Political news

File: Utahns Against Hunger

Cuts in the food assistance program known as SNAP are looming as fall approaches. Utahns Against Hunger is trying to soften the blow to the 253,000 residents who will be affected. Gina Cornia is the executive director of the Salt Lake City-based non-profit organization. She says this is the first time ever that there has been an across-the-board cut in SNAP.

Brian Grimmett

Utah House Speaker Rebecca Lockhart has removed Representative Lowry Snow from the special investigative committee of Utah Attorney General John Swallow.

While Democrats piece together their own party-specific plans, a Republican group is preparing to file a statewide ballot initiative.  

Utah Democratic Party delegates voted last month to keep the caucus and convention system with the understanding that a committee of Democrats would spend the next year studying possible changes to the status quo.

Utah Democrat Jim Matheson introduced legislation in Congress today to protect wilderness and watershed areas along the Wasatch Front.                

UTA Not Seeking Tax Increase After All

Jul 25, 2013
Brian Grimmett/KUER

Several news outlets reported last week that a Utah Transit Authority official asked state lawmakers for a sixty-six percent increase  in its share of sales tax revenue. A UTA spokesman now says those reports are inaccurate.

Brian Grimmett

The Utah Lt. Governor’s office has picked the law firm Snell & Wilmer to be the special counsel in the investigation into whether or not Attorney General John Swallow violated state election laws.

Courtesy of Congressman Jim Matheson

Utah Democratic Congressman Jim Matheson has joined a growing list of Republicans and Democrats in the No Labels Congressional Problem Solvers Coalition. Former Utah Governor John Huntsman Junior is co-chair of No Labels. Matheson says joining this group is a way to approach the challenge of the polarized dynamics of politics right now in Washington.

Brian Grimmett

House Speaker Becky Lockhart has announced the names of the representatives who will serve on the special committee investigating Utah Attorney General John Swallow.


Utah lawmakers voted Wednesday to repeal legislation that would have restricted the authority of federal law enforcement officers on public lands.                      

The state Government Operations interim committee will be taking a look at a bi-partisan proposal Wednesday to put a limit on campaign contributions.

Brian Grimmett

House Speaker Becky Lockhart says she will announce on Wednesday the names of the people she’s appointed to the special investigative committee of Utah Attorney General John Swallow. In the meantime, Utah House Democrats are left waiting anxiously to see what kind of role, if any, they’ll play in the investigation.

Congressman Bishop Says Hill Furloughs Avoidable

Jul 11, 2013
U.S. Air Force

  Many civilian employees at Hill Air Force Base are facing another day without pay this week, while Congressman Rob Bishop argues the Defense Department could have avoided the furloughs under the federal sequester.

The Ogden Air Logistics Complex – by far the largest unit at Hill – gets most of its support from the Defense Working Capital Fund, which was not subject to the sequester.  But he says the Obama administration made a political decision to spread the cuts out over a large group of civilian workers.

Brian Grimmett

The legislative audit subcommittee gave approval to begin an audit of the Attorney Generals office, yesterday. But the process won’t begin until September.

Activists Rally Against NSA's New Utah Data Center

Jul 4, 2013
Brian Grimmett

Activists from all parts of the political spectrum rallied against the new National Security Agency data center located near the Point of the Mountain today in an effort to “Restore the Fourth,” a reference to the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

“What does the NSA system give us, does it give us safety?" asked Dan Garfield of the group Restore the Fourth.

"No!" came the response from the gathered crowd.

File: 388th Fighter Wing of Hill Air Force Base

A major part of the July 4th celebration in Utah is going away this year because of federal budget cuts. The U.S. Department of Defense has grounded all patriotic flyovers for the rest of the new fiscal year. A year ago Wednesday KUER reported on a record number of flyovers in a single day by the 419th Reserve Fighter Wing in Utah. The wing and support crew did 19. This year they’ll do zero. Andrea Mason of the 388th Fighter Wing at Hill Air Force Base says the F-16 pilots normally use the flyover as training sorties so there’s no extra cost to the taxpayer.

Brian Grimmett

The Utah House of Representatives voted to form a committee to investigate Utah Attorney General John Swallow today.

How to Impeach a Utah State Officer in 5 Easy Steps

Jul 2, 2013
Brian Grimmett

The Utah House of Representatives will begin an investigation into Attorney General John Swallow on July 3rd. While it IS NOT the beginning of impeachment proceedings, the results of the investigation could push them in that direction. But what does it mean to impeach someone, and how do you do it? Well, here’s a step-by-step guide. “How To Impeach a State Officer”

Step 1: Convene the House

File: DHS

The Executive Director of the Utah Department of Human Services announced his retirement Monday. Palmer DePaulis ends a 30-year public service career that began as public works director for Salt Lake City. Liz Sollis of the DHS says DePaulis created the department’s current “System of Care”. She says it’s a holistic preventative approach to getting families connected to the services they need.

Utah Democrats voted this weekend to keep their current method for electing candidates to state and county offices — a system they share with Utah's Republicans.  

The big question at Saturday’s convention in Ogden was whether to keep the caucus and convention system or move to a direct primary.

Dan Bammes

  Utah Democrats hold their state party convention Saturday in Ogden.  Like the Republicans, they’ll be looking at whether to change Utah’s caucus-convention system for nominating candidates.

Under the current system, voters choose delegates in neighborhood caucuses.  Candidates can avoid a primary election if 60% of those delegates support them in state or county conventions.

Utah House to Investigate John Swallow

Jun 19, 2013
Brian Grimmett

The Utah House Republican Caucus voted today to convene the entire body and create an investigative committee to look into the allegations surrounding Utah Attorney General John Swallow. They decided not to start impeachment proceedings at this time.

Less than 24 hours after the Salt Lake City Council voted five to two,  passing  a two hundred million dollar budget that includes an eight million dollar tax increase, Mayor Ralph Becker vetoed the entire proposal.  When the Mayor presented his own budget proposal to the council earlier this year, he told members that the city had saved enough money over his six years in office, city services could remain at current levels without raising more revenue.   Before he signed the budget veto, Becker said that the council should allow for a year-long discussion to examine a property tax increas

The Salt Lake Tribune (pool photo)

A new poll released by the Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy at Brigham Young University shows that the majority of Utah voters think that Attorney General John Swallow should resign.

The Salt Lake City Council gave preliminary approval to a $7 million tax increase last night despite opposition from Mayor Ralph Becker.  Members of the council say overdue maintenance can no longer be ignored. 

Salt Lake City Council Chair Kyle Lamalfa says while Mayor Becker’s budget proposal was lean and balanced it left out a few key items.

“What was not included in the budget was, and what has been missing for a very long time is ordinary maintenance of our roads, of our sidewalks, of our parks," Lamalfa says.


Cottonwood Heights Mayor Kelvyn Cullimore Jr. is facing three challengers in this year’s election. Cullimore has been the municipality’s only mayor since residents voted to become a city in 2004. 

Fifty-three-year-old Peyton Robinson is a partner at the Lewis Hansen Law Firm in Salt Lake City. He says he’s eying the Mayor’s seat because he wants to increase green space and create a true downtown area in Cottonwood Heights.

Brian Grimmett

Utah Senate Democrats are calling on House and Senate leadership to authorize a committee to investigate the allegations brought against Attorney General John Swallow.

Senate Minority leader Gene Davis says the call for an investigation isn’t about impeachment. That’s a process left for the Utah House to begin. But he does say it’s in the interest of open government and the integrity of our elected officials to find the truth.

Brian Grimmett / KUER

In response to questions from state lawmakers about the allegations surrounding Utah Attorney General John Swallow, the Utah House Majority leadership is sending out weekly informational emails to legislators while the body considers options for dealing with the embattled public official.

Murray City Councilman Jim Brass Announces Mayoral Bid

Jun 4, 2013
Brian Grimmett

Murray City Councilman Jim Brass announced today that he’s running to replace Murray City Mayor Dan Snarr, who recently disclosed he will not be running for re-election. 

Jim Brass has been on the Murray City Council for ten years. Before that, he served on the planning and zoning commission. Democratic state Representative Carol Spackman-Moss was at Brass’ announcement. She says she’s giving her support to Brass because of his experience.


Cottonwood Heights Mayor Kelvin Cullimore Jr. has filed for re-election. Cullimore was elected as the first mayor of Cottonwood Heights back in 2004 following a successful incorporation referendum. Cullimore says his administration has done an excellent job of providing services at a reasonable cost.

In his re-election announcement, Mayor Cullimore stressed the important things Cottonwood City has not done under his leadership.

Governor Gary Herbert appointed six members to the newly formed Prison Relocation and Development Authority today. The group is tasked with examining the potential of moving the state prison that is currently located in Draper.