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PM News Brief: Justin Lee Resigns, Eviction Moratorium Ends & 1,200 COVID-19 Cases

A photo of a notice of eviction of tenants hangs on the door of the house.
Vyacheslav Dumchev
/
iStockphoto
The federal freeze on most evictions is scheduled to expire Saturday. The U.S. Census estimates more than 11,000 people in Utah are at risk of eviction and foreclosure. This story and more in Friday evening's news brief.

Friday evening, July 30, 2021

State

Utah Elections Director Justin Lee Steps Down

After 11 years in state government, Utah’s elections director Justin Lee is stepping down. Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson announced the departure in a press release Friday. Lee has been in the role since 2017, after serving as deputy director of elections for five years. He helped the state in its transition to mostly mail-in voting several years ago. He is leaving to become the director of government of affairs with the Utah League of Cities and Towns. Henderson will lead the search for Lee’s replacement. — Caroline Ballard

Utahns At Risk Of Eviction As Moratorium Ends

The federal freeze on most evictions is scheduled to expire Saturday. The U.S. Census estimates more than 11,000 people in Utah are at risk of eviction and foreclosure. But the state still has about $150 million in federal funding to help tenants behind on rent. The Biden administration extended the original end of the moratorium by a month. It was put in place by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last September. During the pandemic, it’s been a key tool for keeping millions of people in their homes across the country. — Associated Press

Utah Reports More Than 1,200 COVID-19 Cases Friday

Utah continues to see a spike in COVID-19 cases. The Utah Department of Health reported 1,211 new cases Friday. The positivity rate is now 10.4%. The week-long average for new daily cases is also 755. Hospitals are reaching a critical point, again, as 89% of ICU beds statewide are full. — Caroline Ballard

Southern Utah

Iron And Garfield Counties Pass Resolutions Opposing Tracy Stone-Manning

Iron and Garfield counties passed resolutions this week against President Biden’s nominee to lead the Bureau of Land Management. They join Sens. Mike Lee, R-UT, and Mitt Romney, R-UT, in opposing Tracy Stone-Manning. The resolution raised concerns about things like Stone-Manning’s past connection to a radical environmental group and her stance on grazing. Iron County Commissioner Mike Bleak said the county works closely with the federal government, and he doesn’t think there could be a close relationship with Stone-Manning. Steve Bloch is with Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, which supports the nomination. He said he thinks she’ll listen to more groups than the acting director under the previous administration did. Read the full story. Lexi Peery, St. George

Region/Nation

Vice President Listens To Concerns About Native Voting Rights

Vice President Kamala Harris is calling on Congress to pass legislation to protect the rights of Native voters. This comes after a recent roundtable with tribal leaders — including Chairwoman Shelly Fyant of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. Fyant testified about a new Montana law that restricts ballot collection, which she said is an important tool for getting out the vote on rural reservations. After the meeting, Harris urged Congress to pass two bills that would increase ballot access nationwide. — Savannah Maher, Mountain West News Bureau