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AM News Brief: Temple Reopenings, Wildfire Home Prep & Possible Return Of Utah’s Transgender Athlete Bill

Brigham City LDS temple
Dan Bammes
/
KUER
Starting in June and July, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will begin Phase 3 of its temple reopenings. This story and more in the Wednesday morning news brief.

Wednesday morning, May 26, 2021

State

Ranked-Choice And Minority Voters

Ranked-choice voting is on the rise in Utah — more than two dozen cities are planning to use it for their local elections this year. It lets voters choose candidates in order of preference. If no one gets a majority of votes, the person with the fewest is eliminated. The process continues until there’s a winner. One benefit, supporters say, is higher voter turnout and enthusiasm among people of color. Others argue the research is inconclusive on whether the practice helps or hurts minority voters. Read the full story. — Sonja Hutson

Bill To Limit Transgender Athletes May Return

Rep. Kera Birkeland, R-Morgan, plans to reintroduce her bill to ban transgender athletes from competing on girls public school sports teams. Birkeland’s bill died in a Senate committee in the final week of the Legislative session this year. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Birkeland said she’s now working to find common ground with those who raised concerns about her legislation. A public hearing on the bill is scheduled for next month. — Associated Press

Region/Nation

House Committee Hears From Colorado River Stakeholders

Record-breaking drought conditions in the West were the subject of a committee hearing in the U.S. House of Representatives Tuesday. The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Oceans and Wildlife heard testimony from across the region about the dire projections for water shortages and wildfire risks. John Entsminger of the Southern Nevada Water Authority called on Congress to loosen federal spending restrictions on measures to mitigate the effects of climate change. More than 75% of the Colorado River Basin is in “extreme to exceptional drought.” The river’s latest reservoirs are currently projected to hit record lows this summer. — Luke Runyon, KUNC

Tool Helps Homeowners Prep For Wildfire Risk

A flying ember lands near a house. Is there wood mulch, grass or rocks? Is a flammable fence connected to the house or brush near wood siding? A free phone app called Wildfire Ready is a virtual reality tool that can help people identify these potential fire hazards and possibly prevent a house from burning down in a wildfire. It was developed by the nonprofit Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety. A research engineer there said neighboring houses need to be prepared too, and that outsmarting a fire needs to be a community-wide effort. — Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau

Temples Head Into Phase 3 Reopening

Starting in June and July, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will begin Phase 3 of its temple reopenings. That means all living ordinances like weddings and proxy ordinances like baptism for the dead will be available by appointment. Globally, 60 temples will move into the new phase; More than a dozen of those are in Utah. Church members in each district will be notified by email when they can make online reservations for their temple. — Ross Terrell

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