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PM News Brief: Gender Marker Decision, Farm To Fork Program & Women Owned Businesses

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Sonja Hutson
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KUER
The Utah Supreme Court ruled Thursday morning that judges must grant requests to change gender markers on birth certificates. This story and more in Thursday evening's news brief.

Thursday evening, May 6, 2021

State

Utah Supreme Court Grants Huge Victory For Transgender Community

The Utah Supreme Court ruled Thursday morning that judges must grant requests to change gender markers on birth certificates. It’s a huge victory for transgender rights in the state. Transgender activist Sue Robbins said having a marker on official documents that matches your identity can be a matter of safety. "It can prevent us from being outed when we don't want to be outed. That's very important in how we get around through life and avoid discrimination and potentially marginalization," Robbins said. — Sonja Hutson

Angela Dunn Holds Last COVID-19 Presser As State Epidemiologist

Dr. Angela Dunn gave her last COVID-19 update as Utah’s epidemiologist Thursday. She said the good news is the state’s weekly average for COVID-19 cases was down. The most important next step, Dunn said, is vaccinating people ages 12 to 15 once the Pfizer shot is approved for them. She said that could happen as early as next week. Utah Gov. Spencer Cox thanked Dunn for her service as she leaves the state health department to head up Salt Lake County’s. Read the full story. Emily Means

Utah Incentivizing Schools To Buy Homegrown Food

Utah’s State Board of Education announced a new program Thursday to support farmers and provide healthy meals in schools. The board is partnering with the state’s Department of Agriculture and Food. Together, they will give out $250,000 for the farm to fork program. The goal is to incentivize schools to buy Utah grown, unprocessed foods. The state will then reimburse schools as part of their meal funding. Officials said 10 other states already have similar programs. The education board said districts serve over 88 million snacks and meals to children each year. — Ross Terrell

Utah Launches Virtual Directory For Women Owned Companies

A new virtual directory for women owned businesses in Utah launched Thursday. The Women’s Business Center of Utah said the pandemic has disproportionately affected women-owned companies. They said this new tool will help support them. Funding for the directory came from federal COVID relief dollars. The group said any home-based, online, brick and mortar or side business owned by women can be included in listings. People can go to UtahWomenOwned.com to search the directory. — Ross Terrell

Region/Nation

Rep. John Curtis Asking For National Wildfire Funding

Rep. John Curtis, R-UT, is asking for “robust funding” to fight wildfires across the country this year. Curtis is part of the Bipartisan Wildfire Caucus in Congress. He and other members sent a letter to the House Subcommittee on Interior and Environment. They outlined the impact of last year’s historic wildfire season. It was the third most expensive season on record — to the tune of $16.5 billion in damages nationwide. They said money should be spent on things like fuel management, forest restoration and wildland firefighters. Across the West, fire agencies are warning that 2021 will be another devastating wildfire season. — Elaine Clark

New Survey Looks At More Causes Behind Vaccine Hesitancy

Vaccine hesitancy is decreasing among Republicans, according to a new Kaiser Family Foundation survey. Meanwhile, people of color still don’t have the resources they need to make informed decisions about getting the shot. For example, the survey found Black and Hispanic adults are concerned about missing work from the side effects, paying out-of-pocket for the free vaccine or finding a reputable clinic to get the vaccine. — Robyn Vincent, Mountain West News Bureau

Conservation Group Pushes Back Against Idaho Wolf Legislation

The Center for Biological Diversity is asking the federal government to cut off millions of dollars in funding to Idaho. It’s a reaction to legislation there that could lead to 90% of the state’s wolves being killed. The conservation group said states may be deemed ineligible to receive federal wildlife restoration money if they’ve approved legislation that goes against conservation goals. Idaho’s bill is backed by the agriculture industry. It allows the state to hire private contractors to kill wolves and opens up ways the predators can be hunted. — Associated Press

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