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PM News Brief: Racist graffiti found, college basketball returns & new House leadership

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Utah Republicans elected two people Tuesday morning to new leadership roles in the state House. That story and more in this evening's news brief.

Tuesday evening, Nov. 9, 2021

State

Addressing mental health in the workplace  

A group of Utah business leaders are launching a new campaign they hope will improve mental health in the workplace. It’s part of Live On Utah, a statewide effort aimed at suicide prevention and raising awareness around mental health resources. The new iteration stresses the need for business owners and organizations to address the mental health concerns of their employees. The Salt Lake Chamber partnered with the Utah Suicide Coalition to create a toolkit employers can use to offer more mental health resources for their employees. The 18-page document offers suggestions for how to identify employees experiencing high levels of stress, providing training and other resources to address concerns and making conversations around mental health a more central focus in staff meetings. Read the full story. — Jon Reed

Utah House selects new legislative leadership 

Utah Republicans elected two people Tuesday morning to new leadership roles in the state House. Rep. Mike Schultz, R-Hooper, will serve in the majority leader position that was recently vacated by former Rep. Francis Gibson. Schultz previously served as majority whip. Now, Rep. Jefferson Moss, R-Saratoga Springs, has taken that role. Before, Moss was a vice chair for the Executive Appropriations Committee, which oversees the Legislature’s budget. Two new Republican members of the House were also sworn in — Rep. Judy Weeks-Rohner, R-West Valley City, and Rep. Stephen Whyte, R-Mapleton. They were chosen during recent special elections by their county Republican parties to fill vacant seats. — Emily Means

College basketball returns for many of Utah’s universities

The 2021-22 college basketball season is officially underway. A number of the state’s teams had their first games Tuesday night. BYU and Utah State are facing off against schools they are expected to beat easily. Both are looking to rebound after early exits during last season’s NCAA’s March Madness tournament. The University of Utah tips off its year at home with a winnable matchup against Abilene Christian, and Utah Valley heads to Idaho to play Boise St. But of all the Utah schools returning to action Tuesday, Dixie State has the toughest task. They face off against the number one ranked team in the country, Gonzaga, in Spokane. — Ross Terrell

Northern Utah

Investigating racist graffiti at an Eagle Mountain construction site 

A construction company sent more than 1,000 of its workers home early Monday after it found racist graffiti in a port-a-potty. Mortenson Construction is building a Facebook data processing center in Eagle Mountain. The vandalism said “kill a n-word day 11/29.” Sending home the workforce was a precautionary measure. The company is offering a $50,000 reward for information that could identify a suspect. The Utah County Sheriff's office is investigating the case. The Council on American-Islamic Relations said it welcomed the investigation and similar threats should be taken seriously nationwide. — Caroline Ballard

Region/Nation

The impact of climate change on tribal communities

Indigenous people disproportionately feel the effects of climate change, and tribal leaders have long been grappling with this reality. Some officials from Indian Country met this week to discuss impacts and solutions. Tribal communities are now anticipating an infusion of funding into their efforts to combat climate change after Congress passed the bi-partisan infrastructure bill last week. — Robyn Vincent, Mountain West News Bureau 

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