Politics

Political news

The Utah House of Representatives passed a bill Wednesday that is intended to assist people who call for emergency help when someone is overdosing on drugs.

Amelia Sorich died of an overdose of heroin and cocaine even though two friends might have saved her life by calling for help. But the friends chose not to because they feared being prosecuted the drugs in their possession. Holladay Democratic Rep. Carol Spackman Moss says there are too many cases just like that. She crafted a bill to grant limited immunity to Good Samaritans who find themselves in a position to help.

    

Supporters and opponents of same-sex marriage gathered for separate rallies Tuesday night at the state Capitol. Both sides said fundamental values are at stake. 

A Republican state lawmaker from Tooele County is proposing legislation that would help fund the state’s defense of its law banning gay marriage. 

Representative Merrill Nelson’s bill would create a box on the state income tax form and allow state residents to give a portion of their tax refunds to the cause.   Nelson says people on both sides of the issue could benefit from his legislation.

USTAR Governing Authority Responds to Scathing Audit

Jan 28, 2014
Brian Grimmett

Members of the Utah Science Technology and Research Initiative or USTAR Governing body responded to a scathing audit today during one of the appropriations subcommittee at the Capitol.

Utah House Speaker Challenges Governor Herbert

Jan 27, 2014
Andrea Smardon

The Utah House of Representatives opened this year’s legislative session with some bold remarks from Republican Speaker Rebecca Lockhart, challenging Governor Gary Herbert.

Just like speeches from years’ past, Speaker Lockhart railed against the over-reach of the federal government, and insisted that Utah resist. But this time, she targeted Governor Herbert who has recently said that he favors some limited expansion of Medicaid in the state.

Brian Grimmett

On the first day of the 2014 legislative session, Republican leaders in the Utah Senate say there is little support for changing Utah’s liquor laws this year— specifically those laws dealing with the so-called “Zion Curtain” and a requirement that restaurant patrons announce their intent to eat food before ordering alcoholic beverages.

Gene Schaerr

The attorney hired to represent the state of Utah in its appeal of the same-sex marriage decision will also be working for a conservative think tank.

Brian Grimmett

House and Senate Democrats unveiled their plans for the 2014 legislative session today. Chief among them is a proposal to increase the minimum wage and another to create an independent elections commission in response to investigations into former Utah Attorney General John Swallow.

Representative Lynn Hemingway would like to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.25—what he calls a living wage. Hemingway says the bill would only impact workers over the age of 17.

Herbert Defends Stance on Same-Sex Marriage

Jan 16, 2014
KUED

  Utah Governor Gary Herbert says he believes regulating marriage is a state’s rights issue, but he understands many people are disappointed by his order to keep the state from recognizing same sex marriages performed legally after a key federal court decision.

Herbert says he was disappointed by federal Judge Robert Shelby’s decision invalidating Utah’s Amendment Three, which bars recognition of same-sex relationships. But earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court stayed Shelby’s ruling putting gay marriages on hold in Utah.

Brian Grimmett

Leaders of the Count My Vote initiative joined members of the opposition to discuss their ballot measure Wednesday during a panel at the Sutherland Institute Legislative Policy Conference.

Utah Counties Fear Elimination of PILT Funding

Jan 14, 2014
Dan Bammes

UPDATE:  Representative Rob Bishop (R-UT1) met yesterday with House leadership, including Speaker John Boehner and budget committee chair Paul Ryan.  Bishop says he's been assured funding for the Payment in Lieu of Taxes program will be included in an upcoming appr0priations bill, though not in the combined spending bill the House will be voting on Wednesday.

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  Members of Utah’s Congressional delegation are trying to save federal funding for rural counties. Losing it could hurt some counties badly. 

Bob Nelson

West Valley City’s new mayor, Ron Bigelow, was officially sworn into office along with three city council members Monday. The new mayor’s speech highlighted the diversity of the city’s residents as both strengths and challenges for the city. Bigelow called on West Valley citizens to play a larger part of making the city a better place to live.

Sean Reyes Sworn In As New Attorney General

Dec 30, 2013
Brian Grimmett

Sean Reyes was officially sworn in as the new Attorney General of Utah today in a ceremony at the State Capitol.

In a crowded Capitol Rotunda Sean Reyes took the oath of office to become Utah’s next Attorney General. The ceremony comes less than a year after former Attorney General John Swallow took the same oath, only later to resign in the midst of several investigations into his conduct. Reyes says his first job is to restore the public’s trust in his office.

Rep. Jim Nielson Won't Run for a Third Term

Dec 30, 2013
courtesy photo

  State Representative Jim Nielson says he won’t be running for a third term. 

In three legislative sessions, the Republican from Bountiful earned a reputation as a conservative in a House that’s pretty conservative already.  As he prepares for his final session, Nielson says it’s likely lawmakers will be looking at ways to address the same-sex marriage issue – perhaps by getting government entirely out of the marriage business.

Brian Grimmett

Governor Gary Herbert has selected Sean Reyes to be Utah’s next Attorney General. He says all three of the candidates referred to him were qualified for the job, but ultimately it was Sean Reyes’ experience in both the public and private sector that made him the one who would fit best.

“He is eminently qualified for this responsibility and this job and I think it comes at a time that is unique in our state’s history, that’s going to take a unique personality to come in and turn the office around,” Herbert says.

Brian Grimmett

During day two of the House Investigative Committee’s report on former Attorney General John Swallow, investigators described a web of organizations that Swallow used to hide and obscure money received from payday lending companies. Chief investigator James Mintz said he accomplished this with the help of campaign consultant Jason Powers, who created most of the shell organizations.

Brian Grimmett

In a day long meeting, special counsel Steve Reich revealed information that former Attorney General John Swallow intentionally created and deleted data in an effort to mislead the Utah House investigation.

Congressman Jim Matheson Unsure of His Future

Dec 18, 2013
Brian Grimmett

Democratic Representative Jim Matheson’s announcement that he will not run for reelection in 2014 came as a surprise to many and set off a stream of speculation that he has his aim set on a higher office. But, when Jim Matheson first ran for and won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives he never intended to be a lifer. He says the decision to not run for reelection was based on a personal desire to move on with his life, and not because he was afraid of losing to Republican candidate Mia Love.

Brian Grimmett

Three people remain as options to replace John Swallow as Utah’s next Attorney General. Governor Gary Herbert now has the job to select one of them to fill the vacant spot.

Brian Grimmett

Governor Gary Herbert says he plans on appointing a new Attorney General to replace John Swallow by Christmas. He will select one of three candidates chosen by the GOP State Central Committee. In the first of a series of profiles on the candidates, we take a look at the relatively unknown, Robert Smith.

Rep. Jim Matheson Will Not Run For Reelection

Dec 17, 2013
U.S. House of Representatives

Utah’s only Democratic state representative, Jim Matheson, has announced that he will not seek reelection in 2014. 

Brian Grimmett

Members of the Utah Republican state central committee selected Sean Reyes, Robert Smith and Brian Tarbet as their nominees for Attorney General. Governor Gary Herbert will now choose one of these candidates to replace John Swallow. He says he hopes to do it as soon as possible, and hopefully before Christmas.

“I’m going to interview them, I’m going to talk with them. It’s about restoring trust in the AG’s office and confidence for the people of Utah. And I think I’ve got three great people to choose from.”

Brian Grimmett

Republican Candidates vying to replace former Attorney General John Swallow, faced off in a debate on Wednesday night. They answered questions that came from across the state using the Utah Education Network’s video conferencing infrastructure.

Karina Puikkonen

With the 2016 election more than two and a half years away, Republican Mike Lee accepted his first official re-election endorsement at Salt Lake City’s Grand America Hotel Wednesday. Members of the California-based group Tea Party Express put their support behind Utah’s junior senator.

Governor's Budget Proposal Focuses On Education

Dec 4, 2013
Brian Grimmett

Utah Governor Gary Herbert released his 2015 budget proposal today at Utah Valley University in Orem and its main focus is on increased education funding.

For the 2015 fiscal year the Governor’s office of Management and Budget projects the state will receive $338 million dollars in new money. Governor Herbert’s proposal calls for more than 75% of it to go towards education.

Brian Grimmett

At midnight on Monday John Swallow officially became the former Attorney General of Utah. And while there are several Republicans vying to become the appointed replacement, the Governor won’t make that decision for another few weeks. Until then, Major General Brian Tarbet will be the acting Attorney General and dealing with the transition won't be easy.

Layton Mayor Steve Curtis Dies

Nov 29, 2013
Steve Curtis / Facebook

  Residents of Layton are expressing shock after the unexpected death of Mayor Steve Curtis at the age of 58. 

City Council member Mike Bowhuis says Mayor Curtis died in his sleep after enjoying Thanksgiving with his family.  Curtis was just finishing his second term as mayor.  Prior to that, he served ten years on the Layton city council.  Bowhuis says city employees held him in high regard.

Brian Grimmett

Lt. Governor Spencer Cox announced today that he will not pursue civil action against Utah Attorney General John Swallow.

Cox says he won’t pursue the case because Swallow has already resigned. He says because the outcome of resignation and civil action is the same, a vacated office, moving forward would only be a waste of time and taxpayer money.

“Short of spending $200,000 in a six month trial to end up exactly where we are today, I don’t know what else we could do except to forward it on to the other investigators,” he says.

Utah Democrats Claim Swallow Election is Null and Void

Nov 26, 2013
Brian Grimmett

Leaders of the Utah Democratic Party are calling on Governor Gary Herbert to hold a special election to replace Attorney General John Swallow, instead of appointing the replacement himself. But, there might not be a legal path for what the Democrats want.

Brian Grimmett / KUER

In preparation for the release of the Governor’s budget, members of his staff gathered at the Capitol today to talk about how much money the state could and should spend in the next year.

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