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UTAH ELECTIONS CHANGES

Utah Legislature approves Count My Vote deal

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A deal between Utah legislators and a group pushing to overhaul Utah's system for nominating political candidates is headed for Gov. Gary Herbert's desk.

The Utah Senate voted 21-7 to approve the measure Wednesday, hours after the House approved the measure on a 49-20 vote.

A faction of Republicans voted against the measure in both chambers, citing opposition to the deal and any legislation that tells political parties how to operate.

The deal from state lawmakers and the group Count My Vote preserves Utah's caucus-convention system but allows primary elections as an alternative path to the ballot if a candidate gathers enough signatures.

Count My Vote vows to continue a ballot initiative to let voters dump the caucus system entirely in favor of primaries unless Herbert signs the compromise legislation.

DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME

Utah bill to study daylight saving time advances

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A proposal to study whether Utah should continue to observe daylight saving time is advancing at the Legislature.

A Senate committee voted 4-2 on Wednesday morning to advance the measure to the full Senate for a vote.

Garland Republican Rep. Ronda Menlove is sponsoring the bill, which she says gives those with opinions about the practice an opportunity to voice their concerns or support.

Menlove says proposals to stop observing daylight saving time have been unsuccessfully introduced at the Legislature many times. She says a public meeting will allow anyone frustrated with that to make their case.

The proposal also requires the governor's economic development office to make a recommendation about any future action on daylight savings.

EDUCATION BOARD-APPOINTEE

Utah brings on new member of state education board

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah Gov. Gary Herbert has appointed a new member of the Utah State Board of Education.

Terryl Warner will fill the District 1 seat vacated by Tami Pyfer, who resigned in January to become the governor's education adviser.

Warner is the current director of victim services for the Cache County Attorney's Office, a post she has held since 2004.

The governor in a statement said Warner's experience working with children in the court system makes her valuable to the board.

Warner has a bachelor's degree from the University of Southern California's Annenberg School of Communications, where she studied public relations.

The board parcels out state dollars to individual school districts. It also sets curriculum standards, approves charter schools and oversees teacher licensing.

XGR-SEXUAL ORIENTATION-DISCRIMINATION

Gay rights protesters return to Utah Capitol

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Protesters pushing for Utah to adopt a statewide anti-discrimination law protecting sexual and gender orientation returned to the state Capitol Wednesday to advocate for their cause.

At a news conference and rally, the group called out lawmakers for refusing to hear the bill.

The protesters were arrested at the Capitol three week ago when they blocked several committee rooms to draw attention to the bill.

The bill, which would bar discrimination in housing and employment, has been stalled this session.

Republican leaders at the Legislature have called for a moratorium on any issues they fear could affect the state's pending legal challenge over its same-sex marriage ban.

St. George Republican Sen. Steve Urquhart, who is sponsoring the proposal, says it has nothing to do with same-sex marriage.

GAY MARRIAGE-APPEALS COURT

Dozens of supporting briefs in gay marriage cases

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A total of 27 groups, organizations and coalitions have filed friend of the court briefs urging a federal appeals court to legalize gay marriage in Utah and Oklahoma.

In addition to a group of Western Republicans and national associations of sociologists and psychologists, an argument was also submitted before the Tuesday midnight deadline by a coalition of companies including Starbucks, eBay, Facebook and Google.

Last month, 26 groups filed friend of the court briefs asking the court to uphold same-sex marriage bans in the two states.

Hearings are set for mid-April before the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The judges must decide if they agree with federal judges in Utah and Oklahoma who ruled the state same-sex marriage bans violate gay and lesbian couples' Constitutional rights.

POLICE SHOOTOUT-MESQUITE

Man in Nevada police shooting gets 12 to 30 months

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A 41-year-old ex-convict from Utah could be eligible for parole almost immediately after he was sentenced to 12 to 30 months in prison in a shooting that left him and a Mesquite police officer wounded almost a year ago.

Daniel Wesley Runyon's public defender, Melissa Navarro, told a judge on Wednesday that Runyon shot himself in the head before he was also shot by police during a traffic stop last March 21.

Navarro says she can't account for a gunshot that wounded Mesquite police Officer Craig Empey.

Runyon also spells his last name Runyan.

He pleaded guilty in November to being an ex-convict in possession of a firearm.

His plea deal avoided trial on multiple charges including attempted murder, assault with a weapon and drug transport and trafficking.

MARINE TRAINING OPERATION-UTAH

Marines special ops team plans training in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Marine Corps special operations unit will be swooping into Utah in August to conduct a nighttime urban training mission.

Maj. Gen Jeffrey Buffu briefed the Salt Lake County Council on the unit's plans on Tuesday. He says much of the training will take place at Camp Williams, but other exercises will happen Aug. 19 at Unified Fire Authority's training center in Magna or on land owned by ATK.

Training coordinator Paul Weddle says if the Marines are doing their job correctly, citizens likely will never see them. He says the exercise will involve firing non-lethal, paintball-like shots.

Buffu says citizens might also notice aircraft such as Marine helicopters hovering overhead.

Buffu says urban training is especially valuable because 80 percent of the world's population live in urban settings.

JUVENILE CENTER RUNAWAYS

Police seek 4 runaways from Draper youth center

DRAPER, Utah (AP) — Authorities are looking for four teen boys who ran away from a center for troubled teens in Draper.

Officials say the boys vanished from the Genesis Youth Center about 7 p.m. Tuesday. Police have issued arrest warrants for the teens, who are 15, 16, 17 and 18.

Staff members say the boys have relatives in Sandy, Draper, Lehi and Vernal and may be trying to get to their families.

They had been wearing dark green sweatshirts, basketball shoes and dark green shorts of sweatpants.

Elizabeth Sollis of the Utah Department of Human Services says the boys aren't believed to be armed.

TSA EXPEDITED

TSA expands Pre-Check program to Utah airport

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah travelers will soon be able to qualify for expedited security screenings at the Salt Lake City airport.

The Transportation Security Administration announced Tuesday a new enrollment center for the agency's Pre-Check program at Salt Lake City International Airport's Terminal 1.

Approved travelers can keep shoes, outwear and belts on, keep laptops in their cases and carry-on approved liquids and gels in bags.

U.S. citizens or permanent residents can apply with the agency to become qualified pre-screened travelers.

Applicants must visit the enrollment center in person to verify their identity, confirm their citizenship and provide fingerprints.

Registering with the program costs $85.

In Utah, participating airlines include Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines and US Airways.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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