After considerable debate Monday, the state House of Representatives approved legislation making it illegal for Utah drivers to smoke in their cars if they have a child as a passenger. The debate centered not around the effects of second hand smoke, but on the role of government in our lives.
The bill would make it a secondary offense to smoke while driving with someone under 16 years old. Democratic sponsor Patrice Arent argued that it’s lawmakers’ responsibility to protect children from harm.
Utah's Roman Catholic bishop, as well as some non-Catholic religious leaders, were stunned by today's announcement that Pope Benedict the 16th will resign at the end of February.
Bishop John Wester met Benedict the 16th on a couple of occasions during his eight-year papacy and said he was always impressed by Benedict's kindness. Wester says he was also impressed by the pope's commitment to speaking the truth and by the way he confronted the most difficult issues facing the church.
A group of Democratic legislators are introducing six new bills in an effort to help tackle Utah’s poor air quality.
The content of the proposed bills ranges from offering free passes for UTA Buses and TRAX trains to allowing the state to put in place stricter restrictions than the Environmental Protection Agency already requires. Representative Joel Briscoe is sponsoring the bill that would fund giving away free UTA passes. He says even with a tight budget this is something that should be attainable.
When Utahns file their state taxes this year, they can also donate to help the homeless. The Pamela Atkinson Homeless Trust Fund Tax Campaign was officially launched at Saint Vincent De Paul dining hall in Salt Lake City Friday.
“This project can have a huge impact,” said Pamela Atkinson, a long-time advocate for the homeless, “Every dollar that comes in, it means we can leverage that dollar and get private funds also, but it also means that we’re able to deliver these services for all of our homeless friends.”
Utah congressman Jason Chaffetz told members of the Utah Legislature to be prepared for an imminent cyber-attack during remarks made in both the House and Senate chambers Friday.
Republican Representative Jason Chaffetz says the future of economic development in Utah depends on the growth of high tech companies but with that comes the increased threat of cyber-attacks. He also stressed the importance of being prepared for such an attack telling legislators it’s not a matter if, but when.
A bill that would mandate insurance coverage of autism testing and treatment in Utah will advance to the floor of the state Senate. The Senate Business and Labor Committee approved the bill 5-2 Thursday, despite lawmakers concerns that the bill would not only cost taxpayer money, but would also drive up health insurance premiums.
Lawmakers, the state forester, local law enforcement and the Utah Farm Bureau Federation are trying to build support for two bills that deal with an intense wildfire season expected again this Summer. Both are sponsored by Republican Senator Margaret Dayton. Senate Bill 62 would expand the governor’s ability to authorize all water sources needed to fight fires while SB 120 would put time and place restrictions on target shooting. State Forester Dick Buehler says just a small fraction of the 1528 wildfires last year were started by target shooters.
Utahns crowd into Governor Herbert’s Capitol office demanding clean air, the LDS church weighs in on boy Scouts and gays, and local political and environmental leaders give their take on President Obama’s new Secretary of the Interior appointment.
Utah citizens and activists gathered on the steps of the Capitol Wednesday to demand action to clean up the state’s polluted air. The rally was part of a grassroots effort, including a Facebook campaign and petition.
University of Utah student Carl Ingwell started the Facebook campaign, urging people to inundate the Utah governor’s office with calls and e-mails, demanding action. His campaign led him to the steps of the Capitol, speaking to about 150 concerned citizens.
The Leonardo in Salt Lake City welcomes the Mummies of the World-The Exhibition complete with Hollywood-style motorcade and security detail as one of 8 tractor-trailers arrives. The unloading of the actual artifacts Wednesday is all in preparation for the upcoming opening of the exhibition. Heather Gill-Frerking (who prefers to be called Dr. Heather) says visitors will be surprised to learn that these mummies aren’t considered lifeless.
Utah Governor Gary Herbert promotes Prosperity 2020 goals in Washington, D.C., Utah Democrats call for the protection of Utah’s greater canyonlands, and the Division of Air Quality is targeting the use of toxic consumer cleaning products.
Democratic State Lawmakers are calling the federal government to protect and preserve Utah’s greater canyonlands.
On the steps of the state Capitol Tuesday, State Senator and Utah Democratic Party Chairman Jim Dabakis sought to preserve one the state’s natural treasures. He introduced Senate Joint Resolution 10 that seeks public comment on how to protect the greater canyonlands.
A bill making it illegal to smoke in a car with children is one step closer to becoming law after getting a favorable recommendation from the House Health and Human Services Committee.
Democratic Representative Patrice Arent says her bill is aimed at helping the thousands of children without a voice who are being harmed by second hand smoke in cars. Several doctors spoke in favor of the bill, including Dr. Kevin Nelson, a pediatrician at the University of Utah.
Most strategies to reduce air pollution in northern Utah focus on emissions from cars and industry, but the state’s Division of Air Quality (DAQ) is targeting another source of pollution – the products in our bathroom cupboards, cleaning closets, and garage shelves. The DAQ board will consider a new rule Wednesday that would regulate consumer products containing volatile organic compounds.
Members of the Utah House passed a bill today that would give businesses a tax break if they hire people who are homeless.
Salt Lake County Democrat Brian King crafted the bill that would give businesses a tax credit of between five hundred and two thousand dollars for hiring an individual who is homeless. King said the legislation is designed to help some live more stable lives.
Salt Lake City is inviting the public to come up with a name for a new mid-block street between the Salt Lake City public library and the new public safety building.
Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker joined the city’s police and fire chiefs and the new community and economic development director outside the city Library to announce the opening of a contest to name the street. Anyone interested in pitching an idea can go to the public safety building page of the city’s website. Becker says the possibilities are limitless.
After losing out on a contract with Salt Lake City to provide taxi cab service to and from the Salt Lake City International Airport, Yellow Cab taxi service is calling for the city to increase the company’s cab rates. But the Department of Airports, which is responsible for recommending rate changes to the Salt Lake City Council, says the request will not be granted.
The Utah Senate is ready to spend ten million dollars to expand the number of medical students at the University of Utah. Senate Bill 42 would let the University of Utah medical school add 40 slots for new students -- with the condition that the new applicants have a significant connection to Utah. The bill has bipartisan support. Democrat Luz Robles argued the shortage of doctors is worse in rural parts of the state.
Healthcare advocates converged on the Capitol Friday to encourage lawmakers to expand Medicaid to more low income residents, but state lawmakers held off on debate for now, and said the Governor will have to make the decision.
Family physician Ray Ward kicked off the meeting of the Social Services Appropriations Subcommittee with an impassioned plea for the expansion of Medicaid to cover an estimated 145,000 more low-income Utahns.
Republican Senator Howard Stephenson wants local schools to have more control over where they spend their money. The Draper lawmaker is sponsoring a bill that would require school districts distribute education dollars directly to schools; giving principals control over how it’s spent. But state education leaders say there are problems with the measure.
Entrepreneur Jim Sorenson has given the University of Utah $13 million to create a one-of-a-kind global impact investing center. The Center will be part of the U’s David Eccles School of Business and will provide students with training and experience in social entrepreneurship.
For Jim Sorenson, impact investing means doing good while doing well.