2018 utah legislature | KUER 90.1

2018 utah legislature

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This week lawmakers paused to honor the 17 lives lost in a school shooting in Parkland, Fla. But the latest school violence is unlikely to persuade Republican leaders to propose any big changes to gun laws this session. Meanwhile, a committee finally approved something close to a resolution acknowledging climate change without actually using the phrase "climate change." We also talk about some air quality bills and medical marijuana. Rep. Steve Eliason joins us on 'Better Know A Lawmaker' and explains how he's tackling Utah's youth suicide problem. 

Pool Photo / Salt Lake Tribune

Gov. Gary Herbert said Thursday he’s working with Utah lawmakers on a bill that would ban abortions of a fetus diagnosed with Down syndrome. Legislative attorneys have flagged the bill, saying if it passes, it would likely face a legal challenge.

Julia Ritchey / KUER

Utah lawmakers aren’t poised to make any sweeping changes to gun laws in the wake of another fatal school shooting in the U.S.

Julia Ritchey / KUER

Utah is one step closer to sending a new statue to Washington, D.C., to display at the U.S. Capitol. The Utah House on Wednesday agreed to send a statue of Martha Hughes Cannon, the nation’s first female state senator.

le.utah.edu/State of Utah

There’s pushback on Utah’s Capitol hill against tough-on-crime bills Democrats have sponsored this year. Utah Senator Karen Mayne is sponsoring two of those bills. She has a soft spot for first responders.

Julia Ritchey / KUER

Utah has historically had one of the largest gender wage gaps in the country, but a bill that would’ve researched wage disparities among state employees faced a chilly reception from male lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

Austen Diamond / KUER

Local funding for school districts is based on property taxes, but Sen. Lincoln Fillmore, R-South Jordan, worries that system is outdated.

Austen Diamond / KUER

For the first time the federal government has allowed states to develop work requirements for people on Medicaid, the low-income government health insurance program. It’s a big change, requiring people to work in exchange for health care. Utah is one of 10 states that applied to do it. At least one bill in the legislature is sketching out what work requirements could look like.

Julia Ritchey / KUER

Utah could be headed to battle against California over coal.

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Tesla’s Model S is the top selling electric vehicle in the U.S., but Utahns hoping to get their hands on one have been out of luck thanks to an obscure state law. That's why a Utah lawmaker is bringing back a bill that would allow the California-based automaker to sell its cars directly.

Nicole Nixon / KUER

The Utahraptor, a six-foot tall prehistoric predator, is clawing its way closer to becoming the official state dinosaur.

Austen Diamond / KUER

The Utah House of Representatives is reinforcing a key provision of Utah’s "Stand Your Ground” law, the controversial statute that allows armed individuals to use lethal force in self-defense.

Julia Ritchey / KUER

A bill that would have stiffened penalties for people who fail to call 911 in an emergency failed in the House on Monday after a lengthy debate.

Nicole Nixon / KUER

Police are investigating and Utah lawmakers have been put on high alert after what they’re calling an entrapment attempt.

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Legislation affirming the right of mothers to breastfeed in public is moving forward — even over the objections of some squeamish male lawmakers.

Austen Diamond / KUER

The Republican lawmaker who wrote Utah’s current surrogacy law tried to have it repealed this week.

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Utah lawmakers are once again weighing whether to eliminate the state's sales tax on food items — and the author behind the legislation is urging his colleagues to get on board. 

Screenshot / Utah House of Representatives

A former Utah lawmaker who abruptly resigned this week reportedly paid an escort for sex as recently as last year, according to a British tabloid

Austen Diamond / KUER

Lawmakers on Tuesday passed a bill that included a last-minute change to greatly expand the Utah Department of Transportation’s authority to impose tolls on roads.

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A bill moving through the Utah legislature is supposed to set clear guidelines for courts when people request a gender change, but LGBT groups say it’s not ready yet.

Austen Diamond / KUER

Sen. Wayne Harper, R-Taylorsville, believes technology, cars and lifestyles are changing rapidly, and the state needs to adapt if it wants to keep up.

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Utah lawmakers have been pushing agencies to rely more and more on user fees instead of taxes. They say it’s only fair. But a bill backed by a Salt Lake City radioactive waste company would reverse that policy, shifting the cost of companies’ user fees to taxpayers.

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A pair of bills aimed at strengthening Utah’s domestic violence laws are advancing at the Utah Legislature. They were prompted by the murder last June of Memorez Rackley and her six-year-old son, Jase.

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The issue of medical marijuana is lighting up the Utah Legislature, despite a competing ballot initiative making its way to voters this fall.

Austen Diamond / KUER

A proposal to allow political parties to reduce candidate options to the primary ballot received its first approval in the Utah Legislature Tuesday.

Courtesy of West Valley City Police Department

A bill that would allow prosecutors to automatically try a 15-year-old as an adult for murdering a police officer narrowly passed a Utah House committee on Tuesday.

Unified Police Department

Unified Police Sgt. Chad Reyes remembers the July day of last year when he lost his K9 partner, Dingo.

Julia Ritchey / KUER

A Utah lawmaker wants to broaden the definition of "first responder" in death penalty cases — a move that could prompt a major court challenge.

Utah Division of State History

Utah will likely send a statue of Martha Hughes Cannon to the U.S. Capitol, after the senate passed a resolution to replace a current statue of inventor Philo Farnsworth, with one of Cannon, an early Utah politician and women's rights activist. 

Austen Diamond / KUER

Utah’s suicide hotlines receive nearly 10,000 calls each year from people in crisis, but not all are staffed 24/7. That’s why lawmakers are pushing new legislation to keep those lines open and staffed. 

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