News

Stephen Butler / Flickr Creative Commons

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert is scanning hundreds of recently passed bills in search of any that might deserve a veto. One that’s caught his eye would prohibit a wintertime wood-burning ban.

House Bill 396 concerns the governor because it potentially restricts the policy-setting Air Quality Board from implementing the best pollution solutions it finds.

New Website Helps Utahns Find Unclaimed Property

Mar 20, 2015

  The State Treasury is hoping to return unclaimed money to Utah residents with the help of a new website.

This tax season, Utahns who didn’t have health insurance last year may discover for the first time that they have to pay a penalty to the federal government. But they have an opportunity to sign up for insurance and avoid future fines.

Courtesy: / Utah Department of Transportation

Utah lawmakers took a big step on air quality last week by passing a bill that creates incentives for refineries to make cleaner gasoline in Utah.

Tambako via Flickr

 Aggressive power-seekers are more likely to suffer from high blood pressure and an increased risk of heart attack, according to a new study released by the University of Utah.

Utahns for Responsible Burning / Facebook Screen Capture

Clean-air activists want Governor Gary Herbert to veto a bill that bars regulators from banning wood burning all winter in Utah’s polluted areas. KUER’s Judy Fahys has the story.

The idea of a wood-burning ban was aimed at averting high-pollution episodes in northern Utah basins. But the Division of Air Quality’s proposal caused a backlash and prompted lawmakers to pass a bill that outlaws a ban.

Andrea Smardon

Utah Department of Health officials released a study this week that shows increased rates of stillbirths in the Uintah Basin. But some local physicians are criticizing the study for not going deep enough.

Utah State Office of Education

The Utah State Board of Education on Thursday will consider asking the governor to veto a bill that aims to streamline the state’s education code.

Governor's Office of Economic Development

Recipients of the Governor’s Medal for Science and Technology were announced this week. They include seven individuals and one company.

West Valley City

The attorney for Shaun Cowley filed a lawsuit Monday in 3rd District Court against West Valley City. The former West Valley detective wants to recoup legal fees he accrued while fighting a manslaughter charge for 2012 shooting death of Danielle Willard.

Andrea Smardon / KUER

Republican state lawmakers have committed to come up with an agreement to close the health insurance coverage gap for the poor in Utah this year. But House Speaker Greg Hughes says a deal on Medicaid expansion rides on the Obama administration’s willingness to compromise. 

Gonorrhea Rates in Utah Jump Nearly 400 Percent

Mar 17, 2015
Utah Department of Health

The Utah Department of Health released a report recently that shows rates of gonorrhea in the state have jumped significantly over the past four years. 

Whittney Evans

Salt Lake City mayoral Candidate Jackie Biskupski  is criticizing her opponent, Mayor Ralph Becker for what she says is an absence of leadership opposing the state prison relocation to Salt Lake City.

The Salt Lake City mayor’s office is launching a new program that matches refugee families with volunteers.

Utah Division of Natural Resources and FrogWatch

The season to spot frogs and toads has arrived, and Hogle Zoo is part of a nationwide, citizen-science effort to monitor them in Utah.

The zoo’s Suzanne Zgraggen, coordinator for FrogWatch USA in Utah, teaches volunteers how to identify frogs and toads.

Salt Lake County

Many residents of unincorporated areas of Salt Lake County are rejoicing after the passage of a bill that settles years of discontent over local boundaries and governance.

A new study suggests antidepressants can help not just mental health but heart health as well. Researchers at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute found that treating depression helps reduce the risk for heart disease. The study is being presented this weekend at the American College of Cardiology’s annual meeting in San Diego on Sunday.

The legislature ended at midnight last night, and less than 6 hours later I’m on the road to get out of the state as quickly as possible. Coincidence? I’ll let you decide.

To recap the session, here’s a quick list of what the legislature did…and didn’t do.

Lawmakers Hike Gas Tax

Mar 13, 2015
futureatlas.com / Flickr Creative Commons

Motorists will see Utah’s gas tax increase, thanks to an 11th-hour compromise between the Utah House and Senate.

Lawmakers have borrowed from education and universities for years to cover road and bridge repairs. They agreed to end that practice by fixing the 24.5-cent gas tax.

Andrea Smardon / KUER

The Utah legislative session ended with no solution to the healthcare coverage gap, but Governor Gary Herbert and GOP state lawmakers say they have a plan.

Judy Fahys

Utah Governor Gary Herbert has signed into law a statewide ban on discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people in employment and housing.  The law also includes protections for religious beliefs.

The Utah Republican Party’s attempts to delay the County My Vote compromise did not survive the legislative session.

University of Utah

Lawmakers are considering moving Utah closer to being a hands-free state when it comes to drivers using cell phones.

It’s already against the law to text while driving in Utah. A bill in the Senate would require motorists in motion to use Bluetooth or other voice-activated features. Sen. Steve Urquhart, R-St. George, calls it “hands-free lite.”

TORBAKHOPPER VIA CREATIVE COMMONS

A historic measure to protect Utah’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender population from discrimination in employment and housing passed the full Utah legislature Wednesday night. So did two other measures that specifically protect religious freedom.

A bill that would affect parental control of sex education in Utah came up at legislature Wednesday with only two days left in the general session.

The Legislature has passed a bill that will create a registry of people convicted of white collar crimes.

Send Us Your Sound

Mar 11, 2015

The Send Us Your Sound contest has ended, but thank you to everyone for participating! 

KUER’s listeners are the heart of KUER. Help us put a voice to the tens of thousands of listeners who tune-in to the station each week. 

Air Bills Advance

Mar 11, 2015
Wikipedia IC Bus CE-Series

Senators advanced important air-quality bills Tuesday. One provides clean school buses. The other permits Utah-tailored regulations.

The word “different” changed everything for a bill that gives more flexibility to state air regulators. Sen Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, explained that current law blocked regulators from stepping up pollution monitoring at a medical waste incinerator in his district.

Brian Grimmett

Utah Governor Gary Herbert is holding out hope that the state legislature will find more money for education before the 2015 legislative session ends on Thursday.

Lawmakers in Utah Senate passed a bill Tuesday night that would allow execution by firing squad if lethal injection drugs are not available. It now heads to Governor Gary Herbert for his approval. 

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