Politics

Political news

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.

http://cottonwoodheights.utah.gov

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.

http://cottonwoodheights.utah.gov

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.

File Don Christensen Campaign

West Valley City Councilman Don Christensen announced his plan Tuesday to run for Mayor of that city. Christensen says after current mayor Mike Winder declared he would not run for re-election, many of his friends and associates encouraged him to run.

“And I thought man if everybody wants me to run I’d better do it,” says Christensen.  “So I decided, I thought long and hard about it, talked to my family about and we decided that it would be a good…good step and we’d go ahead and do it.”

WVC Mayor Mike Winder Won't Seek Re-Election

May 22, 2013
West Valley City

West Valley City Mayor Mike Winder announced today that he will not run for re-election later this year. Despite problems plaguing the city’s police force and a scandal where Winder admitted writing articles under a pen-name praising his city, he says he’s proud of his tenure as Mayor.

Winder says the $35K annual salary he receives as Mayor is not enough to provide for his family and he’ll be looking for a better paying job when his term ends next January. He says West Valley City’s economy blossomed on his watch.

U.S. Air Force

Correction: In an earlier version we made the mistake of saying civilian contractors will be furloughed. That is not the case. Civilian federal employees will be furloughed.

The majority of Utah’s congressional delegation met with the U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff today to discuss key issues surrounding the future of Hill Air Force Base.

Rep. Rob Bishop, R-UT, says he feels good about the long-term viability of Hill Air Force Base after meeting with U.S Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark Welsh.

Brian Grimmett

For the first time since the 1980’s, the Salt Lake City Planning Division is renewing its effort to create a master plan for the city’s future development. The public comment period for Plan Salt Lake began last fall and today the official kick-off of the campaign took place at Salt Lake City and County Building. Planning Division Director Wilf Sommerkorn says businesses and residents are an important part of this over-arching program.

Andrea Smardon

Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love officially declared Saturday that she will run again for the congressional seat occupied by Democrat Jim Matheson. Love's announcement came during a speech to several thousand delegates at the Utah Republican Party's annual organizing convention.

“You and I have some unfinished business with Jim Matheson. So combining my confidence in you delegates, with the inspiration you’ve given back to me, we are stronger than ever, and I am certain, we will win,” said Love to applause.

Andrea Smardon

Utah GOP Chairman Thomas Wright gave his final address to Republicans as their state leader on Saturday. Wright called on his fellow party members to be more inclusive.  

Thomas Wright announced earlier this year that he would not run for re-election as the state Republican Party leader.  At Saturday’s organizing convention, he called on Utah Republicans not to push away groups that may not traditionally embrace conservative values.

Andrea Smardon

Utah Republicans decided at their convention on Saturday to keep their system in place for choosing party nominees. A proposal to raise the percentage of votes needed to avoid a primary sparked heated debate about how best to give lesser-known candidates a fair shot. 

Andrea Smardon

Utah Republicans elected former state legislator James Evans to lead the state GOP.  Evans is the first African-American to hold the post. 

Outside of politics, Evans is the owner of Checkline, a payday loan franchise. Going into the convention, he had support from Utah Senate President Wayne Niederhauser and other state lawmakers in his bid for party chairman. During his speech at the GOP organizing convention, Evans showcased his experience and his ability to successfully market GOP values.

Some members of the Utah GOP Caucus favor changes to the delegate system that could increase the number of primary elections in the state, according to a recent survey. This weekend at the state Republican convention delegates will consider the proposed changes including an increase in the vote threshold candidates must obtain to avoid a primary.

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