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PM News Brief: Inland Port Petition, Pandemic Mental Health & Data Breach Settlement

Photo of northeast quadrant wetlands.
Brian Albers
Opponents of Utah’s planned inland port have started a petition calling on the governor to veto this year's inland port bill. This story and more in Thursday evening's news brief.

Thursday evening, March 11, 2021


Gov. Spencer Cox Reflects On Year Defined By COVID-19

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox reflected on the past year of the COVID-19 pandemic during a press conference Thursday. He said March 11 marks the day when COVID-19 became real for many Utahns. That’s when Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus, followed shortly by his teammate Donovan Mitchell. Utah wouldn’t implement a statewide mask mandate until eight months later in November. Now, that’s set to end next month. State health officials reported 646 new cases Thursday. Utah also surpassed 2,000 deaths related to COVID-19.Read the full story.Emily Means

Mental Health And The Pandemic

According to a new study from the Huntsman Mental Health Institute, four in 10 adults in Utah experienced anxiety or depression since the start of the pandemic. The study found those most likely to have symptoms were essential workers. Rachel Lucynski with the Huntsman Institute said they’re looking to make mental health care more accessible. “We still have a lot of work to do. A lot of increased collaboration and investments to make and not only studying but continuing to expand resources and support for people and breaking down barriers,” Lucynski said. The institute said they are also working with clinics around Salt Lake City to provide care to minority communities. — Ivana Martinez

Five Weeks Of Declining Continued Unemployment Claims

The number of Utahns receiving continued unemployment insurance dropped for a fifth straight week. That’s according to data from the state’s Department of Workforce Services. A little more than 31,700 people had ongoing claims during the first week of March. That’s down from more than 32,000 from the end of February. However, the number of people filing for first time benefits increased slightly week over week. Federal unemployment benefits will continue now that President Joe Biden has signed the new Covid relief package. They were set to expire this weekend. — Ross Terrell

Utah A Part Of A Medical Data Breach Settlement

Utah, along with dozens of other states, has settled a case involving compromised medical information. Attorney General Sean Reyes said Thursday he joined 40 others in the suit against American Medical Collection Agency. A hacker was able to get into that company’s internal system and collect things like social security numbers and medical information. The breach occurred a few years ago and affected more than 21,000 Utahns. Under the settlement, the company must upgrade its security. It is also on the hook for $21 million in payments to the states. Those payments are suspended, though, because of the company’s poor finances. — Caroline Ballard

Northern Utah

Inland Port Opponents Start A Petition Asking For Bill Veto

Opponents of Utah’s planned inland port have started a petition calling on the governor to veto this year's inland port bill. Utah lawmakers passed legislation to fund infrastructure projects related to the port throughout the state. The Stop the Polluting Port Coalition and Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment said the appointed board that oversees the funds would not be accountable to the public. They also said the bill was released late in the session, and people didn’t have time to understand it. Gov. Spencer Cox has said he’ll support the bill. He has until March 25 to approve or veto legislation. — Emily Means

Southern Utah

Zion Search And Rescue Mission Last Fall Cost More Than $60,000

Documents released Thursday by Zion National Park showed a search and rescue mission last fall cost over $60,000. A woman went missing for 12 days in the park and the case garnered national attention. County, state and federal officials were called to Zion in early October to help find the woman. She was found with a concussion and other minor injuries. Most of the documents released Thursday were heavily redacted. They contain search logs, text messages and maps related to the mission. — Lexi Peery, St. George


Colorado Representative’s Role In Capitol Insurrection

Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-CO, continues to face scrutiny for her potential involvement in the Capitol insurrection. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Washington, is requesting a congressional investigation of Boebert and two other Republican lawmakers. Jayapal is asking the House Committee on Ethics and the Office of Congressional Ethics to launch a probe for what she described as “instigating and aiding the deadly attack at the Capitol.” — Robyn Vincent, Mountain West News Bureau

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