The bill would be co-sponsored by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-AR. Romney said the bill would gradually raise the minimum wage to increase with inflation. It would also require employers to verify the legal status of their employees. He said millions of Americans are struggling to make ends meet and this would help fix that. President Joe Biden has discussed raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. — Ross Terrell

Northern Utah

Salt Lake County Opens Up More Vaccines Slots For Seniors Older 70 And Up

Salt Lake County has opened up more COVID-19 vaccine appointments this week for seniors 70-years-old and up. County officials said they received additional doses allowing them to add more slots. Appointments are at the Salt Palace or at the Mountain America Expo Center. Seniors can schedule a time to get vaccinated online at SaltLakeHealth.org or call the county at 385-468-7468. Officials said once older residents get the vaccine, the county can focus on people ages 65 to 69 or anyone over the age of 18 who has underlying health conditions. — Ross Terrell

Southern Utah

Cedar City Police Officers Placed On Administrative Leave After Shooting

Four Cedar City police officers have been placed on administrative leave after a shooting over the weekend. Officers responded to an assault on Sunday night. A 36-year-old man left the scene in a car driving “recklessly,” according to a press release from the regional critical incident task force. Officers followed and fired several shots at him. The man received life-saving treatment on the scene. He’s in critical condition at Intermountain St. George Regional Hospital. The press release stated it's standard protocol for officers who fired their weapons to be put on leave. — Lexi Peery, St. George

Region/Nation

Affordable Care Act Registration Reopens

The Biden administration reopened enrollment for the Affordable Care Act Monday. But that enrollment isn’t the same everywhere. In most places you can sign up at healthcare.gov until May 15. But for states like Idaho, Colorado and Nevada, you have to go through state programs. And in Idaho, that enrollment doesn’t start until March 1 and ends March 31. Montana, Wyoming and Utah all participate in the federal program. That means if you’d like to sign up for a plan there, you can do so until May 15. — Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau