politics

LDS Democrats

LDS Democrats, the largest caucus in the Utah Democratic Party has a launched a new billboard campaign aimed at Mormon swing-voters.

The billboards focus on education, poverty and LDS scripture. One billboard criticizes Utah’s position in the nation for per pupil spending in public education. It reads quote, “Our children deserve better than last place.” End quote.

One billboard states simply Mosiah 4, referring to the LDS scripture that State Representative and Mormon Democrat Brian King says highlights the churches’ focus on service, giving and reserving judgment. 

Utah Republican Party Chairman Thomas Wright announced today that he will not seek re-election when the state GOP meets in May. 

A gay rights organization takes on Utah’s Amendment 3, Salt Lake County expands their small business loan program, and Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love could be gearing up for a rematch with Congressman Jim Matheson.

Brian Grimmett

Dixie State College is now one signature away from officially becoming Dixie State University after receiving approval from the Utah state legislature.

UDOT

The speed limit on several sections of Utah’s interstate highways could soon be increased to 80 miles per hour.

Spring City Corporation

Officials in Spring City, Utah are considering an ordinance that would encourage every homeowner to own a gun.

Spring City Councilman Neil Sorensen came up with the original idea that would have made owning a gun mandatory. But after discussion the city council quickly decided doing so would be too complicated, so they changed the language of the ordinance. Sorensen says he hopes the ordinance will make criminals think twice before attempting a home invasion.

Governor Gary Herbert is sworn into office for his first full term, new Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams holds an inauguration ceremony of his own, and environmental groups show concern over the acquisition of EnergySolutions.

Governor Gary Herbert is sworn into his first full term, newly elected State Auditor John Dougall sits down and talks with KUER’s Dan Bammes, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services gives conditional approval to Utah’s health exchange.

chirsstewartforcongress.com

In response to almost 200 teachers participating in a free concealed carry course offered on Thursday, Republican Congressman-elect Christ Stewart says he’s for the idea, as long as the individual and school district are on board.

Stewart says when he gets to congress he’s going to do what he can to protect 2nd amendment rights. And while he doesn’t think all teachers should have to carry a gun, he says it’s not necessarily a bad idea.

Office of Economic Development

The managing director of the Utah Office of Tourism, Leigh von der Esch is retiring after more the 28 years of public service. Spencer Eccles, executive director of the Governor's Office of Economic Development says von der Esch's dedication to promoting Utah is unmatched.

"At the core of Leigh von der Esch you have a deep commitment and a deep passion for the state and for promoting the state and all of its grandeur. And all of the incredible characteristics, the diversity of the culture and of the landscape," said Eccles.

Terry Gildea

Salt Lake County Mayor-Elect Ben McAdams is already implementing changes to the government structure. Thursday he announced he will reorganize the Department of Public Works and appoint two people to oversee it. It’s now called the Department of Public Works and Regional Development. McAdams has named Taylorsville Mayor Russ Wall as the department’s director and Patrick Leary will fill a new position to called Township Executive. McAdams says the two men will help meet the diverse needs of county residents.

U.S. Census Bureau

Child Poverty in Utah is on the rise according to the latest information released by the U.S. Census Bureau today.

Brian Grimmett

With 67 votes in the second round of voting, Utah’s Democratic Party Chairman, Jim Dabakis, narrowly beat outgoing Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon in the special election for Utah’s 2nd Senate district. Dabakis will replace Senator Ben McAdams who is leaving with two years left in his term after winning the election for Salt Lake County Mayor.

KUER News Pod: Wednesday November 28, 2012

Nov 28, 2012

Democratic candidates for Utah’s vacant senate seat square off in their only debate, the Utah Supreme Court finds parts of Utah’s adoption laws “constitutionally defective,” and Utah students get a new standardized test.

U.S. House of Representatives

Official results from county canvasses released today show that Jim Matheson maintained his victory over Mia Love in the Utah 4th congressional district race.

Utah Legislature Releases Redistricting Documents

Nov 16, 2012

Legislative leaders made 16 thousand pages of documents related to redistricting available online Friday. Earlier this year, leaders in the Utah Democratic Party requested all documents related to 2012 redistricting process. It’s the largest legislative records request in state history and earned them a more than 15 thousand dollar bill the legislature refused to waive. Democrats then refused to pay the bill in full and filed a lawsuit in the third district court over the matter.

Governor Gary Herbert plans to send a letter to the US Department of Health and Human Services Friday declaring the state’s intentions on its health insurance exchange. Up until now, the Governor’s Office has not said whether the state will update its existing exchange, Avenue H, to meet requirements of the Affordable Care Act - or let the feds create their own exchange in the state. But Utah’s Health Reform Implementation Coordinator Norman Thurston says the letter doesn’t commit the state to anything.

The state Health and Human Services interim committee unanimously supported draft legislation Wednesday aimed at fixing problems related to the state’s Medicaid data breach that left more than 800 thousand Utahn’s personal information vulnerable.

Salt Lake County

Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon endorsed the Regional Park and Trails bond today during an open house at the Northwest Recreation center. If approved, The Regional Park and Trails bond, or Proposition #1, authorizes the county to issue a $47 million dollar bond. The money would be used to help finish the Jordan River Parkway Trail, Parley’s Trail, and build three new regional parks. Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon says the benefits of approving the proposition far outweigh the property tax increase.

Emotions are running high in Millcreek Township, as residents make final appeals to voters who are undecided on whether or not to become a city. This morning residents who oppose incorporation gathered near a street corner on 2300 east to address some looming financial problems they see with the proposal. But they weren’t alone, as residents who support it gathered close by. 

Democratic Congressman Jim Matheson is once again attacking opponent Mia Love’s proposed budget cuts and this time it’s over special education grants.

State legislators debated the merits of creating training courses for parents on how to teach sex education to their children Wednesday during the Education Interim committee meeting.

Senator Orrin Hatch was absent from last night’s U.S. Senate Debate in Bountiful, where Democratic Candidate Scott Howell challenged the 36 year incumbent to defend his record.

Howell, Independent Senate Candidate Bill Barron, Constitution party candidate Shaun McCausland debated social security reform, the nation’s debt ceiling and a constitutional amendment requiring congress to pass a budget, and trade. McCausland argued the U.S. can easily avoid outsourcing jobs caused by free trade policies.

Special interest groups from Utah and other states gathered Thursday to voice their concerns over the corporate-lobbyist group, ALEC. The American Legislative Exchange Council is currently hosting their 39th annual conference in Salt Lake City through Saturday.

This week the American Legislative Exchange Council or ALEC, will hold its four day conference at the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City. But the group isn't without those who oppose their agenda and plan to protest the meeting.

Utah's members of the U.S. House of Representatives vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the state of Utah accuses a major oil company of double dipping, and the state forester bans target shooting in parts of four counties.

KUER News has a new twitter account (@KUERnews) and yesterday's special session of the Utah Legislature proved to be a great way to break it in. We sent three reporters to the capitol and throughout the day they took advantage of twitter to keep you updated.

Sen. John Valentine
Andrea Smardon

Updated 2:40 PM 6/20/2012

Utah may be getting 90 new liquor licenses. The State Legislature is expected to vote this afternoon on a bill that would allow 50 full-service and 40 limited-service restaurants to obtain licenses. The amendment to the Alcohol Beverage Control Act, sponsored by Senator John Valentine, was presented to the Business and Labor interim committee this morning. Representative Don Ipson urged the committee to approve it. 

Governor Herbert calls legislators back for a special session, Utahns get the opportunity to weigh in on their health coverage, and four former GOP congressional candidates file a complaint with the Federal Election Commission. Those stories and more in today's KUER News Pod.

Partisanship, Barriers Lower Utah Voter Turnout

Jun 18, 2012
Utah Foundation

Voter turnout in Utah has dropped dramatically in recent elections, and a new study by the Utah Foundation looks at some of the reasons why.

In the presidential election of 1992, 67% of Utah's registered voters took part, while only about 50% turned out in 2008.  A study by the non-partisan Utah Foundation suggests fewer close races and barriers to voter participation such as the state's closed Republican primary could be among the reasons.  Research director Morgan Lyon Cotti says the strident partisanship of recent years also plays a part.

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