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PM News Brief: BYU Student Housing Changes, Weakening Hydropower & 19 More COVID Deaths

A photo of LaVell Edwards Stadium on campus of Brigham Young University.
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Brigham Young University will no longer require all unmarried, undergraduates to live on campus or at off-campus contracted housing. This story and more in Thursday evening's news brief.

Thursday evening, Sept. 23, 2021

State

Expanding Federal Relief For Victims Of Nuclear Fallout 

Rep. Burgess Owens, R-UT, is co-sponsoring a new bill in Congress that would expand who’s eligible for relief money after being exposed to fallout from nuclear testing in the 1950s and 1960s. People anywhere in Utah who got cancer or other diseases from nuclear fallout would be eligible under the bill. Currently, it's just southern Utah. The bill also extends the deadline to apply by roughly 18 years and triples the amount of money people can get. Currently, the program expires next year and people can get up to $50,000. Read the full story. — Sonja Hutson 

Utah’s Situational COVID Update 

Utah’s COVID-19 vaccination rates continue their slow climb. As of Thursday 52% of all Utahns have been fully vaccinated. Still, the state continues to see upwards of 1,000 new daily cases. Officials reported another 1,598 Thursday. As a result, all but two counties are in the high transmission level. Nineteen more people have died from the virus and six of them were younger than 65. Utah also marked another sad milestone — since the start of the pandemic 800 long-term care facility residents have passed away due to the virus. — Ross Terrell

Utah’s State Auditor And Treasurer Oppose Federal Bank Monitoring Proposal 

Utah’s state auditor and treasurer are pushing back against a federal proposal that would allow the IRS to monitor most U.S. bank accounts. They joined officials from 19 other states in sending a letter to President Joe Biden. The Biden administration is pushing for legislation that instructs banks to report money going in and out of all accounts with more than $600 to the IRS. State Auditor John Dougall said the proposal is an “egregious data mining and surveillance exercise against everyday American citizens.” — Sonja Hutson 

Northern Utah

BYU Announces Major Changes To Housing Policy For Unmarried Students  

Brigham Young University will no longer require all unmarried, undergraduates to live on campus or at off-campus contracted housing. Starting next fall, students can live anywhere after they’ve completed their first two semesters. That flexibility is currently only available for graduate and married students. BYU officials said it will allow students more options so they won’t have to live within a two-mile radius of the campus. Students are still expected to abide by the school’s honor code and housing policies. — Lexi Peery

Region/Nation

Western Drought Leading To Drop In Hydro Power  

The U.S. Energy Information Administration projects that there was a 14% dip in hydropower in the U.S. this year. The vast majority of that is in the West. Less moisture and higher temps meant lower reservoir levels and decreased the ability to get energy from hydro dams. While utilities have long prepared for droughts, they’re becoming more frequent due to climate change. — Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau

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