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AM News Brief: Biathlon World Cup, Free Naloxone Kits & Legislative Review Of Health Departments

Hand and small glass dose of naloxone.
Kelsie Moore / KUER
/
All Salt Lake City Public Library locations will now have naloxone kits available for free pickup, no questions asked. This story and more in the Thursday morning news brief.

Thursday morning, February 25, 2021

State

Bill To Ban DIY Sexual Assault Kits Stalls

A bill that would ban the sale of DIY rape kits stalled in a Senate committee Wednesday. Rape kits are used to collect evidence of a sexual assault. Both prosecution and defense attorneys testified that DIY versions of these kits are not typically admissible in court because it’s difficult to prove a chain of custody. But critics of the bill argued that DIY rape kits provide more options for sexual assault survivors. Read the full story. — Sonja Hutson

Committee Holds Transgender Sports Bill

A bill banning transgender girls from competing in girls school sports has once again stalled in the Utah Legislature after a Senate committee ended their meeting Wednesday night without voting on it. Sen. Jake Anderegg, R-Lehi, said he was torn on the legislation because he doesn’t know how to reconcile his support of trans people with human biology. The bill’s sponsor, however, said that allowing trans girls to be on the teams but not compete was a good balance of inclusion and fairness. Read the full story. — Sonja Hutson

Legislature Looks To Create Health Department Task Force

A Utah Senate committee passed a bill Wednesday that would create a task force to study the powers of state and local health departments. The bill is a response to the actions health departments have taken throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, including issuing public health orders to require masks. The task force would review the departments’ powers and could request legislative audits. It would then recommend legislation to make the departments more effective and efficient and clarify their quote “proper roles.” — Sonja Hutson

More Students Taking AP Courses

The total number of Utah high school seniors who took at least one Advanced Placement course last year is up almost 8% over a 10-year period. That's an increase of 368 students over 2019 according to numbers released Wednesday by the College Board. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Sydnee Dickson called it a testament to students’ “perseverance and the dedication of their teachers and families “during a very difficult time. The board also reported nearly 10,000 Utah students earned college credit by scoring 3 or better on their AP exams, a jump of nearly 5%. — Bob Nelson

Northern Utah

City Library Offers Free Overdose Treatment Kits

All Salt Lake City Public Library locations will now have naloxone kits available for free pickup, no questions asked. Naloxone is a medication that can reverse an opioid overdose. Advocates say it's an essential tool that can save lives in the country’s opioid epidemic. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Utah saw 437 opioid overdose deaths in 2018. The Salt Lake County Public Library has offered free naloxone kits since 2018. City library officials say to pick one up, patrons should come to the holds-to-go area in a parking lot, call the number on the sign and ask for a kit. — Caroline Ballard

Utah To Host 2024 Biathlon World Cup

Soldier Hollow Nordic Center will be the site of an International Biathlon Union World Cup event in 2024. The Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation and the United States Biathlon Association made the announcement Wednesday. Officials said it's the first major senior international world cup competition at Soldier Hollow since 2019 and only the second senior World Cup event to be held at the venue since 2001. Soldier Hollow hosted biathlon competition during the 2002 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. The cross-country skiing and shooting skill events are among the most popular winter sports in Europe, with a total cumulative TV viewership of nearly one billion. — Bob Nelson

Region/Nation

New Arizona Law Protects Water Rights And Conservation

Water scarcity in the Colorado River Basin is causing some states to rethink long-standing tenets of western water law. Like most western states, Arizona water rights are "use it or lose it," meaning that if farmers or ranchers don't use their full amount for a certain number of years they risk forfeiting their rights forever. That makes it tough to encourage conservation. But a bill recently signed by Gov. Doug Ducey allows users to enter into a voluntary conservation plan that keeps their water right protected. Users can conserve water for a period of up to 10 years without losing their rights. — Ariana Brocious, Arizona Public Media