The possibility of a new convention hotel in Salt Lake City is one step closer to becoming a reality. The Utah House of Representatives passed a bill on Tuesday that would provide tax incentives for a private developer to build the hotel.
Utah’s winter inversion season ended on March 1st. The Division of Air Quality says there were 31 days when the urban areas of Utah exceeded the federal Ambient Air Quality standards, compared to 29 the year before. But Bryce Bird, the director of the Division of Air Quality, says what’s really changed is public interest in the issue.
Supporters of Tier 3 point to this EPA map that shows northern Utah will benefit more than any other spot in the nation from the new clean car, clean gas regulations. Tier 3 is phased in over the next 16 years under the schedule announced Monday
Utah will see bigger clean air benefits than anywhere else under new federal regulations that even have the support of some Republicans. Cars and trucks are responsible for more than half of Utah’s summer and winter smog. That’s why so many people are excited about the EPA’s new Tier 3 standard for cleaner cars and cleaner fuel. Bryce Bird is director of the state Division of Air Quality. He explains how it works.
Parents who homeschool their children in Utah will not be required to follow any state curriculum guidelines under a bill that passed the state Senate Monday. The debate centered around whose responsibility it is to see that children are educated – parents or the government.
The bill’s sponsor Republican Aaron Osmond explained to the Senate that parents who teach their children at home do not want to be constrained by state curriculum guidelines, and that some of the parents are concerned about the influence of national Common Core Standards in Utah.
Members of the House Government Operations Committee voted this morning to advance a newly-minted compromise between legislators and organizers of the Count My Vote ballot initiative. But several members of the committee say they won’t support the bill when it reaches the House Floor.
Leaders of the Count My Vote ballot initiative appeared with legislative leaders at a rare Sunday news conference to announce a compromise on the effort to replace Utah’s caucus-convention system for nominating political candidates.
The deal preserves the caucus system, but it also allows candidates to get on a primary election ballot by gathering voter signatures on a petition – from one thousand for a legislative seat to 28-thousand for a statewide office such as governor.
When Governor Gary Herbert laid out his Healthy Utah plan Thursday he said he was confident that it would get support from the state legislature as well as the federal government. But the governor’s proposal to accept federal money to help low-income Utahns buy health insurance may meet some resistance from Republicans in the state House…. especially the House speaker.
The backers of the Count My Vote ballot initiative are talking with legislative leaders and the governor’s office about a compromise that could potentially end the push to get the issue on the ballot this fall.
If the initiative still makes it to the ballot and voters approve, it would replace Utah’s caucus-convention system for nominating political party candidates with a direct primary election.
Neither side is talking much about the details. Republican State Senator John Valentine says he’s been part of the talks, but there’s no deal yet.
The Utah House unanimously passed a bill Friday that would put harsher penalties on stores that sell electronic cigarettes to minors, but not before passing a substitute bill that drastically changed the sponsor’s original intent.
Governor Gary Herbert announced his long-awaited plan Thursday concerning Medicaid and health coverage for the poorest Utahns. He’s calling it Healthy Utah.
The Supreme Court decided in 2012 to let states choose whether to expand Medicaid as it was intended under the Affordable Care Act. Now, more than a year and a half later, after reviewing proposals from the state house, the senate, and panels of stakeholders, Governor Herbert finally revealed his plan.
About a dozen state lawmakers representing both political parties met Wednesday night with countless members of the LGBTQ community to hear their about their struggles. The meeting comes after a decision by House and Senate leadership to ignore statewide anti-discrimination legislation filed this session.
New mother and school teacher Candice Green-Berrett joined her wife Megan and six-month-old daughter Quinn to highlight the joys of her recent marriage.
Environmental investigators working with Erin Brockovich have uncovered some new evidence that hazardous chemicals are accumulating in the homes of those who live close to Stericycle’s medical waste incinerator in North Salt Lake. An investigator from the Brockovich team and community advocates met with Governor Gary Herbert Wednesday to share their findings.
A Republican state senator has put forth a proposal for a partial expansion of Medicaid in Utah. Senate majority leaders say they are meeting Wednesday night to decide whether they will get behind this proposal, a different House plan that rejects Medicaid dollars, or another solution all together.
Republican Senator Brian Shiozawa is an Emergency Room doctor. So he’s all too familiar with the coverage gap - those 54,000 Utahns who live in poverty and can’t get health insurance.
Plaintiffs in the case against Utah’s Amendment 3 filed a brief with the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday. The brief argues that Amendment 3 demeans and stigmatizes the relationships of same-sex couples and doesn’t withstand constitutional scrutiny.
A bill that would allow schools to set aside regular classroom days for teacher professional development advanced in the Utah House of Representatives on Wednesday--but not without some contention.
Professional development days give teachers time out of the classroom to collaborate and train on new technologies, learning materials and curriculum. Prior to the recession, Utah spent roughly $70 million dollars on professional development but that money is no longer available.
Low water levels in Lake Powell have revealed a much bigger problem with quagga mussels than was previously believed.
The invasive mussels have been spreading through waterways across North America. They can damage dams and power plants as well as fisheries. Mark Hadley with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources says the water level in Lake Powell has dropped by about eight feet over the past year, and that’s revealed some huge numbers of the tiny shellfish clinging to exposed rocks.
The Utah House has passed a bill that would allow voters to keep their personal information private. That information is currently available from voter registration records that have been posted online.
Eric Hutchings, R-Kearns, supports a bill that would allow voters to choose whether they want their personal details from state election records to be public. Last year, a web site bought personal information for 1.5 million Utah voters and posted it on the web. Hutchings says that kind of data is fodder for thieves like the ones who stole his identity.
A Republican proposal to provide health coverage for those under the poverty line has advanced to the House floor for consideration, but lawmakers in charge of the budget say there is no money for it at this point, and time is running out to accept any new requests.
The Salt Lake County Council, in a preliminary vote on Tuesday approved a resolution to launch a motorist and bicyclist safety study of Emigration Canyon Road. Parties involved say the tension between cyclists and drivers has come to a head.
Emigration canyon’s proximity to downtown Salt Lake City and the grand views make it one of the most heavily used canyons in Utah by bicyclists.
For the same reasons, the canyon is also inviting to motorists… who live and recreate there as well.
Organizers of The Count My Vote Initiative can now add Mitt Romney to their group of supporters. If passed, the proposal would move Utah to a direct primary election system. But a bill moving through the legislature could keep the current caucus system intact.
Mitt Romney has endorsed the Count My Vote initiative in Utah, but Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT3) said Monday he is opposed to changing the state’s nomination process from a caucus-convention system to direct primaries. In his annual address to the state legislature, Chaffetz told lawmakers he could never have beat incumbent Chris Cannon without the caucus system. He said he didn’t have big name ID, and he didn’t have big money, but he did spend time talking with delegates.
Utah House lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow state-specific solutions to air pollution.
Republican Rep. Becky Edwards, R- North Salt Lake, has a bill to loosen a law that prevents state environmental rules from being stricter than federal ones. She says Utah knows how to clean up its air better than the federal government does.
“HB121 allows for local control to address our local needs,” says Edwards. “This is another example of how states are more effective and do things better than the federal one-size-fits all solutions.”