Politics

Politics
5:36 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Utah's Democratic Party Leader Resigns

Democratic Party Chair Jim Dabakis has stepped down as chairman. He will run for reelection in his progressive, Salt Lake City District
Credit Brian Grimmett

The chairman of the Utah Democratic party is stepping down from the position he’s held for nearly three years.

Jim Dabakis says he’s resigning to deal with an undisclosed medical condition. But he says the move also frees him to be a stronger advocate for progressive causes. 

“As a party chair, I often felt constrained about what I would say,” Dabakis explains, “and what I could say not wanting to hold candidates from the rural parts of the state to a flaming progressive agenda.”

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Politics
3:17 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Candidates File to Run in Utah’s Second Congressional District

Utah's second congressional district

As the deadline looms, several candidates filed to run for the congressional seat in Utah’s second district this week including the Republican incumbent and the potential Democratic front-runner.  

On Wednesday morning, Republican Congressman Chris Stewart met with reporters at the state Capitol as he filed his paperwork to run for re-election. The incumbent won his seat in the 2012 election with more than 60 percent of the vote and he’s confident he’ll post similar numbers when voters turn out in November.

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Politics
1:42 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Sean Reyes Begins His Campaign to Remain Utah's Attorney General

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes
Brian Grimmett

It’s been three months since Governor Gary Herbert appointed Sean Reyes to fill the vacancy left by John Swallow in the Attorney General’s office, and today Reyes officially filed to run to keep the spot for the remainder of Swallow’s term.

Reyes says he wants to keep his position so he can continue implementing changes aimed at improving the public’s eroding trust in the Attorney General’s office in the aftermath of the John Swallow scandals. He says he’s already seeing results and he’d like to continue what he’s started.

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Politics
2:52 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

Democrat Charles Stormont to Run for Attorney General

Democrat Charles Stormont announces his candidacy for Utah Attorney General
Brian Grimmett

Democrat Charles Stormont has filed to run in the special election to replace former Attorney General John Swallow.

Charles Stormont has worked as an attorney in the Utah Attorney General’s office for the past 6 years.  He says the Swallow scandal and the effects it had on the office is one of the main reasons he decided to run.

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Politics
5:23 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Mia Love and Doug Owens File for 4th Congressional District Race

Republican Mia Love files paperwork to run again for Utah's 4th Congressional District, while campaign manager Dave Hansen looks on. (March 17, 2014)
Andrea Smardon

UPDATE: Additional candidates who have filed for the 4th Congressional District include Bill Peterson (DEM), Bob Fuehr (REP), and Jim Vein (LIB).

The race for Utah Congressman Jim Matheson’s seat is on. Republican Mia Love and Democrat Doug Owens both filed Monday to represent the 4th District. Love narrowly lost to Matheson in the last election, and claims to be a better candidate than she was in 2012. But Owens insists he could still pull off a win.

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Politics
2:33 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Neighborhoods Hold State Party Caucuses This Week

Democratic Caucuses welcome all comers to the neighborhood meetings Tuesday.
Credit Image from DonkeyHotey / https://www.flickr.com/photos/donkeyhotey/

State Republican and Democratic Party Caucuses are this week. People will gather in neighborhoods across Utah to discuss candidates and issues and to elect their neighborhood delegate. Tuesday is the Democratic Party Caucus. Republicans meet on Thursday. Anna Thompson is the Communications Director for the Democratic Party. She says this is the smallest organizing unit in any election, so it’s very important for everyone to become involved.

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Politics
12:14 am
Fri March 14, 2014

Swallow Scandal Results in Campaign Finance Changes

Utah Attorney General John Swallow resigns from office
Brian Grimmett

The scandal surrounding former Utah Attorney General John Swallow not only ended in his resignation, but also brought about several changes to Utah’s campaign finance reporting laws. 

The House’s investigation into John Swallow came with a price tag of about $4 million. A cost House Speaker Becky Lockhart says was well worth it.

“It was a high cost, but we cannot put a price on public trust," she says. "One does not cut corners when the very integrity of the justice system is at question.”

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Politics
3:35 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

2014 Utah Legislature Comes to a Close

File: Utah State Capitol
Brian Grimmett

As the 2014 session of the Utah Legislature comes to a close we're putting together an ongoing list of the best sights, sounds, stories, and tweets from the last day. Be sure to check back frequently to see the lastest.

Politics
3:13 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Utah Legislature Rushes Through Final Day

Utah Senate Clerk Paula Tew conducts a roll-call vote
Dan Bammes

  It’s the last day of Utah’s general legislative session.  State senators and representatives will be working ‘till midnight to get as many bills passed as they can. 

Whether it’s the chime that tells members of the House it’s time to vote, or state Senate clerk Paula Tew calling the roll, the final day of the legislative session is filled with vote after vote after vote.  Inevitably, there are many bills that won’t pass.  And there are issues that won’t be addressed in this session.

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Politics
3:52 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Sex Abuse Education Bill Passes Legislature

Utah State Senate
Wikimedia Commons

  House Bill 286 passed a final vote in the Utah House of Representatives 71-0 on Wednesday, after an amendment in the Senate required it to come back one last time.

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Politics
2:40 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Final Report on Swallow Presented to House, Released to Public

File: Former Utah Attorney General John Swallow resigns
Brian Grimmett

Members of the House Special Investigative Committee of former Attorney General John Swallow presented their final report to the full body of the Utah House of Representatives Wednesday. The presentation on the House floor marked the conclusion of the nearly 9 month long investigation into Swallow.

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Politics
2:22 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

House Swallow Investigation Approves Final Report

Rep. Jim Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville
Brian Grimmett

The House Special Investigative Committee of former Utah Attorney General John Swallow approved their final report Tuesday ending a nearly 9 months long process.

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Politics
11:24 am
Tue March 11, 2014

Legislative Humor: #InternPickUpLines

The normal place to find Utah political chatter on Twitter is #utpol, but on Tuesday morning the hashtag InternPickUpLines exploded with humor and wit perfect for the last few days of the Utah legislature. Here is a selection of the very best.

Politics
3:40 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Swallow Committee Delays Final Report

House Special Investigative Committee Chairman Jim Dunnigan
Brian Grimmett

The House Committee investigating former Attorney General John Swallow pushed back the release of their final report Friday. It is now scheduled for public release some time next week. Committee Chairman Rep. Jim Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville, says he delayed the release to be able to include information they only recently recovered from a crashed hard drive in one of Swallow’s personal computers.

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Politics
2:41 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Utah Unemployment drops to 3.9%

Utah Governor Gary Herbert announces new employment numbers, March 7, 2014
Dan Bammes

  Utah’s unemployment rate dropped below four percent in February for the first time since 2008.

Governor Gary Herbert was beaming as he went before the TV cameras this morning to say Utah’s unemployment rate stands at 3.9 percent, compared to a national rate of 6.7 percent.  The statewide rate of job growth is at 2.8 percent.

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Politics
4:24 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

House Minority Leader Jennifer Seelig Won't Run for Re-Election

Women top the leadership of both parties in Utah’s House of Representatives. But that’s going to change next year. Rep. Jennifer Seelig, D-Salt Lake, announced she’s stepping down as leader of the House Democrats. Like House Speaker Becky Lockhart, Seelig is the first woman in Utah’s history to hold her post. She says serving in the Legislature has been an education in juggling and she’s ready to focus once again on her personal goals.

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Politics
4:31 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Count My Vote Compromise Heads to Governor’s Desk

The Utah legislature has approved a compromise solution between the backers of a direct primary system and those who want to preserve the current caucus-convention system.

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Politics
3:10 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Count My Vote Compromise Advances to House Floor

Members of the House Government Operations Committee voted this morning to advance a newly-minted compromise between legislators and organizers of the Count My Vote ballot initiative. But several members of the committee say they won’t support the bill when it reaches the House Floor. 

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Politics
12:36 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Parks, Communities Lost Millions During Shutdown

Delicate Arch in Arches National Park
Dan Bammes

  The Interior Department issues a report every year on the economic benefit of national parks.  This year, that was complicated by the government shutdown that closed the parks for 16 days in October.

The report from the National Park Service estimates parks and gateway communities lost more than 400-million dollars in visitor spending during the 16-day government shutdown.

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Politics
6:59 pm
Sun March 2, 2014

Compromise Announced on Count My Vote

Utah State Senator Curt Bramble (R-Provo)
Dan Bammes

Leaders of the Count My Vote ballot initiative appeared with legislative leaders at a rare Sunday news conference to announce a compromise on the effort to replace Utah’s caucus-convention system for nominating political candidates.

The deal preserves the caucus system, but it also allows candidates to get on a primary election ballot by gathering voter signatures on a petition – from one thousand for a legislative seat to 28-thousand for a statewide office such as governor.

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Politics
3:25 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

Legislature Will Have a Modest Budget Surplus

Sen. Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, Executive Appropriations Co-Chair
Brian Grimmett

  Final revenue projections for the legislative session show the state will have a little more money in the coming year.  For some legislators, though, the numbers were a disappointment.

Budget co-chair Lyle Hillyard announced the new revenue estimates on the floor of the state Senate Friday morning.  One-time revenue – only available in this budget year – was up by 11-million dollars over earlier projections.  Ongoing revenue is expected to rise by 47-million dollars.  That will give the state a surplus just under 200-million dollars out of a total budget of about 13-billion.

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Politics
6:18 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

House Passes Bill to Limit Voter Details

Lawmakers say they want to add some privacy protection for voters' personal details, including birth dates, phone numbers and addresses.
Credit Utah Elections Office

    

The Utah House has passed a bill that would allow voters to keep their personal information private. That information is currently available from voter registration records that have been posted online.

Eric Hutchings, R-Kearns, supports a bill that would allow voters to choose whether they want their personal details from state election records to be public. Last year, a web site bought personal information for 1.5 million Utah voters and posted it on the web. Hutchings says that kind of data is fodder for thieves like the ones who stole his identity.

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Politics
4:17 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Mitt Romney Supports Count My Vote Initiative

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks at a town hall event in Dayton, Ohio, on March 3, 2012.
Photo by Terence Burlij/PBS NewsHour.

Organizers of The Count My Vote Initiative can now add Mitt Romney to their group of supporters. If passed, the proposal would move Utah to a direct primary election system.  But a bill moving through the legislature could keep the current caucus system intact.

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Politics
4:11 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Congressman Jason Chaffetz Opposes Count My Vote Initiative

Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-UT)

Mitt Romney has endorsed the Count My Vote initiative in Utah, but Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT3) said Monday he is opposed to changing the state’s nomination process from a caucus-convention system to direct primaries. In his annual address to the state legislature, Chaffetz told lawmakers he could never have beat incumbent Chris Cannon without the caucus system. He said he didn’t have big name ID, and he didn’t have big money, but he did spend time talking with delegates.

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Politics
2:37 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Public Lands, PILT Funding on Congressman Bishop's Agenda for Legislature

First District Congressman Rob Bishop (R-UT)
Congressman Rob Bishop

  Utah’s 1st District Congressman is hoping he can claim a key committee chairmanship that would give Utah a significant advantage in Congress.  That was one of the messages Republican Rob Bishop brought to the Utah legislature today. 

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Politics
3:57 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Matheson Addresses Legislature for the Last Time as a Utah Congressman

Courtesy of Congressman Jim Matheson

Democratic Congressman Jim Matheson addressed members of the Utah House and Senate on Thursday.  For now, it is the lawmaker’s last visit to the Capitol as a member of the state congressional delegation.

Congressman Matheson began his speech in the Utah House describing a political atmosphere in Washington, DC that is so partisan that un ending gridlock is the status quo. He says voters are fed up a congress that can’t get work together.

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Politics
2:28 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Conflict Between Count My Vote and Utah Legislature Heats Up Over SB54

Couny My Vote Executive Director Rich McKeon
Brian Grimmett

A bill that would exempt political parties from any outcome of the Count My Vote initiative passed another hurdle Thursday as the Utah Senate gave SB54 preliminary approval.

SB 54’s sponsor, Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, says the bill is the ultimate compromise between the political parties that want to keep the current caucus/convention system and the members of the Count My Vote initiative that want to move toward direct primaries.

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Politics
6:00 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Is Salt Lake City the Next Google Fiber City?

Current and possible future cities with Google Fiber Ultra High-Speed internet access.
Credit File: Google

Officials with Google announced Wednesday that Salt Lake City is on a list of nine cities where the company wants to expand its ultra-high speed network called Fiber.  It would be the same system that residents of Provo are now signing up for. Michael Slinger is the director of business operations for Google.  He says the announcement only marks the beginning of a six to nine month process.

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Politics
3:41 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

House Committee Approves Stericycle's Move to Tooele County

File: Stericycle Medical Waste Incinerator in North Salt Lake
Brian Grimmett

A house committee gave unanimous approval to a resolution Wednesday that would allow Stericycle to move their medical waste incinerator to Tooele County.

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Politics
3:05 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Governor Urges Caution on Bill to Counter Ballot Initiative

Utah Governor Gary Herbert
Utah Education Network

  Utah’s governor says the legislature should be cautious about interfering with a citizen initiative on how candidates for public office are nominated.  

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