Politics

Political news

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill has confirmed that he and Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings are looking into whether or not the Utah Attorney General’s office has violated any state laws.

Brian Grimmett / KUER

The State Government Operations Interim committee discussed today the possibility of making Utah’s Attorney General an appointed position rather than an elected one.

Brian Grimmett

The Utah legislature is meeting this week for their monthly interim meetings but they don’t plan on discussing the fate or potential impeachment of Attorney General John Swallow.  

Speaker of the House Rebecca Lockhart says she’s concerned about the recent allegations brought against Attorney General John Swallow and that they’re looking into how the legislature might address them.

Police Integrity Crucial to WVC Mayor Candidate

May 14, 2013
Dan Bammes

  Restoring the credibility of West Valley City’s police department is the top priority for Margaret Peterson, who announced her candidacy for mayor of Utah's second-largest city this week.

With its drug investigation unit disbanded, more than a hundred cases dismissed by prosecutors and several officers on administrative leave, Margaret Peterson believes it’ll take strong leadership from the mayor to bring the police department back.  But she says the city should stop short of a wholesale housecleaning.

The Salt Lake Tribune (pool photo)

Utah Lt. Governor Greg Bell will seek special counsel to investigate three of the 12 allegations brought against Attorney General John Swallow that he violated election law.

Members of the Boy Scouts Great Salt Lake Council met today to discuss how to vote on a proposal to partially lift a ban on gays in the organization.  A final vote on the plan will take place at a national meeting later this month. 

Utah Governor Wants to Hurry AG Investigation

Apr 17, 2013

  Utah Governor Gary Herbert wants to see federal authorities hurry up with their investigation of Utah’s attorney general.   The governor said this morning that the delay is impacting the Attorney General’s office and the investigation has taken too long.

Utah lawmakers are still in the process of deciding whether or not to override Governor Gary Herbert’s veto of House Bill 76. Some who voted for the bill have decided not to challenge the Governor.

Office of Senator Orrin Hatch

Utah’s Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee voted no today on a motion to proceed with legislation in the U-S Senate that could alter regulations for buying and owning guns. 

Chaffetz Calls for Piecemeal Immigration Reform

Apr 8, 2013
File

Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz called for a piecemeal approach to immigration reform while speaking at the Hinckley Institute of Politics today. He says if you want to solve the overall problem you have to start by fixing legal immigration.

“You never ever solve this problem unless you fix legal immigration," he says. "I don’t care how big, far, wide your fence is, if you don’t fix legal immigration you never solve the problem.”

Democrats in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have launched a national organization to promote their political values. Leaders of LDS Democrats of America announced the development during a virtual press conference this morning . 

On the heels of the 2012 Presidential election and the so-called “Mormon moment,” LDS Democrats are looking to extend their reach. Robert Taber directed the national Mormons for Obama Campaign in 2012. He’s now chair of the newly-minted LDS Democrats of America, an outgrowth of the LDS Democrats caucus in Utah.

Utah Republican Party Chairman Thomas Wright announced today that he will not seek re-election when the state GOP meets in May. 

Office of Senator Mike Lee.

Utah Republican Senator Mike Lee has joined two other lawmakers who say they will block any legislation dealing with gun control.  

A deal made more than 30 years ago between the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Salt Lake County could end up saving taxpayers millions of dollars.

Brian Grimmett / KUER

With Governor Gary Herbert’s veto of House Bill 76 Friday, lawmakers in the Utah House and Senate will have to decide whether or not to call a special session and attempt to override that veto.  HB 76 would allow anyone over the age of 21 who can legally possess a firearm to carry it concealed from view without a permit as long as a round of ammunition is not loaded in the chamber of the gun.

Utah Governor Gary Herbert has vetoed HB 76, a bill that would allow any Utahn over the age of 21 to carry a concealed firearm without a permit unless the weapon has a round in the chamber. Now it’s up to Utah lawmakers to decide if they want to overrule the governor’s decision.  

Governor Herbert says he vetoed HB 76 because Utah’s current gun laws have served the state well and have become a model for the nation.

“So that’s a reason why if it ain’t broke don’t fix it," Herbert says.

Pollster Dan Jones Retires from the University of Utah

Mar 20, 2013
Andrea Smardon

Prominent Utah pollster Dan Jones is retiring from his position as Political Science Professor at the University of Utah.  Jones is stepping down after more than 50 years of teaching, but says he will continue his work in political polling. 

The end of Jones teaching career was marked by a crowd of politicians, academics, and students at the U’s Hinckley Institute of Politics. 

“Dan Jones has had the largest impact of probably anyone in Utah on civic participation,” said the institute’s Director Kirk Jowers.

Andrea Smardon

When the 2013 Utah Legislative session ended at midnight on Thursday, lawmakers had passed three bills aimed at improving air quality, but let four other bills expire without consideration. 

Quick Action on Election Law Bill

Mar 14, 2013
Dan Bammes

  Current Utah law would have required Utah’s Attorney General to investigate a complaint against himself of violating Utah’s election rules.  But the Utah State Senate passed a bill Thursday afternoon to give that job to an independent lawyer. 

2013 Utah Legislative Session Live Chat

Mar 14, 2013
Brian Grimmett / KUER

Join KUER's team of reporters for a live chat from the Utah State Capitol as we track down the most important stories on the last day of the Utah State Legislature. Join in on the conversation and tell us what you think about this year's legislative session. Let us know what you think, be it  the good, the bad, or the ugly.

Brian Grimmett

HB 76, the bill eliminating the need to get a concealed carry permit, is moving to the governor’s desk after the Senate gave it final approval today.

Sen. Allen Christensen, R-Ogden, is the Senate sponsor of the bill. He says he simply wants to make it easier for Utahns to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights that they already have.

“It doesn’t change anything about who can carry a weapon or possess a firearm," he says. "It simply gives honest people the right to do what they can’t do honestly right now, and that is cover up the weapon.”

With the last week of the Legislative session underway, lawmakers approved two bills in the Senate and House yesterday geared toward improving the region’s air quality.  

Antidiscrimination Bill Dies Without a Senate Debate

Mar 11, 2013
Brian Grimmett

Republican Senator Stephen Urquhart’s LGBT antidiscrimination bill did not receive a vote on the Senate floor Monday, effectively killing it for this year’s legislative session.

By passing out of committee SB262, which would prohibit employers and landlords statewide from discriminating against homosexuals, made it further than any other similar legislation ever has. Democratic Senator Jim Dabakis co-sponsored the bill and while he says that he’s disappointed that it didn’t receive a vote in the Senate, he acknowledges that they’re moving in the right direction.

A bill that would make Utah gun laws superior to federal law passed the state House on Friday. Republican Representative Brian Greene of Pleasant Grove is the bill’s sponsor. He says his legislation is not just about preserving gun rights but also the rights of states to stand against the federal government.

“I submit to you that this is proper, that it is prudent, and that we should adopt this legislation so that we are in the best position possible if and when the time comes that we need to defend the jurisdiction of this state and the liberties of our citizens,” said Greene.

Medicaid Battle Looming

Mar 8, 2013
Dan Bammes

  A battle could be shaping up in the Utah House of Representatives over a bill that would stop the state from expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. 

Utah lawmakers have given preliminary approval to state-wide housing and workplace protections for gays and lesbians. Last night, members of the Senate Economic Development and Workforce Services committee advanced the bill. It’s the first time a statewide non-discrimination measure has survived a committee hearing in Utah.

Republican Senator Steve Urquhart sponsored Senate Bill 262. He told the committee the basic principle behind the bill is straightforward.

A bill that would allow citizens to register to vote in Utah on election-day was approved by a House Committee today.  HB 91 would allow voters to register at the polls on and require county clerks to count those votes.  Democrat Rebecca Chavez Houck of Salt Lake County is the sponsor of the bill.  She hopes the legislation would increase voter turnout.

Matheson Says Both Parties to Blame for Sequestration

Mar 1, 2013

Democratic Utah Congressman Jim Matheson says sequestration or sweeping federal budget cuts that went into effect Friday are a collective failure of Congressional leadership in both parties. 

Representative Matheson says everyone in Congress agrees that 85 billion dollars of spending needs to be cut from the federal budget, but he says sequestration is not the way to do it. 

A bill that would allow anyone 21 years of age or older to carry a concealed weapon was amended and passed on the house floor today.

The Utah House passed a bill today that would provide tax credits to those who purchase clean fuel vehicles over the next five years. 

Republican Representative Jack Draxler’s bill, HB 96, would change the current tax incentive program by eliminating credits for gasoline and propane vehicles.  The Logan lawmaker hopes his legislation would motivate people to buy cars and trucks that produce minimal or zero emissions.

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