Politics

Political news

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.

Investigations Continue Despite Swallow's Resignation

Nov 25, 2013
Brian Grimmett

Several investigations into Utah Attorney General John Swallow will continue to move forward despite his resignation from office.

Democratic Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill and Republican Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings have been investigating Swallow since early this year. They’re trying to determine if he’s violated any state laws, specifically those against selling influence. Because of that, Gill says Swallow’s resignation will have little, if any, effect on what they’re doing.

Brian Grimmett

The special counsel to the state election’s office has found that there is sufficient evidence to show that Utah Attorney General John Swallow violated Utah election law.

Utah Attorney General John Swallow Resigns

Nov 21, 2013
Brian Grimmett

Utah Attorney General John Swallow has submitted his letter of resignation to Governor Gary Herbert and will leave his office on December 3rd.

John Swallow said he decided to resign from office because the pressure on his family from the several ongoing investigations into his conduct had just become too strong. He said he’s spent nearly $300 thousand of his own money in his defense and that he couldn’t see an end in sight.

Bob Nelson

Availability of jobs, public school education and air and water quality are the top three areas most in need of improvement for a better quality of life. That’s according to the latest Utah Foundation survey of Utahns. The Foundation’s Senior Research Analyst Shawn Teigen led a panel discussion today in downtown Salt Lake City on the results of the latest study of Utahn’s Quality of Life. He says air quality moved to number one when residents were asked this open-ended question.

Karina Puikkonen

Utah congressional candidate Mia Love held a town hall meeting in Sandy today. Former Congressman and retired Lieutenant Colonel Allan West was also present to endorse the Saratoga Springs Mayor’s campaign.

During the meeting, Colonel West says he traveled to Utah because he believes republican candidates like Mayor Love would restore principles of equal opportunity rather than equal results to the modern American Dream.

U College of Law Tackles Government Dysfunction

Nov 7, 2013
University of Utah

The latest federal government shutdown is estimated to have cost the US economy 24 billion dollars. It’s left many people wondering what can be done for the government to function more effectively. The University of Utah’s S.J. Quinney College of Law is working on coming up with some answers. The law school is hosting a symposium Friday examining the current challenges facing US governance and some practical solutions to those problems.

Brian Grimmett

Embattled Utah Attorney General John Swallow is denying that he ever intentionally deleted emails from his computers. He’s also accusing the special counsel for the House committee investigating him of being inflammatory and unprofessional.

Brian Grimmett

The special counsel in the investigation of Utah Attorney General told the committee today that he is deeply concerned about the extent of missing electronic documents from John Swallow.

File: Mike Reberg Facebook page

 Salt Lake County Animal Services has a new director. Mike Reberg had been working in Congressman Jim Matheson’s Wasatch Front office. He’s also a former associate public works director for the county. Russ Wall, Salt Lake County’s Public Works Director, says Reberg intends to bring the two main aspects of animal services, enforcement and adoption, closer together.

“He’s an animal lover but more importantly, he’s a people lover and so we’re really excited to have him here,” says Wall.

Utah Agriculture Commissioner Retiring

Nov 4, 2013
Utah Department of Agriculture and Food

  The Commissioner of the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food is retiring after eight years in that job.  Leonard Blackham’s tenure included a four-year battle to keep Japanese beetles from getting established in Utah.

“I mean, if that got away from us," Blackham told KUER, "we would have had infestations of that occasionally like we do with Mormon crickets and that kinda bugs.  People would have looked out their window one morning and their garden would have been gone.”

Brian Grimmett

The chair of the House committee investigating Utah Attorney General John Swallow says he’s concerned about possible missing documents from the Attorney General’s office.

State GOP Makes Changes to Neighborhood Caucuses

Oct 28, 2013
Brian Grimmett

Leaders of the Count My Vote initiative say they will continue to move forward with their efforts to replace the party caucuses with direct primaries even after state GOP delegates voted over the weekend to reform the current system.

Former Lieutenant Governor Greg Bell will now lead Utah’s medical industry lobby as President and CEO of the Utah Hospital Association. The UHA board of Trustees announced the decision today, a month after Bell resigned from Governor Gary Herbert’s office.

Thirty-eight-year-old State Representative Spencer Cox was officially sworn in Wednesday as Utah’s new Lieutenant Governor. The Sanpete County native will replace outgoing Lieutenant Governor Greg Bell. 

Cox has only served in the legislature for one session, but he says in that time he’s learned the importance of public service.

Legislative Audit Criticizes USTAR Managment

Oct 16, 2013
University of Utah

  A new legislative audit criticizes the Utah Science, Technology and Research Initiative for poor financial management.  But a University of Utah official says the school has followed the rules with its U-STAR partnership.

Spencer Cox Moves Closer to becoming Lt. Governor

Oct 16, 2013
Brian Grimmett/KUER

Members of a Utah Senate committee gave Spencer J Cox a favorable recommendation as Lieutenant Governor Tuesday. His nomination will considered by the full Senate on Wednesday.

Governor Gary Herbert appeared at Tuesday’s hearing to support his nominee for Lieutenant Governor.

“I think he’s the total package,” says Governor Herbert.

Gov. Herbert said Cox’s background in law, the private sector, and state and local government make him an ideal replacement for Lt. Gov. Greg Bell, who resigned last month.

Brian Grimmett/KUER

Utah Attorney General John Swallow released a letter over the weekend from the State Bar Association, indicating that one complaint against him will not be pursued.  

Utah's National Parks Reopening

Oct 11, 2013
Dan Bammes

Utah’s national parks are re-opening today and they should be back in full operation by tomorrow morning, and Governor Gary Herbert hopes the state can save at least part of its peak tourist season. 

Deal Could Reopen Utah's National Parks

Oct 10, 2013
Wikimedia Commons

  Utah’s governor has reached an agreement with the Obama administration that could get Utah’s national parks open again, though many details are still being worked out.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell told Governor Gary Herbert the state of Utah will be allowed to use its own money to pay for operations of Utah’s five national parks and another eight national monuments.  They’ve been closed since the federal government was shut down October 1st.

Ally Isom, the governor’s spokesperson, says there’s still a lot of work to do before the gates are unlocked.

Counties, Governor Demand Parks Re-Open

Oct 8, 2013
Dan Bammes

  Several counties in southern Utah have declared a state of emergency over the closure of the state’s national parks and monuments.  And Utah’s governor is among those demanding action now to get them open again.

Iron County Commissioner Dave Miller says the federal government shutdown is causing economic hardship in southern Utah.  If nothing happens in Washington DC to re-open the parks, he says local sheriffs may take action on their own.  Miller doesn’t think federal park rangers will stand in the way.

Governor Announces Lt. Governor Nominee

Oct 8, 2013
Brian Grimmett

Utah Governor Gary Herbert introduced Representative Spencer Cox as his nominee to replace Lt. Governor Greg Bell today at the State Capitol. Cox is a lawyer and currently a member of the Utah House of Representatives. He has also served as the mayor of Fairview and is the CEO of a rural telecommunications company. Cox says he is humbled by the opportunity to serve and hopes to live up as best as he can to the legacy of Greg Bell.

KUED

Dealing with the federal government shutdown dominated  Utah Governor Gary Herbert’s monthly news conference on Thursday.  

Parks Shutdown Could Hurt Local Governments

Oct 1, 2013
Dan Bammes

  The government shutdown is already having a big impact on businesses that serve visitors in rural Utah – and on local governments.

Garfield County depends on tourism for 70-percent of its annual revenue – mostly from visitors to Bryce Canyon National Park.  With the park closed, Commissioner Leland Pollock is hoping visitors won’t cancel their trips – and he says the shutdown underscores the conflict with federal authorities over roads across public land.

Dan Bammes

  A group that wants to change Utah’s caucus-convention system for nominating candidates began its campaign this morning.  Count My Vote wants to allow candidates to qualify for primary election ballots using petitions signed by voters.

The group’s leaders include former Utah Governor Mike Leavitt and Norma Matheson, the wife of Utah’s last Democratic governor and the mother of Congressman Jim Matheson.  She says the current system leaves too many voters out of the nomination process.

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