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PM News Brief: Finding Restaurant Workers, Preventing School Violence & Bear Lake Research

A photo of Bear lake.
Wikimedia Commons
Starting in June, Utah’s Division of Wildlife Resources will begin research on trout in Bear Lake. This story and more in Tuesday evening's news brief.

Tuesday evening, April 27, 2021

State

Utah Being Fastest Growing State Doesn’t Come With Extra Congressional Seat

Utah’s population grew by about 18% over the past decade. That makes it the fastest growing state in the country. But it isn’t getting an extra Congressional seat. Utah only added about 508,000 people. Meanwhile Texas, which gained two seats, added about 4 million. Since Congressional representation is based on population, Utah didn’t gain enough people to require a fifth seat. Michael Barber is a political science professor at Brigham Young University. He said this just means there will be more work for the state’s elected officials. But Barber said if Utah keeps growing at this pace, it could very well get a fifth seat come 2030. Read the full story.Ross Terrell

First Lady Abby Cox Launches “Show Up” Initiative

Utah’s First Lady Abby Cox launched an initiative Tuesday aimed at solving the state’s "empathy crisis." It's focused on bringing people together to help others. The first lady’s project has four components. One is a conference to train teachers on how to promote social and emotional learning in their classrooms. Another is expanding a program that puts kids with and without disabilities on the same sports teams. The initiative also includes a public education campaign about helping foster kids in Utah, even if you can’t bring one into your home. For the final component, Cox said her office will be doing quarterly service projects around the state. Read the full story. — Sonja Hutson

Utah COVID-19 Update

Utah health officials reported 327 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday. The state’s test positivity also continued to hover around 3%. It’s unchanged compared to this time last week. Officials said three more people have died from the virus. Two men were older than 85. So far, about 1.3 million people have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine. That’s about 40% of all Utahns. — Ross Terrell

Utah Attorney General Urging Congress To Help Prevent School Violence

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes is urging Congress to pass a bill focused on preventing school violence. The EAGLES Act would expand the National Threat Assessment Center. The bill is named after the mascot of Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 people were killed in a 2018 shooting. The center operates under the Secret Service, and studies mass attacks in the United States. The act would allow it to work with state and local officials to develop research and training to prevent school shootings. Reyes said federal, state and local officials must work together to stop these acts of violence. — Caroline Ballard

Northern Utah

Utah Wildlife Officials To Begin Studying Effect Of Sterile Trout On Bear Lake

Starting in June, Utah’s Division of Wildlife Resources will begin research on trout in Bear Lake. The division will work with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. Together, they will look at the effect of how stocking the lake with sterilized trout have impacted things like age and fertility. Utah’s DWR began adding the sterile fish to the lake in the early 2000s to help population control. The research will take place while Idaho wildlife officials remove 400 of the trout from Bear Lake to Stanley Lake in Central Idaho. — Ivana Martinez

Region/Nation

Restaurants Struggling To Fill Open Jobs

Restaurants are hiring, but many report having a hard time finding people to apply for jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, restaurant employment across the country and in a number of Mountain West states remains below pre-pandemic times. According to one economist, that’s partly due to low wages and a perception of increased risk. — Stephanie Serrano, Mountain West News Bureau