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PM News Brief: Utah Democrats Apologize, Unemployment Claims Increase & Women’s Sports Coverage

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Utah Democratic Party
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The Utah Democratic Party formally apologized Thursday for its handling of sexual harassment allegations in 2017. This story and more in Thursday evening's news brief.

Thursday evening, April 1, 2021

State

Utah Launches New “Returnship” Program For Older Adults

Utah’s governor and lieutenant governor want to help older adults who have been out of work get jobs again. Gov. Spencer Cox signed an executive order Thursday directing state agencies to create their own systems of “returnships.” They’re like internships for older adults. Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson said they’ll provide a salary and training appropriate to people with years of experience. The executive order also creates a $15 million grant program to help older adults attend short term education programs at public colleges and universities. Health officials also announced 487 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday. Read the full story.Sonja Hutson

Utah Democratic Party Apologizes For Handling Of Sexual Harassment Allegations

The Utah Democratic Party formally apologized Thursday for its handling of sexual harassment allegations in 2017. The party said it failed to complete an investigation by not giving the seven women who brought complaints an opportunity to speak. Jennifer Miller-Smith is one of those women. She said she appreciates the renewed attention to the issue, but the past few years have been very painful for her. Party leaders said they apologized now because of how the Salt Lake County Republican Party responded to recent accusations of bullying. An attorney representing Rob Miller, the person accused in the Democratic party, responded saying the apology is unfair because it suggests there was sexual harassment. The attorney said Miller wants a “fair, unbiased investigation” into the claims. — Emily Means

New Unemployment Claims Rise For Third Week In A Row

For the third week in a row, new unemployment claims in Utah increased. Last week, nearly 4,000 people filed for first time benefits. That’s according to numbers released Thursday by the state’s department of workforce services. However, for the past two months continued claims have fallen steadily. Officials said the state’s strong economy is helping people find long-term stability with jobs. More than 2,000 people ended their claims last week. — Ross Terrell

Utah’s Attorney General Joins Multi-State Lawsuit

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes has joined 12 other states in a lawsuit against President Joe Biden’s administration. They’re suing over a rule in the latest federal stimulus package that could prevent states from using the money to offset tax cuts. In a statement, Reyes called the provision a “power grab.” He said it puts the state’s $100 million tax cut passed this year at risk. U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has said the rule doesn’t prevent states from cutting taxes. They just can’t use the federal funds to make up for lost revenue. The nonprofit Tax Foundation said state’s likely face “minimal risk” in losing federal funds but the vague language in the bill still leaves uncertainty. — Jon Reed

Northern Utah

Salt Lake City Wants Input On 20 Year Public Lands Plan

Salt Lake City wants feedback on its 20 year plan for the city’s public lands. Those include parks, trails and natural lands and golf courses. The city is looking for input that accurately reflects the city’s demographics. It’s currently in its second information gathering phase. The final one will take place later this year. From now until May 7, public lands staff will be out at different sites around the city. There people can learn about different proposed projects and take a survey. Some of the most popular recommendations so far in the project include growing the urban forest, improving trails and sidewalks and investing in neighborhood public lands. Residents can also view the plan at reimaginenatureSLC.com. — Caroline Ballard

Southern Utah

Grand Staircase-Escalante Reopening Visitor Centers

Visitor centers at Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument will begin reopening Friday. The Bureau of Land Management said four out of five visitor centers at the monument will open with limited hours. Masks and social distancing will be required. The Bureau said it will decide whether to fully reopen the centers in June. The facilities have been closed for almost a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. — Kate Groetzinger, Bluff

Region/Nation

Coverage Of Women’s Sports Still Lagging Behind Men’s

New analysis shows television news and ESPN’s SportsCenter continue to focus the lion’s share of their coverage on men’s sports. The University of Southern California and Purdue University have studied sports coverage since 1989 and release data every 5 years. The latest analysis found just 5% of that coverage focused on women. For the first time, researchers included online and social media sports coverage in their study but found similar results. Only about 9% of online sports articles and 10% of Twitter posts were about women sports. There was one positive spot — coverage of live events for women increased. — Stephanie Serrano, Mountain West News Bureau