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AM News Brief: Bail Reform, Women In Health Care & 'Click It Or Ticket'

Traffic on Utah highway. / wsfurlan
Enhanced seat belt enforcement is underway as the summer driving season approaches. This story and more in the Wednesday morning news brief.

Wednesday morning, May 19, 2021


Bail Reform Debate Continues

After the Utah Legislature largely repealed a bail reform law earlier this year, stakeholders are back at the drawing board. One sticking point is whether the state should keep a bail schedule that assigns certain monetary amounts to different charges. Chad Jensen, president of the Utah Sheriffs Association, said a bail schedule brings consistency to counties across the state. But others argue if a judge assigns bail, it should be based on someone’s ability to pay it to avoid inequities. — Sonja Hutson

Women Leaving The Healthcare Industry

A newly released report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has shown more women in the healthcare industry are leaving the profession as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Fox 13 reported that women lost more than 1.5 million health care jobs across the nation in April 2020, about 12% of all healthcare jobs held by women. Agency officials said about 90% of the nursing workforce in Utah is made up of women. The report attributes the increase in women leaving the industry to child care duties and the stress of working with critically ill patients and seeing death more frequently during the pandemic. — Associated Press

“Click It Or Ticket”

Enhanced seat belt enforcement is underway as the summer driving season approaches. The Click it or Ticket campaign started Monday and runs through June 6. Forty law enforcement agencies in Utah are ramping up enforcement. Motorists will also see billboards and digital ads encouraging seatbelt safety. The Utah Department of Public Safety says seat belts are the single most effective way of surviving a crash. DPS says only 10% of Utahns don’t buckle up, but that accounts for about 40% of the motor vehicle fatalities. — Pamela McCall

Southern Utah

New Bike Trails Near Zion

The Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation has awarded a $500,000 grant to fund mountain biking trails outside of Zion National Park. The money will go toward more than 24 miles of mountain biking trails in Kane County near the east entrance of the park. Pitt Grewe, the director of the state’s office of outdoor recreation, said this will be a benefit to mountain bikers in Southern Utah. This project is just the first step in a larger initiative for East Zion that includes a new visitor center and electric buses, according to Mark Preiss, the director of the Zion Forever Project, the park’s official non-profit partner. The total cost of the project will be just over $2.1 million. Read the full story. — Lexi Peery

Northern Utah

Salt Lake City Schools To Mask Through End of Academic Year

The Salt Lake City school district will keep its mask mandate in place through the end of the school year. School ends in the district on Monday, June 7. Last week, Gov. Spencer Cox announced the state would not require masks the last week of school, but left it up to districts to decide. Meanwhile, state lawmakers are considering a bill to ban mask requirements in public schools, colleges and universities. It passed out of the Education Interim Committee Tuesday with a 16 to 7 vote. — Elaine Clark


Colorado Murder Reclassified As Hate Crime

The FBI is investigating the 2017 death of an Asian-American teenager in Colorado as a possible hate crime, though it hasn’t provided any information on the reasons behind the decision. Local authorities said 17-year-old Maggie Long was purposely burned alive at her family's home in a mountain community outside Denver. Long’s death was ruled a homicide, and authorities later released composite sketches of at least three men they believed were involved in her death. No arrests have been made. — Associated Press

Filming On Public Lands

Wyoming Republican Sen. John Barrasso recently introduced a bill that would make it easier for YouTubers and Instagram Influencers to film on public lands. Right now, the law says they first have to get a permit and pay a fee if they are making money off the video. But the FILM Act would waive those fees and permits in most cases. People would still need to pay if their crew was larger than ten people or if they were filming in a way that disturbed wildlife or other visitors. In February the agency pressed pause on collecting fees for productions after a federal judge ruled that the 2000 law requiring them was a violation of first amendment rights. Barrasso’s legislation would update that law. — Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau

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