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PM News Brief: Utah Jazz all-stars, plane laser strikes & funding the climate change fight

The Utah Jazz are being sold to Ryan Smith, co-founder of Qualtrics. Gail Miller and her family have overseen team operations for the past 35 years.
Phil Whitehouse
Flickr CC
Two Utah Jazz players will be in the upcoming All-Star Game. That story and more in this evening's news brief.

Friday, Feb. 4, 2022


Sen. Romney speaks out against censure of House colleagues  

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-UT, is speaking out against the censure of his U.S. House colleagues Liz Cheney, R-WY, and Adam Kinzinger, R-IL. The Republican National Committee censured the two for serving on the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection. In a tweet, Romney condemned the censure. He also praised the two Republicans “for seeking truth even when doing so comes at great personal cost.” Romney has frequently butted heads with GOP leadership over his criticism of former President Donald Trump. He was the only Republican senator to vote to impeach Trump both times. — Caroline Ballard 

Laser strikes aimed at planes increase in U.S. and Utah 

Laser strikes aimed at airplanes increased more than 40% in the U.S. last year compared to 2020. That’s according to data released Friday by the Federal Aviation Administration which said it received about 9,700 reports — 274 of those came from Utah. All of them were in Salt Lake City, Provo or Ogden. That’s also an increase for the state. The year before, there were fewer than 150. People who shine lasers at planes can face fines of up to $11,000 per violation. That increases to more than $30,000 for repeat offenders. — Ross Terrell

Top House Republicans come out against repealing death penalty 

Things aren’t looking too promising for the effort by civil liberties groups, prosecutors and some GOP lawmakers to repeal the death penalty in Utah. During a meeting with reporters Friday, the top two House Republicans said they were not in favor of a bill to eliminate it. House Speaker Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, did say the bill, H.B. 147, would still get a committee hearing. Senate President Stuart Adams, R-Layton, said he’s been opposed to it but now has an open mind. Read the full story. — Sonja Hutson 

Northern Utah

Utah Jazz sending two players to NBA All-Star game

The Utah Jazz will have two familiar faces in the NBA’s All-Star game later this month. Guard Donovan Mitchell and center Rudy Gobert are each returning for their third straight appearance. After getting off to a hot start, the Jazz have cooled recently. They have lost seven of their last 10 games. That’s due in large part to both Gobert and Mitchell being sidelined due to COVID and injuries — respectively. The All-Star game tips off Feb. 20 at 6 p.m. — Ross Terrell 


Rural communities in the fight against climate change

New data from Headwaters Economics, a Montana research group, show many rural communities in the West lack the resources to tackle the effects of climate change. They’re missing planning departments, broadband access, and civic engagement. These tools could help communities get climate funding from the $1 trillion federal infrastructure package. — Robyn Vincent, Mountain West News Bureau 

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