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President Donald Trump is considering easing restrictions so that teachers can be armed to prevent school shootings. It’s a idea that already has traction in several Mountain West states, including Utah.

Screenshot / Jim Dabakis Facebook

Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City, confessed to Senate colleagues that he was legally impaired while presenting a bill to delay implementation of the state’s strictest-in-the-nation DUI law.

A fierce debate is taking place across the country right now: What to do about immigrants who came here illegally as children. Up until recently, they qualified for a program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, which protects them from deportation. But the Trump administration rescinded that Obama-era rule and Congress is debating what will take its place.  

We talked to three people affected by that debate right here in the Mountain West.

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Erik Neumann / KUER

Carbon County has some of the highest rates of opioid overdoses and death by suicide in the state. This week the Southeast Utah Health Department held a conference in Price to talk about it. Organizers called it the HOPE Summit.

Austen Diamond / KUER

The state will have more than half a billion dollars extra to spend this year. Lawmakers learned Wednesday afternoon that they’ll have a large budget surplus of more than $563 million.

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Gov. Gary Herbert has ordered a state review of protocols regarding school lockdowns following the Parkland, Fla., mass shooting, but is not proposing any new legislation to stem gun violence — pointing instead to societal factors that could be to blame.

Austen Diamond / KUER

Utah’s TV stations could lose some authority to impose non-compete agreements on their employees under a bill approved by lawmakers Wednesday.

Pool photo/Salt Lake Tribune

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert says he might sign a bill to repeal the death penalty if it passes the legislature-a huge pivot for Herbert, who previously supported capital punishment.

Remembering Japanese Internment In The Mountain West

Feb 21, 2018
Courtesy of Mitch Homma, the Homma & Wada Family Collection

In the spring of 1942, official posters went up across the West Coast and Arizona. All people of Japanese ancestry had one week to report to assembly centers. Ultimately, more than 100,000 Japanese-Americans were forcibly imprisoned in internment camps, including nearly 8,000 in the Topaz Camp near Delta, Utah. This week is when we remember those camps and the people who lived in them.

Whittney Evans/KUER

House Speaker Greg Hughes is throwing his weight behind a bill to abolish the death penalty in Utah. He’ll be working over the coming weeks to sway his GOP colleagues.

Nicole Nixon / KUER

Suicide is now the leading cause of death for Utahns aged 10 to 17. After learning that 44 teenagers in Utah died by suicide last year, Gov. Gary Herbert formed a special task force last month.

Austen Diamond / KUER

The Utah Legislature is losing one of the most vocal and outspoken members of its minority caucus. Democratic Sen. Jim Dabakis announced Tuesday he won’t seek re-election at the end of his term this year.

Kelsie Moore / KUER

President Trump has endorsed Mitt Romney for Utah’s open Senate seat. Trump tweeted his support Monday night and called Romney a “worthy successor” to outgoing Sen. Orrin Hatch.

KUER

In our series Hive Mind, listeners ask questions about different topics and KUER reporters try to answer them. This week you asked-how much affordable housing is acceptable and who decides it?

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Utah lawmakers seem ready to waive the fee for inspecting EnergySolutions radioactive landfill. A bill to do that — at the top of the list of legislation that Senators could vote on this week — would have taxpayers covering inspection fees for one of the state’s most generous campaign donors, EnergySolutions.

Austen Diamond / KUER

A bill coming up for debate would make Utah the first state in the nation to allow residents to buy prescription drugs from Canada for less than they cost in the U.S. It’s getting pushback from pharmaceutical companies.

Julia Ritchey / KUER

An ex-wife of former White House staff secretary Rob Porter says she has received a letter of apology from Sen. Orrin Hatch, the Utah Republican who defended his former aide from ``a vile attack'' after two ex-wives accused Porter of domestic abuse.

Nicole Nixon / KUER

Many Utahns were excited when Mitt Romney finally made his candidacy for the seat currently held by retiring Sen. Orrin Hatch official. Ogden resident Paul Henstrom, who voted for Romney for president in 2012, hopes he can be a bridge in a deeply divided Congress. 

Black Panther pounced on the weekend box office, breaking cultural barriers and earning the highest debut ever for a February film, with an estimated three-day domestic gross of $192 million, said Disney, Marvel's parent company.

The opening was the fifth highest-earning of any film, according to Disney. The only other movies that have brought in more are Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Jurassic World and The Avengers, according to The Associated Press.

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The president of Utah State University, Noelle Cockett, held an early morning meeting with students in the music department on Friday. She acknowledged allegations of sexual assault that surfaced online this week involving music faculty and promised an investigation is underway.

Julia Ritchey / KUER

Drones were brought into Gettysburg. A pregnant elk was poached in Zion National Park. And in Yellowstone, commercial snowmobile tour guides encouraged other riders to pass the legal boundary and get up close to the geyser, Old Faithful.

Kelsie Moore / KUER

Mitt Romney launched his political comeback on Friday, announcing a widely anticipated run for Utah's Senate seat. 

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.

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President Trump’s former staff secretary Rob Porter has been all over the news since he resigned from the White House last week. Porter, a Mormon, left his position after his two ex-wives accused him of being physically abusive. It has since been revealed that both of these women confided in their Mormon bishops about the abuse and were encouraged to remain in their relationships.

Courtesy: Elizabeth Hansen

High-school students have been pushing Utah lawmakers for climate action in Utah for more than a year. And, on Thursday, a legislative panel voted to advance a climate-change resolution they helped to draft.

Julia Ritchey / KUER

Utah and Wyoming are getting tough on states that they argue are interfering with coal mining economies. Both states just introduced legislation that would make it easier to legally challenge California and Washington State for their policies on coal exports from the mountain west. 

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.

Utah State House of Representatives

A new lawmaker joined the Utah House of Representatives Wednesday, St. George attorney Travis Seegmiller.

Judy Fahys/KUER News

It sounded sometimes like Rep. Ray Ward, R-Bountiful, was teaching a Climate Change 101 workshop on Tuesday. He asked members of the House Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Committee to focus on a few trends.

Kelsie Moore / KUER

Mitt Romney is postponing a highly anticipated announcement for U.S. Senate after 17 people were killed in a school shooting in South Florida

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