Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker hosted a brainstorming session last week with members of President Obama's new White House Task Force on Climate Change. The panel’s task is to find strategies to fight the impacts of climate change.
President Obama sent two key aides to participate in the discussion. Mayor Ralph Becker says the event was an opportunity to show how different government entities can work together.
“They look to us at the local level and at the state level to help shape what they should be doing at the federal level," says Becker.
University of Utah graduate students are developing a video game app to help Utahns better understand the connection between their actions and the dirty air.
Kerry Kelly is Associate Director of the University of Utah’s program for Air Quality, Health and Society. She says her role is to make sure this game is backed up by scientific evidence. But here’s one of the ideas they’re considering:
The Utah Department of Environmental Quality released its 2013 annual report today. The report highlights some of the DEQ’s main accomplishments and success stories from the past year. DEQ Communication Director Donna Spangler says one of the most important was finalizing the state’s air quality plan.
Tesla Motors all-electric cars still aren’t for sale at a traditional dealer showroom in Utah but at least now you can charge one in the southeast area of the state. The Blanding Visitor Center parking lot is the place to find the first Tesla Supercharging station located in Utah.
Jeremy Redd is Blanding’s city manager. He says the supercharger station fits there and the company is thrilled.
Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton spoke at the University of Utah today as part of its Martin Luther King celebration week. Fulton called on all Utahns to stand up against racism and injustice in their communities.
A Republican State lawmaker from Bountiful wants to change the way state school board members in Utah are elected to office, and he hopes to leave politics out of the equation.
Right now, a seven-member committee appointed by the Governor is responsible for vetting state school board candidates. That group sends it’s nominations to the governor who then selects two candidates for each position. House Bill 59, sponsored by State Representative Jim Nielson would get rid of that committee and the governor’s role in process.
The consultant hired by the Prison Relocation and Development Authority, or PRADA, held an informal meeting at the State Capitol Thursday. At the event, people had a chance to voice their opinions on their master plan for moving the State prison in Draper.
Deborah Reithmuller is the founder of the Utah Prison Support Group. She was one of the few people that showed up to weigh in on why she thinks the State prison should not be moved.
Utah Governor Gary Herbert says he believes regulating marriage is a state’s rights issue, but he understands many people are disappointed by his order to keep the state from recognizing same sex marriages performed legally after a key federal court decision.
Herbert says he was disappointed by federal Judge Robert Shelby’s decision invalidating Utah’s Amendment Three, which bars recognition of same-sex relationships. But earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court stayed Shelby’s ruling putting gay marriages on hold in Utah.
The University of Utah kicks off its week-long Martin Luther King Junior celebration Thursday with an appearance by Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, who was shot and killed in Florida almost two years ago. The U’s theme this year is “Beneath the Hoodie: A Look at Racial Profiling in America”.
Republican State Representative Greg Hughes is sponsoring a bill that would get about 3,000 at risk-kids into preschool. He says Utah will save money by getting kids better-prepared for kindergarten and reading at grade level.
Last year, state lawmakers said “no” to this idea– or at least one that closely resembles Representative Hughes’ proposal.
But Hughes says getting more kids into preschool will shave costs for the state, which shells out an additional $2600 per student for kids who need special education and individual attention.
Salt Lake County has maintained a conservative budget all while investing in opportunities and community assets for a better future. That’s the message Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams delivered during his annual State of the County Address this morning.
McAdams credits bipartisanship, fiscal prudence and a thriving local economy for the county’s ability to adequately fund arts and cultural facilities, museums, parks, trails and other services.
UPDATE: Representative Rob Bishop (R-UT1) met yesterday with House leadership, including Speaker John Boehner and budget committee chair Paul Ryan. Bishop says he's been assured funding for the Payment in Lieu of Taxes program will be included in an upcoming appr0priations bill, though not in the combined spending bill the House will be voting on Wednesday.
Members of Utah’s Congressional delegation are trying to save federal funding for rural counties. Losing it could hurt some counties badly.
Advocacy group Breath Utah is partnering with the Utah Division of Air Quality to monitor air quality in different parts of the valley and along the benches. They say the study will help the state better focus efforts to combat pollution.
Kevin Hart is an environmental scientist for the Division of Air Quality. He’s installing a pm2.5 monitor outside Fort Herriman Middle School in Riverton. He says the more of these devices that can be set up the better the state will understand how to approach air pollution.
A group that’s worked to include gay people in the Mormon community will be holding public conversations next week about an anti-discrimination bill being proposed in the upcoming legislative session. But one opponent of the bill thinks the recent controversy over gay marriage could get in the way.
A Republican state representative is proposing a gas tax increase this year. The Utah legislature has not passed a fuel tax increase in more than 15 years, but Representative Jim Nielson of Bountiful argues the roads need funding, and those who use them should be the ones who pay. Republicans as a rule don’t like to do be associated with tax increases, but Nielson insists raising taxes on gasoline is a conservative idea.
After weeks of waiting, thousands of Utahns will find out if they qualify for Medicaid. Confusion and technical difficulties with the federal exchange website healthcare.gov have left some Utahns’ applications in limbo.
Seventy-eight percent of the county Republican Central Committee voted for Aimee Winder Newton. She will replace David Wilde, who resigned earlier this month with a year left in his term.
Prior to her work as the city’s communications director, Newton served on the Taylorsville City Planning Commission and Economic Development Committee. Newton is among three of the nine-members on the council who live on the west side of the county and the only woman. She says she wants to use her social media skills to get more people involved in county government.
Yesterday’s fire at Utah State University’s Extension Facility in St. George has resulted in an apparent total loss. Brian Higgenbotham is the Associate Vice President for the extension. He says it’s going to be difficult to put a dollar value on the damage to this center of community education.
“In St. George we actually have, we had I should say, a very nice facility that had conference rooms, and rooms for demonstrations for some of our family consumer science programs, also had large area for our 4H,” he says.
The Salt Lake County Republican Party will hold two special elections tonight: One to replace 3rd District County councilman David Wilde and another to replace former state Representative Derek Brown in House District 49. Both resigned in January.
David Wilde left the Salt Lake County council to work for Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill, where he will be eligible for the health care benefits he’ll need to combat cancer.
Derek Brown left the Utah House of Representatives to serve as U.S. Senator Mike Lee’s Deputy Chief of Staff.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been an active participant in some past court cases involving same-sex marriage, but it doesn’t look like it will make arguments in the state of Utah’s current legal battle.
Part of Rocky Mountain Power’s 76.3-million dollar rate increase request includes a $4.25 monthly increase for Utah customers who generate their own power through windmills or solar panels. The utility classifies them as net metering customers. Rocky Mountain Power’s Dave Eskelsen says the request protects traditional customers and is a very small part of the rate increase request. He says it's also intended to help ready the system for technology for which it was not designed.
The Utah Air Quality Board voted yesterday to add a supplement to the plan for controlling pollution from industrial sources. Bryce Bird, the director of the Division of Air Quality, says it will help industry get going to comply with new state requirements.
The state legislature needs to act or step aside and empower cities to act to improve air quality. That’s the message in Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker’s annual State of the City Address, which he presented today at the University of Utah.
Josh Romney has been appointed to the Board of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. Romney is founder of a real estate company, serves on the board of Charity Vision International, and has done political and fundraising work for his father’s presidential campaigns. Director Spencer Eccles says Romney brings valuable experience and contacts to the group, which aims to recruit and grow companies in Utah.