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Friday PM headlines: Gov. Cox visits White House, bill to eliminate ranked choice voting

A white ballot envelope.
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Utah lawmakers vote to remove ranked choice voting from municipal elections

The Utah House voted yesterday to remove ranked choice voting as an option for city elections. This came more than a year before the pilot program’s original expiration date. The trial run was approved by state lawmakers in 2018.

Rep. Katy Hall said it was time to abandon the experiment with ranked choice voting, citing complications with its implementation and other issues. House Bill 290, sponsored by Hall, passed the house in a 43-26 vote. It will now be assigned to a Senate committee for consideration.

If it passes the Senate, the bill would change the repeal date for Utah’s voting methods pilot project from January 2026 to May 1, 2024. It would remove the measure from Utah code. Along with that, it would retire the state to a uniform standard of traditional voting for municipal elections in 2025.

Gov. Cox visits the White House

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, along with other governors from across the country, met with President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and others in the White House Friday to discuss bipartisan priorities.

This week the National Governors Association Winter Meeting is taking place in Washington D.C. with governors of more than 40 states and territories in attendance. They will discuss bipartisan solutions to housing affordability, artificial intelligence risks, workforce development, disaster response and other priorities. During the discussion at the White House, governors called on Congress and the administration to work together to address national challenges.

The governors also welcomed U.S. Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Amy Coney Barrett today for a discussion about Gov. Cox’s “Disagree Better” initiative. Tomorrow the governors will also hear from cabinet officials and national experts for sessions on issues such as artificial intelligence and disaster response.

Biden's program to forgive student loans starts today
The Biden-Harris Administration today is publishing a state-by-state breakdown of nearly 153,000 borrowers who are receiving $1.2 billion in loan forgiveness under President Biden’s Saving on a Valuable Education Plan.

The servicers started processing this forgiveness today. Borrowers in every state will have their loans canceled under this action. This also includes borrowers in U.S. territories. Borrowers received an email from President Biden on Wednesday that notified them they were approved for forgiveness and would not need to take further action to receive relief.

These borrowers will see their loans forgiven on their accounts in the coming weeks. The U.S. Department of Education will continue to identify and discharge other borrowers enrolled in the program who are eligible for this forgiveness on a regular basis.

Caitlin Keith is a general news reporter at UPR. She is from Lindon, Utah and is currently an undergrad student studying print journalism at USU. Caitlin loves to write and tell people’s stories. She is also a writer at the Utah Statesman. She loves to read, ski, play the cello and watch various TV shows.