The Utah House of Representatives opened this year’s legislative session with some bold remarks from Republican Speaker Rebecca Lockhart, challenging Governor Gary Herbert.
Just like speeches from years’ past, Speaker Lockhart railed against the over-reach of the federal government, and insisted that Utah resist. But this time, she targeted Governor Herbert who has recently said that he favors some limited expansion of Medicaid in the state.
On the first day of the 2014 legislative session, Republican leaders in the Utah Senate say there is little support for changing Utah’s liquor laws this year— specifically those laws dealing with the so-called “Zion Curtain” and a requirement that restaurant patrons announce their intent to eat food before ordering alcoholic beverages.
Carl Ingwell (left) and Brian Moench (right) were the leading organizers of Saturday's rally on the Utah Capitol's south steps. Rep. Angela Romero (middle) was one of the half-dozen lawmakers who attended.
A sea of people swarmed Utah’s Capitol steps and south lawn Saturday. Thousands gathered for the Clean Air, No Excuses rally just above winter smog blanketing the valley. Brian Moench, a co-founder of Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, told the demonstrators they have a right to clean air.
“This is your state,” said Moench. “What goes on in the building behind us is your government. The air you breathe is largely what you make of it, either by ignoring it, making it worse by neglect or by fighting to make it better.”
The Utah Department of Health released their second ever Violence and Injury Small Area report today. The report summarizes data on 17 different kinds of injuries and injury related topics, like the number of emergency room visits by children or hospitalizations because of poisoning. It then takes that information and breaks it down into 62 small geographic areas.
We're in the final week of the Sundance Film Festival, and Dan Nailen says that brings more opportunities to get into movies and some excellent music as well. Dan Nailen reports on entertainment for KUER... and blogs at slcene.com.
UPDATE: Since the broadcast of this story, Stericycle has confirmed in a written statement to KUER that it is seriously considering the option of moving, and that the company has taken steps to secure property in a remote area of Tooele County. The company's Vice President for Legal and Regulatory Affairs Selin Hoboy says the details are still being finalized.
West Valley City’s new police chief spoke candidly with members of the community Thursday night about the future of the long-embattled agency. It was the first in a series of monthly community meetings Chief Lee Russo says he plans to hold.
Lori Bailey is part of the Solomon Farms Neighborhood watch in West Valley City. She told Russo, she’s not getting a timely response from the police when she report crimes like drug deals and graffiti. Russo took Bailey’s information assuring her he’d follow up. Bailey says she’ll come to every community meeting from now on.
A new report tries to cut through some of the confusion surrounding Utah’s air-pollution problems. Shawn Teigen says he stepped back to take an impartial look at one of Utah’s most important issues. He’s a research analyst for the non-partisan Utah Foundation. His report released Thursday notes pollution has not trended up -- or down -- over the past 15 years. He’s found that smoke from solid-fuels like wood and coal is an unexpectedly big problem. He’s also learned that federal clean-vehicle, clean-fuel standards called Tier 3 will go a long way to clean up the air.
Governor Gary Herbert says he’s decided what the state will do about expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. But he’s not ready yet to announce just what that is.
Herbert told reporters at his monthly news conference on KUED this morning that he’ll announce his decision during the legislative session, which starts next week. But he wouldn’t go into detail about just how the state plans to work with the federal government on Medicaid.
A bipartisan caucus of Utah House members has unveiled a package of air-pollution bills. They say the proposals will Utah’s air easier to breathe. The measures include incentives for consumers to buy cleaner snow-blowers and weed whackers. There is one bill that would ban medical waste incinerators in the state. Another proposal would allow the state to authorize environmental regulations that are more rigorous than federal laws.
The University of Utah is investigating an incident at a fertility clinic where an employee is accused of illegally using his own semen to father at least one baby. The University is clarifying its relationship with the now-defunct clinic, and trying to uncover what records still exist from more than 20 years ago. U officials say up to 1000 patients could possibly have been affected.
A top leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints says Utah’s liquor laws are just fine the way they are. But that may not stop further attempts to change them during the upcoming legislative session.
The U.S. Women’s Ski Jumping team announced the three nominees that will participate at this year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Officials made the announcement at the team’s training facility in Park City.
Governor Gary Herbert has appointed state school board member Tami Pyfer as his new education advisor. The Governor’s spokesman Marty Carpenter says Pyfer brings in a very broad-scoped education experience from administrator to parent volunteer in public and private classrooms.
A federal appeals court has granted Utah's request for more time to prepare opening arguments in defense of the state's same-sex marriage ban. A lawyer for the plaintiffs in the Amendment 3 case happened to be speaking at the University of Utah Law School today, and said she was disappointed by the extension, but not discouraged.
House and Senate Democrats unveiled their plans for the 2014 legislative session today. Chief among them is a proposal to increase the minimum wage and another to create an independent elections commission in response to investigations into former Utah Attorney General John Swallow.
Representative Lynn Hemingway would like to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.25—what he calls a living wage. Hemingway says the bill would only impact workers over the age of 17.
The Utah Lake Commission is asking the legislature for 7-point-5 million dollars to help reduce the number of carp in Utah Lake. A legislator from Lehi thinks that’s a great idea, and he’s hoping they can find the money during the general session that starts next week.
The Commission has been paying a commercial fishing business to take tons of carp out of the lake, hoping to reverse the environmental damage the fish have caused over the past century.
Last year, clean air activists called on Utah’s hospitals and clinics to stop sending their waste to Stericycle’s incinerator in North Salt Lake. One of the state’s largest healthcare providers, The University of Utah, is looking at some significant changes to the way it handles medical waste, but there are some types of waste that university officials say they have no other option at this time but to burn.
Marchers young and old prepare to walk in celebration of Martin Luther King Day. They walked south from Westminster College on 1300 East. They then headed into the business district of the area before meeting in the Gore School of Business Auditorium for jazz music and speeches.
A small crowd of about 150 Westminster College students, faculty, and families from the neighborhood celebrated the legacy of Martin Luther King Junior today Monday. They marched through central Sugarhouse. Luciano Marzulli is the director of Diversity Student Affairs and Services at Westminster. He says the legacy of Dr. King should be celebrated because there’s still a lot of work to be done.
The Salt Lake City Mayor’s office has for 13 years hosted a Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service in partnership with the Utah Food Bank. Today more than 100 volunteers lent their time and energy to the cause.
Ginette Bott with the Utah Food Bank addressed volunteers early Monday morning about the value of their service. Bott says last year volunteers donated 103,000 hours of time to the organization.
The independent filmmakers who show their work at the Sundance Film Festival are all trying to achieve that most elusive goal -- buzz. KUER's Dan Nailen spent his time in Park City over the weekend looking for some of those buzz-worthy films among the documentaries. Dan Nailen reports on entertainment for KUER... and blogs at slcene.comHappiness by filmmaker Thomas Balmès is among the documentaries at Sundance this year.
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: