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Daily news: Legislature faces confusion, criticism over Juneteenth observation day

Photo of a Juneteenth flag flying on a pole near the American flag. The Juneteenth flag is blue on top and red on bottom with a white star in the middle surrounded by a burst outline. On the end of the flag is written "June 19, 1865."
Keegan Barber

This is your rundown of the daily news for Thursday, June 20. In this edition:

Check out our full-length stories out today:

Mitt Romney, bipartisan US senators seek to extend Colorado River conservation program

4:12 p.m.

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators, including Mitt Romney, introduced a bill this week that would extend a program to conserve Colorado River water on some Western farms. The System Conservation Pilot Program program spent $45 million on relatively small water savings over the last two years.

Proponents say it’s providing valuable lessons about how to convince farmers and ranchers to sign up for water conservation programs. Critics say the program’s year-by-year focus isn’t the best use of federal money that would be better spent on long-term water conservation work.

The new bill would extend the program into 2026.

Agriculture uses 80% of the water from the Colorado River. Climate change and steady demand are shrinking its supplies.

After confusion and criticism, lawmaker plans to move Juneteenth observance day

2:00 p.m.

After some confusion and criticism, a Utah legislator is planning to change her bill on the observance of Juneteenth.

In 2022, the Utah State Legislature passed a bill requiring Juneteenth to be recognized on the nearest Monday rather than the federal holiday of June 19, with the intention of allowing Utahns a three-day weekend for the holiday.

When the legislature met on Wednesday for a special session, however, they faced criticism for meeting on the federal holiday.

In response to the confusion, Rep. Sandra Hollins, sponsor of the original bill and the legislature’s only Black lawmaker, said she plans to adjust the bill next year to have Utah observe Juneteenth on the day rather than the nearest Monday.

Campfire restrictions in effect for Provo foothills

2:00 p.m.

Campfire restrictions have gone into effect for the Provo foothills as fire danger increases with Utah’s dry summer heat.

Under the restrictions, which went into effect Wednesday as ordered by the Provo City Fire Marshal, fires are prohibited in the Provo City watershed except in approved fire pits in improved campgrounds and picnic areas and in permanent fire pits on residential properties.

Officials also reminded Utahns to always fully extinguish the fire when they are finished. According to the U.S. Forest Service, all embers should be drowned in water, not just red ones, and then stirred to ensure everything is wet and cold to the touch. Fires should not be buried, as the fire will continue to smolder and could catch roots on fire that eventually get to the surface.

Violations of the order mean a class B misdemeanor. Restrictions will remain in effect until officials rescind them.

InTech Collegiate Academy moving from USU location

8:54 a.m.

After 18 years on Utah State University’s Innovation Campus in Logan, InTech Collegiate Academy is moving to Bridgerland Technical College’s campus.

InTech’s Principal Jason Stanger says the new building is 50% larger than InTech’s former facility.

Students do all their high school classes at InTech, but can also earn college credit through concurrent enrollment and advanced placement classes.

Stanger said overall the renovation and move cost around $1 million.

InTech is one of several collegiate high schools in Utah. InTech focuses on STEM, especially robotics and computer programming.

Utah woman admits to murder of parents and attempted murder of brother

8:54 a.m.

A Utah woman allegedly told police she hated her parents and had no remorse after brutally shooting her parents multiple times, killing them inside their Washington home, prompting an all-night manhunt before she was finally found and booked into jail Wednesday.

Mia Bailey was arrested for investigation of two counts of aggravated murder, attempted aggravated murder, seven counts of shooting a gun, and aggravated burglary.

The victims were identified as Joseph and Gail Bailey. Bailey also fired a shot into the bedroom door where her brother had locked himself inside, according to the affidavit.

Officers from the Washington Police Department, Washington County Sheriff's Office, and the Utah Department of Public Safety launched an all-night search for Bailey.

Bailey was surrounded and eventually surrendered without further incident about 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.

At 14-years-old, Kerry began working as a reporter for KVEL “The Hot One” in Vernal, Utah. Her radio news interests led her to Logan where she became news director for KBLQ while attending Utah State University. She graduated USU with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and spent the next few years working for Utah Public Radio. Leaving UPR in 1993 she spent the next 14 years as the full time mother of four boys before returning in 2007. Kerry and her husband Boyd reside in Nibley.
Duck is a general reporter and weekend announcer at UPR, and is studying broadcast journalism and disability studies at USU. They grew up in northern Colorado before moving to Logan in 2018, so the Rocky Mountain life is all they know. Free time is generally spent with their dog, Monty, listening to podcasts, reading or wishing they could be outside more.