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AM News Brief: Final Bills Signed, College Tuition Increased & Three Utahns Receive Heroism Medals

Photo of Welcome to Utah sign.
Brian Albers / KUER
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Gov. Spencer Cox signed four more bills into law Thursday, the last day for him to either approve or veto legislation. This story and more in the Friday morning news brief.

Friday morning, March 26, 2021

State

Cox Signs Final Bills Of 2021 Legislative Session

Gov. Spencer Cox signed four more bills into law Thursday, the last day for him to either approve or veto legislation. All four of the measures were related to the state’s budget. In total, Cox signed 464 bills and vetoed four. In a press release, he said he was happy with how the 2021 legislative session turned out. In particular, Cox said future Utahns would benefit from the state’s big investments in education and infrastructure. — Emily Means

Tuition Will Increase For Most Utah Colleges And Universities

The Utah System of Higher Education Board approved fee and tuition increases Thursday for the state’s public colleges and universities. On average, schools will raise fees by just under 2% next year compared to the current school year. Dixie State University will have the largest increase, raising tuition and fees by $200. Its board of trustees chair David Clark said the school is growing rapidly and will use the funds to increase staff and part time faculty. Southern Utah University was the only school to lower fees, reducing them by about $40. Of the state’s technical colleges, only Salt lake Community College raised tuition costs. They will go up by 5 cents. — Jon Reed

Northern Utah

Salt Lake City Strategies How To Spend Relief Funds

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall said Thursday equity and sustainability will guide how the city spends federal COVID relief funds. As part of the latest package, Salt Lake is set to receive $87 million. Mendenhall said the money should be used to help people find good jobs and start businesses and to improve after school programs. The city is still waiting on federal guidance for how the money can be spent. In the meantime, Mendenhall said they will accept community feedback on what to prioritize. — Ross Terrell

Utahns Honored With Carnegie Medal

Three Utahns are among 18 people to receive the Carnegie Medal, North America’s “highest honor for civilian heroism” for risking their lives for others in peril. Brothers Lyle Berglund of Roy and Brad Berglund of Syracuse helped to rescue victims of a plane crash in Centerville last June. Norman Tanner Olsen of Salt Lake City is still recovering from injuries sustained while saving a man from burning at a remote mountain campground near Kamas in September of 2019. — Bob Nelson

Region/Nation

Panel Dives Into Leasing Review

The U.S. Interior Department’s leasing review is in full swing, following a call with a wide range of stakeholders. President Joe Biden requested the review in January, when he indefinitely paused energy leasing on federal public lands. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland kicked off the call with a repudiation of former leasing policies. Then, Interior officials heard from environmental activists, energy industry groups, tribal representatives, union leaders and academic experts. Interior officials said the first phase of the review will culminate in an interim report this summer. Around 3 million acres of federal public land are currently leased to energy producers in Utah. Read the full story. — Kate Groetzinger, Bluff

Navajo Nation Weekly COVID-19 Update

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez is urging residents to continue to take all precautions and limit travel even as new COVID-19 cases on the Nation continue to decline. On Thursday, the Navajo Department of Health reported 44 new cases and 15 more deaths from the virus over the last seven days. The total number of positive COVID-19 Nation cases is now 30,031. The Navajo Nation covers portions of New Mexico, Arizona and Utah. — Bob Nelson