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PM News Brief: Executive Orders, Mitt Romney Fall & Girls Football Team

A photo of a football in grass.
Ben Hershey
/
Unsplash
A Utah girl has lost her court bid to have school districts create football teams for girls. This story and more in Tuesday evening's news brief.

Tuesday evening, March 2, 2021

State

Utah Lawmakers Want Chance To Review Presidential Executive Orders

If the president issues an executive order, Utah’s state agencies have to carry it out. But lawmakers want to prohibit them from doing so. That’s if a legislative committee and the attorney general determine the order is unconstitutional. Utah’s House passed a bill along party lines Tuesday to make that possible. Rep. Phil Lyman, R-Blanding, is the sponsor. “It’s not a criticism of a federal action or of an executive order, by any means,” Lyman said. “It provides the proper check and balance that should happen at a state level.” The measure specifically targets executive orders related to pandemics, firearms and natural resources. Utah’s Republican leaders are worried President Joe Biden will use an executive order to restore two national monuments in Utah to their original size. — Emily Means

COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Continues To Roll In Utah

Utah health officials announced nearly 500 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday. Vaccine distribution continues across the state as officials have given out more than 741,000 doses. That includes first and second shots. Intermountain Healthcare also said Tuesday they are now giving out the vaccine to all eligible Utahns. That includes people 65 and older and 16 and older with underlying health conditions. Utah’s Department of Health reported nine more people have died from the disease — two died before early February. — Ross Terrell

Federal Judge Rules Against Utah Girl Who Wants A Girls’ Football Team

A Utah girl has lost her court bid to have school districts create football teams for girls. A federal judge ruled against Sam Gordon on Monday. Gordon’s football skills won her fame online. Judge Howard Nielson said school districts aren't legally required to create a separate team because girls who want to play football can still play on a school’s team, even if it was traditionally filled with boys. Nielsen said schools and coaches could do more to encourage girls to play. He also said in the future there might not be enough interest or players to sustain an all-girl program. — Associated Press

Sen. Mitt Romney “Doing Better” After Fall Knocks Him Unconscious

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-UT, told reporters Monday he was knocked unconscious in a fall over the weekend but he said now he is "doing better." Romney said the accident happened when he was spending time with his grandchildren in Boston. He said he was taken to a hospital and got stitches on his right eyebrow and lip. He joked that he was injured at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida. The senator did not attend the event. It was largely a celebration of former President Donald Trump. — Associated Press

Southern Utah

Bill To Create Bears Ears Visitors Center Moving Through Utah Legislature

A bipartisan bill to help build a visitor’s center at Bears Ears National Monument is moving through the Utah Legislature. It passed a Senate committee unanimously Tuesday morning. The bill would create a committee to design the center. It would include a representative from each of the five tribes with ancestral ties to Bears Ears. Rep. Doug Owens, D-Salt Lake, is sponsoring the legislation, and he said the tribes will have total say as to where to put the center, what goes inside of it, and who runs it. That’s helping get pro-monument groups like Utah Diné Bikeyah on board. Owens has also reached out to the group that represents the five tribes called the Intertribal Coalition. The group’s director said they are interested in the bill, but have decided not to formally support it. Read the full story. Kate Groetzinger, Bluff

Region/Nation

College Students Eligible For SNAP Benefits

During the pandemic more Americans are eligible for the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, best known as SNAP or food stamps and that includes college students. At the University of New Mexico, a 2020 study found that more than 30% of students are food insecure. Many of those students are newly eligible for SNAP benefits under a temporary rule change through the end of the year. Advocates in the region said that’s a good first step, but that stigma could prevent some students from taking advantage. — Savannah Maher, Mountain West News Bureau