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PM News Brief: Homeless Resource Centers, Wildlife And Drought & New Utah Driver’s Licenses

A photo of three deer.
Tom Kelly
Utah is in one of its worst droughts on record and wildlife officials are reminding people not to feed animals. The Division of Wildlife Resources said the heat and drought can lead to lower overall deer populations. This story and more in Wednesday evening's news brief.

Wednesday evening, June 16, 2021


Trans Athlete Sports Bill Resurfaces In Utah Legislative Committee

After a Utah Senate committee voted down a bill earlier this year banning transgender girls from competing in girls school sports, the sponsor promised to work with stakeholders to find a compromise. The idea was to balance “preserving female sports” and making sure transgender kids don’t feel excluded. One suggestion floated during a legislative hearing Wednesday was to require testosterone testing. Another was to beef up enforcement of an existing policy. Read the full story.Sonja Hutson

Utah Lawmakers Audit Homeless Resource Centers In Salt Lake County

The three new homeless resource centers in Salt Lake County are more safe and secure than the shelter they replaced in downtown Salt Lake City. That’s according to an audit that was presented to a legislative committee Wednesday. It followed a 2018 analysis that showed problems with drugs at the old Road Home shelter. Sen. Derek Kitchen, D-Salt Lake City, said it’s good to see the improvements. But he said the Legislature’s ultimate goal when addressing homelessness should be “getting people stabilized into housing.” To continue improving safety at the centers, auditors recommended having a consistent police presence at the three locations. They also proposed using K-9 units to sniff out drugs in the facilities. — Emily Means

New Designs Coming To Utah Driver’s License

Utah driver’s licenses and identification cards are getting a new design. The Utah Department of Public Safety made the announcement Wednesday. This update is a routine safety measure. The last time DPS issued a new design was in 2016. The new IDs feature depictions of famous landmarks from Zion and Arches National Park. They are also laser engraved which officials said will help prevent fraud. But for people who still have the older version they are still valid, unless they’ve expired. — Tess Roundy

The Drought’s Impact On Wildlife In Utah

Utah is in one of its worst droughts on record and wildlife officials are reminding people not to feed animals. They said it can be tempting to give water or food to deer or elk, but that can lead to unsafe situations. The Division of Wildlife Resources said the heat and drought can lead to lower overall deer populations. It lowers the chances of fawns surviving their first year. To help, they are issuing fewer hunting permits this year. As for fish, officials said they are stocking them in more drought-resistant bodies of water. The hope is that it will reduce deaths due to low water levels and high temperatures. — Ross Terrell

Southern Utah

Bears Ears Tribal Coalition Praises Deb Haaland’s Recommendations

The Bears Ears Intertribal Coalition is accusing top Utah officials of attempting to stall the restoration of the namesake monument. It’s been reported that Interior Secretary Deb Haaland submitted a recommendation to fully restore it and Grand Staircase Escalante. Gov. Spencer Cox and Utah’s Congressional Delegation have since asked President Joe Biden to meet with them before making a decision. The coalition has long advocated for a 1.9 million acre monument, which is 40% larger than the initial one. It said it will continue to work toward that goal, but they’re happy Haaland recommended full restoration. — Kate Groetzinger, Bluff


People Experiencing Homelessness At Risk During Heat Wave

This week’s extreme heat wave is breaking records in our region, and leaving homeless people that much more vulnerable to the elements. According to the National Weather Service, that extreme heat will be sticking around some parts of the region through Saturday. That means those people without shelter or housing are that much more vulnerable to heat exhaustion or heat stroke, which can be deadly. Some local governments in our region, including Salt Lake City and Nevada’s Clark County, have opened cooling centers in order to provide shelter from the heat. In Denver, all of the city’s recreation centers are free. However, most cooling centers close at night. — Maggie Mullen, Mountain West News Bureau

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