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AM News Brief: Dry Snow, LDS Church Named In Abuse Lawsuit & Salt Lake School Superintendent Announced

Photo of Salt Lake temple.
Lee Hale / KUER
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An Oregon man has filed a lawsuit Tuesday against The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This story and more in the Wednesday morning news brief.

Wednesday morning, February 24, 2021

State

Default Filters For Smartphones And Tablets

The Utah Legislature is advancing a bill that would require tablets and smartphones sold in the state to come with an existing content filter turned on. The filter would block sexual content and could be turned off using a passcode. The idea is to make it easier for parents to keep their children away from explicit content. Critics of the bill, including the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah, argued it’s too restrictive and therefore is unconstitutional. Read the full story. — Sonja Hutson

Bill To Regulate Teen Treatment Centers Takes Next Step

A bill to bring more oversight to Utah’s teen treatment businesses cleared another legislative hurdle Tuesday afternoon. A Utah House committee voted unanimously to pass S.B. 127. The bill includes stricter requirements for when treatment centers can restrain or sedate teenagers, and would also increase reporting and inspections. The House has to vote on the bill one more time before it’s sent to the governor. If passed, it will mark the first time in 15 years the Utah legislature has increased regulation on the state’s teen treatment industry. — David Fuchs

KUER and The Salt Lake Tribune are collaborating on a reporting project about Utah’s youth residential treatment centers.

Northern Utah

Salt Lake City School District Names New Superintendent

The Salt Lake City School District Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday night to appoint Dr. Timothy Gadson as the district’s superintendent. Board President Melissa Ford said Gadson stood out among the candidates. "In a district with so much diversity, robust academic programming, and a wide variety of student needs, we need a leader who will keep the focus where it needs to be: on our students,” Ford said. Gadson is currently Associate Superintendent of High Schools with Anoka-Hennepin Schools in Minnesota. A statement from the board said pending contract negotiations, Gadson will start on July First. — Bob Nelson

Region/Nation

Lawsuit Names LDS Church In Abuse Case

An Oregon man has filed a lawsuit Tuesday against The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. David Hiser is seeking $5.5 million in damages and said the Church did not do enough to protect him from a man he says sexually abused him in the 1980s. Church spokesperson Sam Penrod said in a statement the faith “condemns all forms of abuse,” and that the Church will review the allegations as they are filed in court. The church was also hit with several lawsuits in December for allegedly covering up decades of sexual abuse among Boy Scout troops in Arizona. — Associated Press

Dry Snow Does Little For Drought Conditions

The recent snowstorm that blew through the region was a welcome sight for states facing extreme drought. But for many in the southern part of the Mountain West, it may not have been as beneficial as it looks. The cold air caused drier, lighter snow to fall. It holds less moisture and can also blow away with the wind and vaporize back into the atmosphere. It could also lead to continued avalanche danger if heavier snow falls on top of this lighter snow. — Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau