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PM News Brief: Senate restricts media access, BLM horse auction & water resources plan released

Photo of wild horses.
Bureau of Land Management
/
A Bureau of Land Management online wild horse and burro auction opens Tuesday night. That story and more in this evening's news brief.

Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2022

State

Utah House committee narrowly passes school voucher bill 

Lawmakers in the the House Revenue and Taxation Committee heard more than an hour of public comment Tuesday on a controversial bill, H.B. 331,that would use public education funding to help pay for private school tuition, home school expenses and other education costs. Sponsor Rep. Candice Pierucci, R-Herriman, said the goal is to provide families more options and would prioritize low-income students. Critics of the bill argue it will take funding away from an already stressed public education system. They say it also won’t be enough for low- income families to afford expensive private school tuition. Utah voters rejected a similar but much larger school voucher program in 2007. Read the full story. — Jon Reed

Utah releases finalized water resources plan 

Utah officials released a finalized water resources plan Tuesday. It analyzes when and where water will be needed throughout the state over the next 50 years. The plan focuses on three management principles: reliable data, supply security and healthy watersheds. Officials said in the past, these plans have been more of status updates, but this one includes goals the state is hoping to meet by 2026. Some benchmarks include increased conservation, doubling the number of secondary meters and getting more water to the Great Salt Lake. — Lexi Peery

Utah Senate restricts media access to chamber and other areas

The Utah Senate has approved a rule change that limits press access in areas of the capitol. Senate Resolution 1 bars the media from going into the Senate chamber, halls, lounge and committee rooms, unless they’re accompanied by a senate staffer. The Salt Lake Tribune reports there was no debate before it passed the full Senate Tuesday. Because it’s a resolution and not a bill, it goes into effect immediately. Critics of the resolution said it will reduce transparency and access to lawmakers. Those in favor of the measure pointed to the Senate’s media availability and have suggested that worries about access are overblown. — Caroline Ballard

This article is published through the Utah News Collaborative, a partnership of news organizations in Utah that aims to inform readers across the state.

Region/Nation

Federal wild horse and burro auction open for business

A Bureau of Land Management online wild horse and burro auction opens Tuesday night. The so-called online corral will stay open through Feb. 22. It’s different from past auctions because the BLM has changed its Adoption Incentive Program to try and make sure the animals make it to good homes instead of a slaughterhouse. Changes include higher adoption fees and more check-ups. However, some are still concerned the agency still isn’t doing enough to ensure these animals’ welfare. — Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau

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