Matilyn Mortensen

News Director| Web Manager

matilyn.mortensen@usu.edu

A Utah native, Matilyn graduated from Utah State University in 2019 with a B.S. in journalism and communication. During her undergraduate degree, Matilyn worked at Utah Public Radio as a general reporting intern. After graduation, she covered city and county government at the Logan Herald Journal for a year before returning to UPR. 

When not working to bring you accurate, timely, local news, Matilyn enjoys reading, painting, traveling, and trying new food. 

 

The Utah Democratic Party Chair, Jeff Merchant issued an apology today on behalf of the state party to “several women who came forward years ago with (sexual harassment) allegations (that) were not treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.”

pixy.org

In an effort to help Utahns, especially women, who want to return to the workforce, Gov. Spencer Cox and Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson announced a new returnship program on Thursday. 

Derek Brown, the chair of the Utah GOP, announced on Tuesday that he will not seek reelection. In a statement, Brown wrote that while he had been encouraged by many people to run for another term, he and his wife Emilie decided the best way to meet their family’s needs was for him to conclude his service. 

During a press conference on Thursday, Gov. Spencer Cox said all Utahns should be able to sign up for a vaccine by April 1. He also urged residents to remain cautious and respectful of one another.

In an effort to help people get vaccinated, UTA announced on Wednesday that through June 30, any of their forms of transportations will be free to users on the day of their confirmed COVID-19 vaccine appointment. 


Sen. Mike is criticizing the massive election reform bill that passed the United States House of Representatives earlier this week, saying it was “written by the devil himself” on Fox & Friends this morning, according to a report from The Salt Lake Tribune. 

Utahns who receive the COVID-19 vaccine and experience side effects can call the Utah Poison Control Center for assistance. The center is staffed 24/7 and is prepared to answer questions about adverse reactions to the vaccine as well as make reports about such incidents.

A Utah business owner is calling on Gov. Spencer Cox to veto the bill that would end Utah’s mask mandate on April 10 because he says many essential workers who provide face-to-face services will not be fully vaccinated by then. 

A report from Vice this week stated that practices of the anti-human trafficking group with ties to Utah, Operation Underground Railroad, may actually increase demand for child trafficking. 

In honor of International Women’s Day, Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson is calling on Utahns to join her in “choosing to challenge” for women’s equality.

Courtesy of Intermountain Healthcare

Vaccine eligibility in Utah continues to expand. On Monday, all residents over age 50 will qualify for a vaccine, as well as people over age 16 with certain underlying conditions.

Sen. Mitt Romney says he supports the efforts of Republican Sen. Ron Johnson to read aloud on the Senate floor all 600-pages of the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package, according to the Deseret News. This could take as long as 10 hours.

Gov. Spencer Cox is encouraging Utahns to give to the Pamela Atkinson Homeless Trust Fund on their 2020 Utah state tax forms. 

Interfaith groups from multiple universities in Utah are sponsoring a virtual panel on racial diversity and justice this week. The panel will feature Pastor Corey Hodges from the multicultural church The Point Church in Salt Lake City, Imaam Yasir Butt from Masjid Al-Noor in Salt Lake City, and Eric Richards from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint institute in Logan, according to a report from the Utah Statesman. 

The Utah Legislature will wrap up the 2021 session on Friday and according to Holly Richardson of Utah Policy, new bills were still being released on Friday. 

According to Gov. Spencer Cox, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should be available in Utah next week. The vaccine was recommended for immediate use by the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee Friday and FDA approval is expected to come this weekend. A press release from Cox’s office stated they expect the state to start receiving these vaccines on Wednesday. 

School districts would be able to allow 16- and 17 year-old students to vote in school board elections if H.B. 338 passed the Utah State Legislature. 

A concurrent resolution encouraging k-12 schools in Utah to consider retiring Native American names and mascots failed in the Utah House on Tuesday, 27 to 45. 


As Utah’s supply of vaccines increases, state officials are asking for volunteers to help ensure the capacity to administer vaccines matches that supply.

A bill that eliminates the requirement in Utah's revenge porn laws that victims must have experienced “actual distress” passed the Utah House on Monday. 

Criminal charges have been filed against the alleged organizers of a Utah County Halloween Party, according to the Provo Daily Herald.

 

A North Ogden charter school has reversed its decision to allow parents to opt their children out of the school’s Black history month curriculum. 

The Utah State Senate passed a bill on Thursday that would allow for residents over 21 who legally own a gun to conceal carry their firearm without a permit. H.B. 60, which already passed the House with an overwhelming majority, will need to be passed by the House one more time and be signed by the governor before it becomes law. Gov. Spencer Cox has already indicated that he intends to sign the bill.

 

Utah Senator Mitt Romney proposed the Family Secure Act on Thursday, which would provide families with a $350 cash benefit each month for children under age 6 and $250 monthly benefit for children ages 6-17. Families would be able to begin receiving this benefit four months before a child’s due date. 

Since the U.S. Capitol last month, more than 7,600 active Republican voters in Utah have left the GOP, according to reporting from the Salt Lake Tribune. In contrast, about 4,000 voters have left the unaffiliated category and 830 have left the Democratic party. 

Gov. Spencer Cox named Brigham Young University professor Rex L. Facer as the chair of the state’s redistricting committee. 

The Utah Senate passed a bill on Monday creating a state flag task force. Efforts to create a new flag have been recurring over the past few legislative sessions and if passed, S.B. 48 will create a task force that will be charged with creating a process for public feedback in selecting a new flag and providing a report recommending new flag designs. 

Utah has not seen an increase in deaths by suicide or drug overdose since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report from the Utah Department of Health.

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