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PM News Brief: Too many horses, cannabis card protections & RNC meeting in SLC

photo of horses
Nate Hegyi
/
KUER
Utah has a wild horse problem in Beaver, Millard and Iron counties. That story and more in this evening's news brief.

State

Bills to address Utah’s air quality coming to state Legislature

Utah lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are attempting to address the state’s air quality. They met Tuesday to discuss a variety of bills, resolutions and appropriations they plan to introduce during the General Session aimed at the issue. Some are looking at creating free fares for public transit or reducing emissions through a carbon tax. Rep. Joel Briscoe, D-Salt Lake City, said with the historic drought this past summer, there’s been a renewed sense of urgency around air quality. Read the full story. — Ivana Martinez

Legislative roundup: Cannabis card protections and governor signs nine bills 

The Utah Legislature passed a bill Wednesday that provides protections for public employees who have medical cannabis cards. The legislation says employees with medical cannabis cards should be treated the same as an employee with a prescription for any other controlled substances. The bill’s sponsor argued cannabis should be considered as a legitimate medication and just because someone has a card doesn’t mean they’re high at work. But critics said cannabis is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration like other controlled substances are, so they shouldn’t be treated the same. The bill passed almost unanimously in both chambers.

Meanwhile, Gov. Spencer Cox signed nine bills Wednesday including one that permanently suspends COVID test-to-stay programs in Utah schools. — Sonja Hutson

Northern Utah

Republican National Committee to meet in Salt Lake City

Members of the Republican National Committee are scheduled to meet in Salt Lake City this week. They’re expected to discuss measures that would solidify former President Donald Trump's standing ahead of the midterms. RNC Members will look at issues that are important to Trump, including a resolution censuring the two Republicans on the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection. Salt Lake City is one of the locations under consideration to host the Republican National Convention in 2024. Utah votes overwhelmingly Republican, but the state’s political culture has often valued civility, and that has put it at odds with Trump’s style. — Associated Press

Southern Utah

BLM set to conduct a horse roundup in southwestern Utah  

Utah has a wild horse problem in Beaver, Millard and Iron counties. Next Tuesday, the Bureau of Land Management will try to get a handle on it. About 600 horses are currently living in the Sulphur Herd management area, but it’s only meant to handle between 165 and 250 of the animals. The BLM will conduct a roundup using helicopters. The horses that are removed will be transported to a facility in Sanpete County. The agency will also implement population growth suppression, or birth control, to help stabilize the herd’s population. — Ross Terrell

Region/Nation

Native American repatriation act sees little success in three decades

At a Senate hearing Wednesday, lawmakers examined how well the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act is working. It was passed in 1990 and created a process for tribes to reclaim artifacts and human remains from museums and institutions across the country. Tribal leaders and government officials said there were flaws in the law, and only a fifth of museums have followed through and given these items back. — Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau 

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