News Brief: Equal Rights, Endangered Species & A Witch Hunt | KUER 90.1

News Brief: Equal Rights, Endangered Species & A Witch Hunt

Dec 3, 2019

Tuesday evening, December 3, 2019

STATE

Utah And The ERA

Democratic State Representative Karen Kwan introduced a bill today that would ratify the Equal Rights Amendment in Utah. The amendment would guarantee equal rights regardless of sex. Around 175 people rallied in support of the amendment at the State Capitol on Tuesday. Another two dozen people protested, saying they fear the ERA would expand legal abortion and roll back certain protections for women. A similar movement failed in Utah in the 1970s. If Kwan’s bill passes in the 2020 legislative session, Utah would become the 38th and last state needed to fully implement the ERA. Read the full story. — Rocio Hernandez

BLM Lease Sale

The Bureau of Land Management is seeking public comment on its next quarterly oil and gas lease sale, set for March 2020. The agency has put up 25 parcels for consideration, totaling more than 32,000 acres in the Green River District. Leases allow for exploration and potential energy development on public land. People have until Jan. 3 to comment. — Caroline Ballard

Targeting Rep. Ben McAdams

A pro-Trump nonprofit is pouring $150,000 into digital and TV advertisements in Utah targeting Rep. Ben McAdams, D-West Jordan, and his involvement in the impeachment inquiry. It’s part of the second round of a $2 million nationwide ad campaign by America First Policies, part of a pro-Trump SuperPAC, targeting Democrats in swing districts. Read the full story. — Sonja Hutson

CENTRAL UTAH

20 Years Of TRAX

On Wednesday, the Utah Transit Authority will mark the 20th anniversary of TRAX, Salt Lake City’s light rail system. TRAX’s Blue Line, which originally ran from Sandy to Salt Lake City, began service on Dec. 4, 1999. The celebration will take place at the City Center Station and will also recognize TRAX employees who have worked all 20 years. — Caroline Ballard

SOUTHERN UTAH

Fighting Spanish Valley Zoning

A group of residents from Northern San Juan County are moving forward in an effort to repeal new zoning ordinances. Their petition was approved by the county commission on Tuesday. The ordinances are aimed at controlling growth in Spanish Valley, which gained sewer and water service this year. Some residents are unhappy with the ordinances, which include lighting requirements and limit overnight lodging. The residents who are sponsoring the petition will need to collect around 800 signatures in the next 45 days to put it on the ballot in 2020. — Kate Groetzinger, Monticello

NATION

Endangered Species Lawsuit

A conservation group is launching one of the largest lawsuits ever brought under the Endangered Species Act. That’s according to The Center for Biological Diversity. The non profit said it will sue the Trump administration for failing to tackle a backlog of hundreds of species waiting for a decision on federal protection. For its part, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said the lawsuit represents a gross mischaracterization and that it will divert limited resources towards litigation rather than conservation. Read the full story. — Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau