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PM News Brief: Price cannabis pharmacy, period product dispensers & homelessness growing in Utah

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Renee Bright / KUER
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Price, Utah is in line to get its first medical cannabis pharmacy. This story and more in Wednesday evening's news brief.

Wednesday evening, Nov. 17, 2021

State

Transgender sports bill reemerges in Utah Legislature  

Rep. Kera Birkeland, R-Morgan, is back with a new version of a bill that addresses transgender girl participation in school sports after her proposal for a full ban failed earlier this year. A Utah legislative committee approved the latest iteration Wednesday. The bill allows transgender high school girls to compete if they have had one year of hormone therapy and changed the sex designation on their birth certificate. Birkeland said the proposal balances inclusion and fairness. An attorney for Equality Utah said the LGBTQ+ advocacy organization was close to endorsing the bill. They would throw their support behind it if the legislation makes clear that puberty blockers count as qualifying hormone therapy and the birth certificate requirement is removed. Read the full story.Sonja Hutson 

New bill would put period product dispensers in public schools 

Public schools would have to supply free period products in their bathrooms under a new bill announced Wednesday. Bill sponsor Rep. Karianne Lisonbee, R-Clearfield, said it would help students learn with confidence and dignity. The money for the product dispensers would come from about $2 million in private donations. The Legislature would pay for the pads and tampons. That’s estimated to cost about $4 million each year. The legislation has a good chance of passing. It has support from the Governor’s office and the House Speaker. — Sonja Hutson 

Homelessness in Utah growing even as state funding increases  

A new report by the Utah State Auditor shows homelessness has continued to grow even as state funding has increased to help address the issue. The number of people who are chronically homeless is up 250% since 2016. That’s typically defined as someone who is disabled and has been unsheltered for more than a year. The analysis did point out, though, that Utah has the lowest number of homeless people per capita among western states. Auditors said the state’s new homelessness coordinator and council need to decide whether the main strategy is to house people or to help them become self-sufficient. — Emily Means

Northern/Central Utah

Price set to get its first medical cannabis pharmacy 

Price, Utah is in line to get its first medical cannabis pharmacy. The state’s Department of Health announced Wednesday Dragonfly Wellness received Utah’s 15th pharmacy license. The department said the company won the license through a competitive bidding process. It looked at things like experience in the industry and ability to keep costs low. Dragonfly also has a location in Salt Lake City. There are about 40,000 medical cannabis card holders in Utah and more than 800 medical providers that can recommend cannabis to patients. — Jon Reed

Region/Nation

Mountain West residents concerned about America’s democracy 

A new survey of several Mountain West states found that 85% of respondents are concerned about our Democracy. Research firm Morning Consult worked with the Frank Church Institute at Boise State University to talk with nearly 1,900 people in Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming. Most were also concerned about misinformation and expect more violence similar to what we saw on Jan. 6. The survey found that 20% of respondents believe political violence is justified when you don’t believe a Democratic government is acting in people’s best interest. Nearly 60% said it’s not justified and that the ballot box is a better solution. — Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau 

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