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PM News Brief: Weber correctional deputies, General Conference plans & Uinta Basin lawsuit

Photo of a hand holding a white envelope with instructions on how to return a mail-in ballot.
Renee Bright
/
KUER
A new bill in the Utah Legislature is sparking fears of voter suppression. That story and more in this evening's news brief.

Friday, Feb. 11, 2022

State

New bill in state Legislature would ban vote by mail and voter registration drives 

A new bill in the Utah Legislature is sparking fears of voter suppression. Under Rep. Phil Lyman’s, R-Blanding, bill vote by mail and voter registration drives would be banned. Lyman did not respond to multiple requests for comment. In the past, he’s suggested there may be fraud in Utah’s elections but was not able to provide any evidence. Voting rights activists say voter registration drives are one of the main ways to increase voter turnout among people of color and requiring in-person voting will make it harder for low-income people. The lieutenant governor told KUER she strongly opposes the bill. Read the full story. — Sonja Hutson

Northern Utah

University of Utah student killed in Friday morning in a domestic violence event 

The University of Utah announced a 19-year-old international student was killed at a motel Friday. Salt Lake City police described it as a domestic violence situation. Officers said they arrived at a Quality Inn to assist university police with a welfare check and found the woman unresponsive. A 26-year-old man — who is also a U student — was taken into custody. Police said he claimed he killed her and then tried to inject himself with drugs to die by suicide. The 19-year-old is the third student at the university to die since December 2020 and the 6th in the past five years. — Ross Terrell

Weber County to allow 19-year-olds to work as correctional deputies 

The Weber County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday that 19-year-olds can now serve as correctional deputies in the county. In a statement, Sheriff Ryan Arbon said the county has had a shortage of 30 to 50 correctional deputies for over a year. He said allowing younger people to step in will give them a chance to get started early in a career in law enforcement. The change does not apply to police officers. They must be at least 21 years old in Utah. The sheriff’s office said it’s looking for teens who are responsible, kind and hard working. — Jon Reed

General Conference returns to in-person format

The April General Conference for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be back in person. For the past two years, it’s been mostly virtual because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In-person attendance will be limited though because of construction taking place near Temple Square. Also returning this time is an all women’s session for those 12 and older. It will be held on Saturday evening. The conference will be held April 2 and 3 in downtown Salt Lake. — Lexi Peery 

Another lawsuit filed against the Uinta Basin Railway 

Conservation groups including Center for Biological Diversity and Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment filed a lawsuit Friday to challenge the proposed Uinta Basin Railway. The complaint was filed with the U.S. Surface Transportation Board. It’s the latest effort by conservationists to stop the project. Another lawsuit against the railway is currently pending. It would connect eastern Utah to existing national rail lines and move goods, including coal, oil and gas. Conservationists argue it would disrupt natural habitats and encourage fossil fuel consumption. — Caroline Ballard 

Region/Nation

Ranching associations worry about killings of stray cows
The U.S. Forest Service shot dozens of stray cows on public lands from helicopters this week. Those wild, unbranded cows were in New Mexico’s Gila National Forest. Environmental groups support the move as a way to quickly, efficiently kill cows in rough terrain. But a ranching association said it was the wrong thing to do, and is concerned it’ll condition predators like wolves and waste meat. — Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau

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