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Business & Labor
5:22 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

"Zion Curtain" Removal Bill Moves Out of House Committee

Members of House Business and Labor Committee listen to debate on HB350
Brian Grimmett

A couple of alcohol related bills managed to make their way through House committees Wednesday including one that would eliminate Utah’s so-called “Zion Curtain.”

HB228 eliminates provisions in Utah law that requires restaurants to keep open liquor bottles and the actual mixing of drinks out of public sight. Republican Rep. Gage Froerer voted in favor of the bill. He says the current law is an unnecessary obstacle.

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KUER Local News
6:26 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Zions Bank Consumer Attitude Index is Tale of Two Stories: Utah versus Fed Economy

Levelninesports Chief Operating Officer Mitch Lamb with The Cicero Group's Randy Shumway.
Credit Bob Nelson

The latest Zions Bank Consumer Attitude Index numbers revealed today highlight the difference between Utah’s economy and the rest of the country. The Cicero Group does the survey for Zions Bank. Cicero’s Randy Shumway says the small increase of 1.1 points in Utahns’ confidence shows the contrasts between the two stories.

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Politics
6:01 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Utah House Considers 3 Gun Bills

Utah House of Representatives
Brian Grimmett

The Utah House of Representatives considered three gun bills Tuesday afternoon and managed a vote on only one of them.

Of the three gun-related bills that the Utah House had a chance to debate, only Republican Rep. Dixon Pitcher’s HB121 received a vote. It would allow an individual to turn over a gun in his or her household to the police for up to 60 days if they feel it presents a danger to themselves or others in the house. Rep. Pitcher says he believes this law will help save lives without causing too much inconvenience.

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Politics
4:43 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Utah Democrats Push for Medicaid Expansion

State Representative Rebecca Chavez-Houck talks about her bill that would begin the process of expanding Medicaid in Utah. She and other members of the Democratic caucus are calling on Governor Gary Herbert to expand the program.
Credit Terry Gildea

Utah Democrats in the state legislature called on Governor Gary Herbert today to move forward with increasing Medicaid coverage. States have the option to expand their programs under the Affordable Care Act.  

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Business & Labor
3:33 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Lawmaker Wants Online Stores to Pay Taxes

Utah lawmakers are hoping to bring in millions of additional tax dollars from online retailers, but a bill being proposed might be in conflict with the U-S Constitution. Federal law currently allows the state to collect taxes from online retailers as long as they have a physical location in that state, like a store or distribution warehouse. Senate Bill 226, sponsored by Republican Senator Wayne Harper would empower Utah to collect taxes from some out-of-state online retailers.

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Business & Labor
4:57 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

Utah House Approves of Drinking Alcohol Before Ordering Food and other Changes to Liquor Laws

HB218 would create more liquor licenses for dining clubs such as Market Street Oyster Bar (pictured) in Salt Lake City.

The Utah House of Representatives voted Monday to allow restaurant patrons to order drinks before ordering food.  House Bill 218 would also make more liquor permits available for certain types of dining establishments. 

Under current statute, restaurant customers are required to order food if they want to order an alcoholic drink.  If they don’t, the restaurant may be fined 500 dollars, which happened to several Utah establishments recently.  Republican Gage Froerer of Huntsville says his bill will clarify the state’s policy and prevent future fines.

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Politics
3:42 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

Utah Budget Projections Lower than Previously Expected

www.senatesite.com

Utah’s latest revenue projections released today at the state legislature are slightly lower than previously expected.

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-KUER News Pod
10:53 am
Mon February 25, 2013

KUER News Pod: Monday February 25, 2013

Utahns on both side of the argument weigh in on gay marriage, the Utah legislature prepares to hear this year’s revenue projections, and the mayor of a small Utah town resigns.

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KUER Local News
5:44 pm
Sun February 24, 2013

For Better or Worse, Utah Weighs in on Same-Sex Marriage

Utah Pride Center Executive Director Valerie Larabee is hopeful that same-sex couples will be able to marry in Utah.
Andrea Smardon

Hear the full report.

The U.S. Supreme Court is receiving briefs from all over the country as it prepares to take up same sex marriage next month, including Utah.  The Court will hear arguments in two cases concerning the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8.  The Utah Pride Center plans to file an amicus brief to the nation’s highest court this week, arguing that laws that ban same sex marriage amount to discrimination.  But the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Utah’s Attorney General have filed their own briefs in defense of traditional marriage and states’ rights to decide. 

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-KUER News Pod
3:56 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

KUER News Pod: Friday February 22, 2013

Utah Governor Gary Herbert addresses Medicaid expansion, guns, and the sequester at his monthly news conference, the Legislature debates a suicide prevention bill, and former Governor Jon Huntsman says he supports gay marriage.

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KUER Local News
3:02 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

UTA, UDOT, and Salt Lake City Kick Off the Year of the Bike

Brian Grimmett

Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker and a number of other regional and state leaders joined together to announce several new projects and events that will make riding a bike throughout the county easier and safer. Becker says they’ve received more positive feedback from their bike initiatives over the past few years than anything else and that this year it will only get better.

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Politics
9:48 am
Fri February 22, 2013

Web Special: Everything You Need to Know About Utah Gun Laws

File: Colt 1911
Stephen Z CC

As the Utah Legislature considers several bills aimed at changing gun laws we decided to take a look at what the laws in Utah actually say right now and, as equally important, what they don’t.

Who Can Own a Gun?

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Politics
6:40 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

Huntsman Endorses Marriage Equality

Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman Jr. endorsed marriage equality this week in an editorial that appeared in the The American Conservative magazine.

Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman announced his support  yesterday for the legalization of same-sex marriage in the latest edition of The American Conservative magazine.

In the Op-Ed, Huntsman called on all Republicans to support marriage equality saying [quote] “Building a winning coalition to tackle the looming fiscal and trust deficits will be impossible if we continue to alienate broad segments of the population.”

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Education
6:23 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

Sponsors Team Up On Set of Bi-Partisan Anti-Bully and Suicide Prevention Bills

Pictured left to right, Senator Luz Robles (D), Representative Gage Froerer (R), Representative Steve Eliason (R)
Credit Bob Nelson

Lawmakers from separate parties and different chambers are finding synergy in moving anti-bullying and anti-suicide legislation during the session. Democratic Senator Luz Robles and Republican Representative Gage Froerer say when they found out they were working individually on the same thing they decided to team up. Froerer says HB-134 is a statewide effort to make a dent in the epidemic of teen suicides as well as bullying in our schools.

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Politics
4:12 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

Herbert: Medicaid Decision Delayed

Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert
pool photo

  Utah Governor Gary Herbert says a decision on expanding Utah's Medicaid program may have to wait until this summer.  Herbert told his monthly news conference on KUED Thursday morning that Utah won't follow the lead of any other state on the issue.

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-KUER News Pod
11:57 am
Thu February 21, 2013

KUER News Pod: Thursday February 21, 2013

In part two of our series on clearing the air KUER’s Terry Gildea takes a look at what state lawmakers are doing, the legislature gets its first look at several gun bills, and Senator Orrin Hatch brings gloom and doom to the House and Senate Floor.

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Politics
11:37 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

Lawmakers Advance Gun Bills

State Lawmakers considered a handful of firearms bills in committees on Wednesday. About half of the measures reinforce the status quo or make guns more available to Utahns. One bill in particular was met with heated debate.

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Environment & Public Lands
10:59 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

Clearing the Air: What the Legislature Proposes

Democratic Representatives Brian King, Joel Briscoe and Patrice Arent attend a clean air rally at the Capitol. Both Briscoe and Arent are among the sponsors of a series of bills Democrats hope would provide some future relief from inversion air.
Credit Andrea Smardon

As Utahns persist through one of the worst winter inversion seasons in a decade, many have focused their frustration and anger over dirty air on elected officials in the Utah legislature.  In part two of our series Clearing the Air, KUER News explores the  short and long term solutions lawmakers are proposing.

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-KUER News Pod
4:20 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

KUER News Pod: Wednesday February 20, 2013

Governor Gary Herbert weighs in on a potential statewide anti-discrimination bill, the Utah Senate gives preliminary approval to a bill that would require the state to collect abortion statistics, and oil and gas drilling are the cause of most of the air pollution in the Uintah basin.

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Politics
4:11 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

Senator Hatch Brings "Unhappy News" to House Chamber

Senator Orrin Hatch in Utah House Chamber
Credit Bob Nelson

Utah Senator Orrin Hatch visited state representatives in the House Wednesday to deliver what he called unhappy news. He says the Sequester, the automatic across-the-board spending cuts, will happen and it will be a difficult thing, especially for civilian employees at Hill Air Force Base.

”and it’s certainly going to hit a lot of small contractors and it’s also going to hit our workforce up there, is about two thirds civilian. So if you can imagine we’ve got to be prepared for whatever comes,”says Hatch. 

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Politics
7:03 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

Lawmakers Crafting Statewide Anti-Discrimination Bill

Utah lawmakers are reportedly working with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and social rights groups to help pass a statewide law protecting gays and lesbians from housing and employment discrimination.  Utah Governor Gary Herbert told reporters Tuesday he’s not involved in the discussions but will consider the bill.

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Environment & Public Lands
4:46 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

Study Looks at Uintah Basin Ozone

Winter air over the Uintah Basin near Vernal
Dan Bammes

  After a year of studying winter ozone air pollution in Utah’s Uintah Basin, a team of scientists has determined that oil and gas wells are causing most of the problem.  

The team at Utah State University’s Uintah Basin campus studied ozone last winter – when there were only a few inversion days and not much of a problem.  It’s been worse this year, and Seth Lyman with the Bingham Research Center says a big part of the problem is the volatile organic compounds such as benzene coming from thousands of oil and gas wells.

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KUER Local News
3:59 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

Salt Lake County Mayor Calls for Volunteer Board Members

Pictured left to right are Citizen Volunteer Charles Henderson, Salt lake County Mayor Ben McAdams and Director of Diversity Rebecca Sanchez
Credit Bob Nelson

Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams is renewing the call for citizen volunteers to fill the ongoing demand in the county for volunteer board member positions. He says there is strength in diversity.

“We have turnover on the boards, people are appointed to serve a certain number of years and we’re trying to keep it fresh with bringing in people with new perspectives and new ideas,” says McAdams.

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Politics
3:55 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

GOP Leaders Decide Not to Discuss Swallow Scandal

Utah Attorney General John Swallow

Utah Republican Party leaders decided to table a discussion about a scandal affecting Attorney General John Swallow over the weekend.  Swallow is being investigated by the US Attorney’s Office for allegedly helping business man Jeremy Johnson bribe US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Members of the GOP State Central Committee voted against holding a formal discussion on the issue, though some say it’s one of the most important issues facing the party. 

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Health Care
1:08 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

UDOH Cost/Benefit Report on Medicaid Expansion Delayed

The Utah Department of Health says that the privately contracted cost/benefit analysis of the optional Medicaid expansion is still not complete. The Social Services joint appropriations committee had planned to hear the report Tuesday morning.

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Public Safety
4:56 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

With Arizona in Mind, Utah’s Immigration Enforcement Law has Court Hearing

Andrea Smardon

Arguments over Utah’s immigration enforcement law were heard in US District Court Friday.  It was the first hearing on the law in about a year.  Judge Clark Waddoups was waiting to rule on the constitutionality of HB 497 until after the U.S. Supreme Court weighed in on Arizona’s enforcement-only law. 

Cecillia Wang is Director of the ACLU’s Immigrants Rights Project, and a lawyer in the case against HB 497.  Standing outside the US District Court in Salt Lake City after the hearing, Wang said the tide is turning in their favor. 

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Politics
4:03 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

House Okays Protections for Dating Violence Victims

A bill extending protection to victims of dating violence advanced in the Utah house today. HB 50, sponsored by Minority Leader Jennifer Seelig was met with heated opposition on the house floor. 

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Environment & Public Lands
3:43 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

Compromise Delays Stream Access Bills

Anglers gather on the steps of Utah's state capitol to rally for better access to streams
Dan Bammes

The battle over access to fishing streams in Utah probably won’t be resolved in this legislative session, but that was welcome news to anglers who brought the issue to the state capitol on Friday.

About 400 people who had gathered on the capitol steps cheered the news that the sponsor of House Bill 68 will hold on to his bill for now.  It would declare the state has met its obligations to keep streams open as a public trust.

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-KUER News Pod
11:46 am
Fri February 15, 2013

KUER News Pod: Friday February 15, 2013

Local government leaders call on the state legislature to act on cleaning up the air, nearly a dozen nonprofits working to end violence against women put on a dance show at the State Capitol, and a group of same-sex couples in Salt Lake use Valentine’s day to bring attention to marriage equality.

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KUER Local News
9:23 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

Same-Sex Couples Apply for Marriage Licenses in Salt Lake City

Same-sex couples stand in line to apply for marriage licenses at the Salt Lake County Clerk's office. (February 14, 2013)
Andrea Smardon

Some Utah couples marked Valentine’s Day with flowers, some even tied the knot, but some gay and lesbian couples in Salt Lake County chose the occasion to bring attention to the fact that they don’t have the right to marry.  Same-sex couples submitted applications for marriage licenses Thursday, knowing that they would be turned away. 

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