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PM News Brief: Transgender Sports Bill, Covid Relief Money For Schools & Reaching Vaccination Goals

A photo of a covid-19 vaccine and syringe.
LisLud/Getty Images/iStockphoto
The Salt Lake Chamber is pushing business to help Utah meet its COVID-19 vaccination goal. This story and more in Tuesday evening's news brief.

Tuesday evening, June 15, 2021


State Legislative Committee Reviewing Bill To Ban Gender Affirming Healthcare

After receiving just a partial initial hearing earlier this year, a proposal to ban gender affirming healthcare for people under 18 years old is making its way back to the state Legislature. The Health and Human Services Interim Committee is set to discuss it Wednesday morning. Under the legislation, minors wouldn’t be allowed to access puberty blockers, hormone replacement therapy and gender affirmation surgery.Read the full story.Sonja Hutson

Utah State Representative Bringing Back Transgender Sports Bill

A proposal to ban transgender girls from competing on girls school sports teams will return to the Utah Legislature Wednesday. A similar bill passed the House earlier this year, but It was shot down in the Senate after Gov. Spencer Cox said he’d veto it. The sponsor, Rep. Kera Birkeland, R- Morgan, is still crafting new legislation but the Health and Human Services committee will discuss the issue. Birkeland also plans to hold round table discussions about it this summer. — Sonja Hutson

Utah Schools Spending Federal COVID Relief Money

The federal government is giving Utah public schools close to $1 billion through three major relief bills to address concerns related to the coronavirus. That’s according to an update provided Tuesday from the state’s Board of Education. Most of the money so far has gone to target learning loss — with things like summer school and after-school tutoring. A large chunk is also going toward buying computers and other technology. Rural districts have requested funds to update their air conditioning systems for school programs this summer. So far, Utah public schools have only spent about $50 million. They have until September 2024 to spend it all. — Jon Reed

U.S. Senate Looking At Ways For DACA Recipients To Become Citizens

On the nine year anniversary of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals legislation, or DACA, the U.S. Senate has begun to hear legislation that could provide a pathway to citizenship for recipients and Dreamers. For Ciriac Alvarez Valle and Alonso Reyna Rivarola, the program’s expiration date looms over their lives. Alvarez Valle said she’s calling on Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, R-UT, to vote ‘yes’ to the American Promise Dream Act that could grant immigrants like her more permanent protection. Read the full story. — Ivana Martinez

Northern Utah

Salt Lake City Protesters Who Painted DA’s Building Plead Guilty

Last summer, protesters were charged with felonies for painting the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s office red. They also painted much of the street in front of the building. It came after the DA cleared the officers involved in the shooting and killing of Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal. On Tuesday, four of the protesters pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges. As part of their plea deal, the defendants’ charges will be dropped in 12 months if they pay more than $8,000 each to cover damages to the building. They also can’t break any other laws during that time except minor traffic violations. One defendant is left from the protest. Their case is scheduled for a hearing in August. — Emily Means

Salt Lake Chamber Asking 10,000 Businesses To Help With Vaccination Effort

The Salt Lake Chamber is pushing business to help Utah meet its COVID-19 vaccination goal. Chamber officials announced Tuesday they partnered with the state to send letters to 10,000 businesses. They’re asking corporations to support employees in order to get vaccinated. These are the same businesses that pledged to stay safe to stay open last year at the height of the pandemic. The state’s current goal is to have 70% of the adult population with at least one dose of the vaccine by July 4. So far, about 48% of all Utahns have gotten it. Last week, the lieutenant governor called on businesses to be creative to incentivize their employees to get the vaccine. — Ross Terrell

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