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PM News Brief: New wild horse adoption rules, tax cut passes Utah Senate & Romney has COVID

photo of horses
Nate Hegyi
/
KUER
New rules from the Bureau of Land Management aim to stop adopted wild horses from being sent to slaughter.That story and more in this evening's news brief.

Friday evening, Jan. 28, 2022

State

Tax cut passes Utah Senate

The Utah Senate passed a $160 million tax cut Friday that lowers the state’s flat income tax rate by 0.1%. S.B. 59 passed along party lines. Democrats opposed the cut, saying they’d like to see more funding go toward social services or have the sales tax on food removed. The House will now consider the measure and is expected to take the cut even further by adding some income tax credits for individuals with fixed or low incomes. — Emily Means

After backlash from teachers, lawmaker pulls education bill

A Utah lawmaker has pulled a controversial education bill that would have required teachers to post a syllabus online to outline all the materials they would use for the year. Rep. Jordan Teuscher, R-South Jordan, said H.B. 234 was designed to help calm recent tensions between parents and teachers. But the bill faced major backlash from teachers who said it would have created unnecessary work and prevented them from adapting lessons on the fly. The Utah Education Association gathered more than 30,000 signatures in opposition to the bill. Teuscher said it was misunderstood, and he’s pausing it to gather more input and make revisions. — Jon Reed

Protecting Lake Powell from drought

The framework for how Upper Colorado River Basin states will respond to low water levels at Lake Powell is now out for public review. The four Upper Basin states are working with federal agencies to keep Lake Powell above critical levels. The plan will be modified yearly depending on the water levels in the Colorado River Basin. Rod Smith with the U.S. Department of the Interior said this plan has been in the works since 2019, but last year’s drought situation sped up the process. Winter and spring precipitation patterns will affect how they implement the plan. Smith said it’s too soon to know what the rest of this water year will look like. Read the full story. — Lexi Peery

Southern Utah

Making ends meet at Snow College

Two-thirds of faculty members at Utah’s Snow College have children that qualify for free or reduced school lunch. That's according to the school’s president Bradley Cook. He made the comments during a budget request presentation to lawmakers Friday morning. The median salary there is $53,000. Cook said their faculty make about $12,000 less than their peers at similar schools across the country. The school also has a staff turnover rate of about 16%. He said it’s a problem many institutions are facing right now — especially as the cost of living is going up. — Jon Reed

Region/Nation

Utah Senator tests positive for COVID

Sen. Mitt Romney’s office announced Friday evening he has tested positive for COVID-19. According to the statement, Romney is currently asymptomatic but will isolate and work remotely for “the recommended period of time.” His wife Ann Romney tested negative. His office also said both the Senator and his wife are fully vaccinated and boosted. — Caroline Ballard

New wild horse adoption rules

New rules from the Bureau of Land Management aim to stop adopted wild horses from being sent to slaughter. The agency has raised the adoption price and will do inspections within six months to make sure owners are complying with adoption rules. The goal is to make it harder for people to sell adopted wild horses to slaughterhouses in Mexico or Canada. Advocates say the move doesn't go far enough. The news comes as the agency prepares to round up 22,000 animals this year. — Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau

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