Politics

Politics
6:53 pm
Sat May 18, 2013

Thomas Wright Ends His Tenure as Utah GOP Chairman

Outgoing Utah GOP Chairman Thomas Wright presides at the party's organizing convention.
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.

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Politics
6:49 pm
Sat May 18, 2013

Utah Republicans Decide to Keep Party Nomination Process

Republican delegates line up to speak about the party nomination process.
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. 

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Politics
6:43 pm
Sat May 18, 2013

Utah GOP Elects James Evans Party Chairman

James Evans was elected Chairman of the Utah Republican Party on Saturday. He is the state GOP's first African-American leader.
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.

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Politics
5:47 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Survey Shows GOP Favor Changes to Delegate System

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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Politics
3:29 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Salt Lake County District Attorney Investigating Attorney General's Office

File: Utah Attorney General John Swallow

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.

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Politics
4:30 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

Utah Legislative Committee Discusses Appointing Attorney General

File: Utah State Capitol
Brian Grimmett

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

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Politics
4:48 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

Utah House Not Yet Discussing Impeachment of Attorney General

File: Utah State Capitol
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.

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Politics
2:41 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

Police Integrity Crucial to WVC Mayor Candidate

Former West Valley City council member Margaret Peterson
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.

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Politics
4:24 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

Lt. Governor to Seek Special Counsel in Swallow Investigation

John Swallow at Inauguration
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.

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Politics
5:32 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

Salt Lake Boy Scout Officials Will Vote Independently on Gay Ban

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. 

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Politics
1:48 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Utah Governor Wants to Hurry AG Investigation

Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert

  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.

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Politics
5:44 pm
Mon April 15, 2013

Valentine Won't Challenge HB 76 Veto

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.

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Politics
5:34 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

Hatch and Lee Vote Against Proceeding With Gun Control Bill

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. 

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Politics
3:48 pm
Mon April 8, 2013

Chaffetz Calls for Piecemeal Immigration Reform

Sign at U.S. Border
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.”

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Politics
3:23 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

LDS Democrats Announce National Organization

Robert Taber, Chair of LDS Democrats of America joins Crystal Young-Otterstrom and others for a virtual press conference.

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.

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Politics
2:03 pm
Mon April 1, 2013

Thomas Wright Not Seeking Re-election as Utah GOP Chairman

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

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Politics
5:06 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Lee Joins Senators Paul and Cruz Threatening Block of Gun Control Legislation

Sen. Mike Lee
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.  

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Politics
5:09 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

30-Year-Old Deal Could Save Salt Lake County Millions of Dollars

FILE: Salt Palace Convention Center

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.

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Politics
7:32 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

Utah Lawmakers Consider Possible Veto Override

Credit Brian Grimmett

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.

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Politics
2:44 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

Governor Herbert Vetoes Constitutional Carry Bill

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.

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Politics
4:25 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Pollster Dan Jones Retires from the University of Utah

Dan Jones was honored at the Hinckley Institute of Politics for more than 50 years of work as a political pollster and political science teacher.
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.

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Politics
11:03 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Three Bills Aimed at Improving Air Quality Pass Legislature

Protesters gather at the Capitol earlier this year to express concern over the state's poor air quality.
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. 

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Politics
4:49 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Quick Action on Election Law Bill

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. 

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Politics
4:05 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

2013 Utah Legislative Session Live Chat

Brian Grimmett

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.

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Politics
3:12 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

Constitutional Carry Bill Passes Legislature, Sent to Governor's Desk

Sen. Allen Christensen, R-Ogden speaks in favor of HB76
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.”

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Politics
9:40 pm
Mon March 11, 2013

Two Air Quality Bills Moving Through Legislature

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.  

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Politics
5:27 pm
Mon March 11, 2013

Antidiscrimination Bill Dies Without a Senate Debate

Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake and Sen. Stephen Urquhart, R-St. George concede the defeat of SB262
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.

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Politics
5:26 pm
Fri March 8, 2013

Second Amendment Rights Bill Passes Utah House

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.

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Politics
3:25 pm
Fri March 8, 2013

Medicaid Battle Looming

Representatives Jacob Anderegg, Ken Ivory and Dana Layton address a news conference at Utah's state capitol.
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. 

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Politics
9:57 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Lawmakers Advance Anti-Discrimination Bill

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.

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