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Daily news: Rocky Mountain Power proposes 30% rate increase over 18 months

A person, visible from the neck to the waist, counting a stack of dollar bills in their hand.
Alexander Grey

This is your rundown of the daily news for Tuesday, July 2. In this edition:

  • The primary race between Maloy and Jenkins is still too close to call
  • Rocky Mountain Power is proposing a 30% bill increase over 18 months
  • Utahns and sheep are helping clear debris to prevent wildfires
  • The man who admitted to killing Dylan Rounds has been charged with murder and various gun charges
  • A lawsuit against the founder and former CEO of Operation Underground Railroad has been dismissed
  • A new Florida law will honor domestic violence victim Gabby Petito

Primary race between Maloy, Jenkins still too close to call

3:11 p.m.

A week after Republican primary elections in Utah, the 2nd Congressional District race between incumbent Rep. Celeste Maloy and Colby Jenkins is still too close to call.

Maloy's lead has shrunk since election night, but she still holds 50.1% of the vote compared to Jenkins’ 49.9%.

About 2% of votes are yet uncounted, and in Washington County, where Jenkins has his strongest support, 607 ballots still need to be “cured,” which means correcting errors and verifying signatures.

Though the race is close, it’s still not at the threshold where a recount can be requested, which is a margin of 0.25% of the total votes cast. For the 2nd District, that would be about 266 votes, and according to KSL, Maloy leads by 309 votes as of Tuesday morning.

Rocky Mountain Power proposes 30% bill increase over 18 months

3:11 p.m.

Rocky Mountain Power is proposing a rate change that would significantly increase customers’ electricity bills.

The proposal would raise rates by about 15% in 2025 and about another 15% in 2026. This would mean a monthly power bill increase of approximately $24 by the end of 2026, according to numbers by Rocky Mountain Power.

A spokesman with the company said the increase is partly because inflation has caused the cost of fuel and wholesale power have gone up. Other factors were capital investments and power projects, including finishing a 400-mile transmission line into central Utah.

The proposal has faced backlash from some customers as well as Gov. Spencer Cox, who called it “completely unacceptable” in a statement on the social platform X.

Rocky Mountain Power filed an application with the Utah Public Service Commission last week asking permission for the increase. The process for approval takes about eight months, after which the commission will decide the final rate moving forward.

Utahns, sheep help clear debris to help prevent wildfires

3:11 p.m.

Unified Fire Authority fuels crews are working with Utah homeowners to clear debris and potential fire fuels that could ignite or further spread wildfires.

Potential fuels include not just dead grass or branches but green vegetation too. Removing it also creates a firebreak around homes, slowing or stopping the fire’s progress to make it easier for residents to get out safely.

At Camp Williams in Bluffdale, the U.S. Army is even enlisting sheep to clear fire dangers at the base by letting them feed on grasses near the base’s range over the next week.

The Unified Fire Authority is urging Utahns to practice fire safety this season, especially around the Fourth of July holiday.

Man who admitted to killing Dylan Rounds charged with murder and various gun charges

8:02 a.m.

Monday in Brigham City, 1st District Court Judge Brandon Maynard told James Brenner that he will recommend to parole board officials that they keep him as long as they can.

Brenner has been sentenced to one to 15 years for the murder of Dylan Rounds, who was farming in the Lucin area when he disappeared on May 28, 2022. Brenner was living on Dylan Rounds' property.

As part of a plea deal that reduced the key charge he faced in the matter from aggravated murder, a first-degree felony, to murder, a second-degree felony, Brenner agreed to disclose the location of Rounds' remains, which were recovered in the Lucin area on April 9.

Brenner also received two sentences of one to 15 years imprisonment in a separate case on two counts of possession of a firearm by a restricted person, to be served consecutively to the sentence in the murder case.

Lawsuit against Operation Underground Railroad founder and former CEO dismissed

8:02 a.m.

A Utah judge has dismissed a lawsuit by a former Marine against Operation Underground Railroad founder and former CEO Tim Ballard, finding a liability waiver barred the woman from filing suit.

Bree Righter alleged that she suffered a fractured orbital bone during an Operation Underground Railroad training and that she was sexually assaulted while working with the anti-human trafficking organization.

Utah 3rd District Judge Kristine Johnson dismissed Righter's claims with prejudice, citing a liability release included in the contractor agreement signed by Righter. Johnson also dismissed claims of conspiracy, negligence, and premises liability against Operation Underground Railroad and Ballard, along with a claim of fraud against Ballard, without prejudice.

The lawsuit is one of several filed against Ballard last year.

New Florida law will honor domestic violence victim Gabby Petito

8:02 a.m.

A new law in Florida is reshaping how law enforcement handles potential cases of domestic violence. Dubbed the 'Gabby Petito Act,' it honors the memory of the 22-year-old who tragically lost her life in 2021 at the hands of her fiancé, Brian Laundrie.

As of July 1, SB 1224, also known as the 'Gabby Petito Act', mandates law enforcement to conduct a lethality assessment protocol (LAP) for all reported incidents of domestic violence in Florida.

Body camera footage shows police in Utah responding to a reported domestic violence incident involving the couple, long before their names hit headlines nationally. Officers determined Petito to be the aggressor but ultimately let them go.

Just weeks later, Brian strangled Gabby to death. Petito’s grieving parents sued the police department, alleging they overlooked critical signs of domestic violence.

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.