Stories from the Associated Press

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New York billionaire Mike Bloomberg’s presidential campaign strategy is unprecedented and so is his choice of a Utah rally location to bounce back from an unsteady debate performance. He was in Salt Lake City on Thursday, where Democrats are fired up about new attention from candidates courting their votes on Super Tuesday for the first time. Bloomberg found a friendly audience of hundreds who were laser-focused on the effort to defeat Donald Trump.

A Utah man has been found guilty of three hate crimes for shouting that he wanted to “kill Mexicans” before attacking three Latinos at a tire shop. The Salt Lake Tribune reported Wednesday that Alan Dale Covington was convicted of attacking Jose Lopez and his 18-year-old son with a metal pole in November 2018. Court documents show that Covington went to another auto shop two days earlier allegedly screaming similar slurs. Defense attorneys countered that Covington was suffering from delusions. They expect to appeal.

A Utah man whose body was found in a freezer exonerated his wife by leaving a typed, notarized note saying she bore no responsibility in his death. Authorities say the note left in December 2008 by Paul Edward Mathers cleared the late Jeanne Souron-Mathers, although questions remain about his body's placement in the freezer. A maintenance worker found the 75-year-old woman in her Tooele home Nov. 22 after she died of natural causes.

Brigham Young University in Utah has revised its strict code of conduct to strip a rule that banned any behavior that reflected “homosexual feelings," which LGBTQ students and their allies felt created an unfair double standard not imposed on heterosexual couples. The university is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which teaches its members that being gay isn't a sin, but engaging in same-sex intimacy is. BYU's revisions to what the college calls its “honor code" don't change the faith's opposition to same-sex relationships or gay marriage.

Fort George G. Meade Public Affairs Office Follow / flickr

The Boy Scouts of America face an uncertain future after filing for bankruptcy to deal with a mountain of sex-abuse lawsuits. Some former Scouts are worried about the damage to the Boy Scouts' wholesome reputation. The organization hopes to set up a victims' compensation fund for potentially thousands of men who were molested as youngsters by Scout leaders. But battles lie ahead over such things as access to internal Scout files, the deadline for filing claims and whether local Scout councils can be forced to sell campgrounds or other assets.

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PROVO, Utah (The Daily Herald) — Provo city officials have approved amending the land use code allowing ancillary breweries in restaurants in two downtown zones and in regional shopping center areas. The Daily Herald reported Tuesday that Provo City Council voted 4-3 on the amendment after hearing public comments. Supporters say it allows brew pubs to have economic value, bring more diversity and provide a welcoming atmosphere for visitors.

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah lawmakers have voted to put new regulations on pornography and remove some on polygamy in separate proposals moving quickly through the Legislature. Senators voted Tuesday to remove the threat of jail time for consenting adult polygamists. Supporters argue the step would allow people in communities that practice plural marriage to report abuses without fear of prosecution. Later, House lawmakers approved a proposal to require warning labels on pornography.

PROVO, Utah (The Daily Herald) — The Utah County clerk's office has announced it expects to use a mobile voting application in elections this year despite concerns raised by cybersecurity researchers. The Daily Herald reported Monday that Voatz utilizes blockchain and facial recognition technology to enable certain residents to vote without having to submit a ballot by mail or in person. Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology say the application is vulnerable to attacks that could violate election integrity.

SALT LAKE CITY (The Salt Lake Tribune) — A woman from Washington D.C. has died while rappelling a canyon in central Utah. The Salt Lake Tribune reported Tuesday that the 33-year-old woman was climbing near Hanksville before falling 40 feet down the slot canyon. Wayne County sheriff's officials say a canyoneering party told deputies that the woman was coming out of Angel Cove Canyon when she slid 20 feet, then fell another 40 feet to the bottom of the canyon. Deputies say the woman's friends attempted to resuscitate her, but she was declared dead at the scene.

The Hill

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders campaign is expanding its Utah operation with a new state headquarters opening in Salt Lake City and new staff hires. The Sanders campaign said in a statement to The Associated Press that the new headquarters will officially open on Wednesday and four people are being added to the staff, including a state coordinator and a regional field director. Co-chairs for the Sanders campaign in Utah include Democratic Utah Rep. Angela Romero and Black Lives Matter Utah founder Lex Scott.

SALT LAKE CITY (The Salt Lake Tribune) — An important dinosaur site that has fallen into neglect would be protected as Utah's 45th state park under a measure being proposed in the state Legislature. The Salt Lake Tribune reports the bill would create Utahraptor State Park about 15 miles north of Moab. The creation of a state park is backed by Grand County leaders who have long wanted to safeguard the quarry. State paleontologist Jim Kirkland says the area is the most important dinosaur site in the U.S.

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SALT LAKE CITY (Deseret News) — The Salt Lake County District Attorney has found 15 law enforcement officers were justified in firing nearly 200 shots at a man following a pursuit prompted by several robberies and random gunfire. Harold Vincent Robinson died in April 2019 when he was shot after his pickup truck crashed into a business. District Attorney Sim Gill found that 10 Salt Lake police officers, three Utah Highway Patrol troopers and two other officers were legally justified in their use of deadly force.

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A car repair shop owner in Utah has spoken publicly for the first time about an attack against him, his brother and his son by a man with a metal rod who has been charged with hate crimes. Jose Lopez testified about the attack Thursday at the opening of the trial against Alan Dale Covington. He says Covington screamed that he wanted to kill a Mexcian. Lopez says the November 2018 attack at his shop in Salt Lake City has destroyed his life. Covington has pleaded not guilty to federal hate crimes charges and his attorney says he suffers from delusions. 

PROVO, Utah (The Daily Herald) — Native American women face a murder rate that is more than 10 times the national average, and a Utah lawmaker wants to address the violence. The Daily Herald in Provo reports Democratic state Rep. Angela Romero said her top priority this year is her proposal to create a task force aimed at studying violence against indigenous women. Those crimes can be particularly challenging to investigate because they often involve many different agencies.

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah authorities are investigating an attack on a black missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a possible hate crime. Two men were arrested Thursday on suspicion of assault, and charging documents show hate crime is under consideration. The documents show the victim and his missionary companion were preparing to go to a house of people they were going to teach Jan. 28 in the central Utah city of Payson when they encountered six people wearing dark hoodies.

SALT LAKE CITY (The Salt Lake Tribune) — A bill eliminating the option to vote for all candidates of a political party by checking a single box on a ballot has gained momentum in Utah. The Salt Lake Tribune reported that some lawmakers believe ending straight-ticket ballots could encourage thoughtful voting and consideration of each race individually. The bill sponsored by Democratic state Rep. Patrice Arent was advanced by Utah House representatives Thursday.

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Trump administration wants to spend $1.5 billion over 10 years to create a U.S. uranium reserve, claiming that reliance on cheaper uranium imports threatens the country's energy security. But some market analysts, lawmakers and others say the Republican president is seeking a taxpayer handout for uranium companies that can’t compete in the global market. And residents near a Utah uranium mine say they fear an increase in radioactive threats. Demand for the nuclear fuel has plunged globally since Japan's 2011 Fukushima disaster.

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SALT LAKE CITY (Deseret News) — A bill that would expand opportunities for enhanced kindergarten early intervention programs has passed the Utah House of Representatives. The Deseret News reports the latest version of the bill would provide additional resources to expand the reach of the program. The bill is intended to help bring struggling students to grade-level proficiency and above as they enter first grade. The program is optional to parents, school districts and charter schools. Participating districts and schools must apply for grant funding.

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SALT LAKE CITY (Deseret News) — Lawmakers in the Utah House have passed an updated bill to ban minors from using tanning beds even with parental consent. The Deseret News reports an earlier version of the bill that would have prohibited minors from using tanning beds even with a doctor’s note was defeated earlier in the current legislative session. The new version of the bill sponsored by Republican Rep. Brad Daw struck the provision regarding doctor permission.

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Pornography should come with warning labels that say exposure to minors could be harmful, according to a Utah state lawmaker who is proposing fines of $2,500 to companies that fail to comply. The bill is headed to the state House for debate after passing in the Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. One lawmaker said the bill’s proposed fine of up to $2,500 per violation says that's not steep enough.

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WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah (Deseret News) — A Utah police officer helped deliver a baby whose mom got stuck in rush-hour traffic en route to a hospital —but he concedes he was not calm in the process. The Deseret News reported Tuesday that West Valley officer Jeremy Dean was on duty when a car in front of him stopped and the driver got out waving his hands and said his wife was having a baby. Dean said he just tried to keep the baby from going anywhere after it was born.

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Salt Lake City may shift its focus to bidding for the 2034 Winter Olympics rather than the Games four years earlier following the announcement that Sapporo, Japan, will bid for 2030. Organizing committee President Fraser Bullock says they will do a careful analysis in the coming months about the pros and cons between bidding for 2030 or 2034 and then inform the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee of its decision.

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The University of Utah has agreed to an energy deal to allow the school to get more than half of its electricity through renewable sources. That makes it the first public college in the state to do so. The Salt Lake Tribune reported that the college finalized the purchase of geothermal energy with Cyrq Energy in November, fueling 53.7% of the university's electricity with renewable energy. Officials say the Salt Lake City campus was previously operating with less than 5% renewable energy.

National Park Services

Utah's congressional delegation has signed a letter opposing the proposed use of a reservation system for Zion National Park. The Spectrum reported the National Park Service plans to move forward with a capacity study that could result in a mandated reservation system for the park in southwest Utah. Park officials have sought ways to mitigate overcrowding at Zion. Among the proposals is requiring visitors to register before being allowed entry. The letter to Interior Secretary David L.

A law requiring abortion and medical providers to cremate or bury fetal remains passed the state Senate Tuesday in Utah. It's of several states considering similar measures that abortion-rights advocates say stigmatize the procedure. The proposals come after the U.S. Supreme Court last year upheld a similar Indiana law signed by then-Gov. Mike Pence. The requirements also apply to miscarriages at medical facilities. Supporters say they would be more dignified and create space if people need to grieve.

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