Utah

Brian Grimmett / KUER

Join KUER's team of reporters for a live chat from the Utah State Capitol as we track down the most important stories on the last day of the Utah State Legislature. Join in on the conversation and tell us what you think about this year's legislative session. Let us know what you think, be it  the good, the bad, or the ugly.

Stephen Z CC

As the Utah Legislature considers several bills aimed at changing gun laws we decided to take a look at what the laws in Utah actually say right now and, as equally important, what they don’t.

Who Can Own a Gun?

State Lawmakers considered a handful of firearms bills in committees on Wednesday. About half of the measures reinforce the status quo or make guns more available to Utahns. One bill in particular was met with heated debate.

Brian Grimmett

Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker joined Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell at the State capitol today in announcing their ideas on how government on both the local and state level can help improve air quality.

UDOT

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

Brian Grimmett

 The Utah House Health and Human Services Committee gave a favorable recommendation to a bill that would allow mental health and substance abuse counselors the ability to provide therapy remotely.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar steps down, the Utah Supreme Court puts a hold on the reunion of Terry Achane and his 2-year-old daughter, and Utah women continue to trail their male counterparts in college graduation rates.

U.S. Speedskating

After five months, an investigation into the alleged abuse of U.S. Speedskating team members has finally come to an end.

Brian Grimmett

Members of Utah’s congressional delegation called for more energy development during a panel at the Governor’s Energy Development Summit. But the discussion wasn’t without some push back from local environmental advocacy groups.

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.

Brian Grimmett

A performance by the One Voice Children’s Choir helped mark the inauguration of Gary Herbert to his first full term as Governor. The ceremony also included performances from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and a 19 gun salute by the Utah National Guard. In his inaugural address Herbert refrained from making any strong political statements. Instead he urged everyone to keep pressing forward while praising the “can-do” attitude of state residents both past and present.

Brian Grimmett

Kara Arnold, or as she is better known, Miss Utah, will head to Las Vegas next week to compete for a chance to become Miss America. But before she hits the bright lights of the Vegas Strip she spent the past year traveling across Utah to promote the importance of science education.

The Salt Lake Tribune names its Utahns of the Year, Several Utah cities designate city parks as Christmas Tree drop off zones, and the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance moves forward with a lawsuit against the Bureau of Land Management.

Gun transactions are rarely blocked in Utah due to mental illness, the child poverty rate in the state is on the rise, and speed kills on I-80.

The Granite school district police department has pressed charges against an 11-year-old Kearns boy who brought a gun to school yesterday. The charges include one count of possession of a firearm and three counts of aggravated assault. Granite school district spokesman Ben Horsley says the gun was found in the boys backpack after two of his fellow students reported it to their teacher. The boy insists that he brought the gun to school to protect himself from a Connecticut style school shooting. Horsley says while it’s a legitimate concern it’s never an appropriate action.

Utah Legislature

The Utah Republican party is welcoming former Democratic state representative Christine Watkins with open arms after her recent decision to join the GOP. Watkins, who has served her district near Price for four years, was considered a conservative democrat in the legislature and often sided with Republicans on issues like energy development. Utah Republican Party Chairman Thomas Wright says those shared values are some of the reasons why Watkins decided to make the switch.

Utah Facing Tough New Air Quality Regulations

Dec 4, 2012
Dan Bammes

The Utah Air Quality Board will meet tomorrow to look at a new set of state regulations aimed at cleaning up winter air pollution.  The new rules would impose stricter standards in Cache County as well as the Wasatch Front.  The new plan has to meet standards set by the U-S Environmental Protection Agency, with federal highway funding at risk if it fails.

Alexander Weisman

Count on Utah entertainers of all types to crank up the Christmas volume after Thanksgiving. Dan Nailen gives us the rundown for today and the coming weeks.

Pioneer Theater Company's production with a twist.

KUER News Pod: Tuesday November 27, 2012

Nov 27, 2012

The University of Utah announces changes to their admission policy, the Utah Division of Air Quality cracks down on wood burning stoves, and the state officially certifies all election results.

Park City Mountain Resort

A Third District Court ruling has cleared the way for two Park City ski resorts to head to trial over a disputed land lease. Their ruling, released on Tuesday, says that Park City Mountain Resort did in fact fail to renew their lease of the land owned by Talisker Corporation before it expired on April 20, 2011. While the court also dismissed several of the other actions Park City Mountain Resort brought against Talisker, it left the door open for the case to be taken to trial. Alan Sullivan, the lawyer representing Park City Mountain Resort, says that’s just what his client plans to do.

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.

KUER News Pod: Tuesday November 20, 2012

Nov 20, 2012

Governor Herbert sends a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the “Tar Sands Monster” pays a visit to downtown Salt Lake City, and the Utah State Board of Regents OK’s a policy change that could increase college tuition for those who drag their feet.

KUER News Pod: Monday November 19, 2012

Nov 19, 2012

The U.S. Interior Department triggers a high-flow release at Glen Canyon Dam, Dixie State College continues its search for a new name, and the Utah Shakespeare Festival receives its largest cash donation ever.

KUER News Pod: Thursday November 15, 2012

Nov 15, 2012

The state Legislature discusses a proposal to fix the state’s data security issues, the governor’s public lands policy coordinator says a lot more study needs to be done before taking over federal lands, and Salt Lake City conducts a community food assessment.

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.

KUER News Pod: Wednesday November 14, 2012

Nov 14, 2012


Department of Workforce Services

The Utah Housing and Community Development Division says while they saw an overall increase in the number of people who experienced homelessness in 2012 their efforts to end chronic homelessness by 2014 is right on track. That number decreased by almost 10 percent last year and is down 72 percent since 2005. Housing and Community Services director Gordon Walker says while it’s a complicated problem, they’ve found success in providing permanent housing with limited restrictions.

Homeless Veterans in Salt Lake City now have a better chance to get into a warm place to live just as winter weather approaches. The VA Salt Lake City Health Care System along the Housing Authority of Salt Lake City dedicated the new 72 room Valor House today. The Director of the Utah Division of Housing and Community Development, Gordon Walker, says the state is very close to serving every veteran’s needs for transitional and permanent housing and on track to end homelessness in Utah with the 10-year plan. US Navy Veteran Dawn Hemphill is a former homeless drug addict.

Utah Governor

Republican Gary Herbert secured his second term in office last night, breezing past Democrat Peter Cooke by more than 36,000 votes.

Just before 11 pm, General Peter Cooke arrived unexpectedly at GOP headquarters to congratulate Governor Gary Herbert on his win. Cooke said he tried calling the governor first but he didn’t pick up. Cooke later returned to the Democratic headquarters to concede, saying Utahns need to continue fighting for education.

Courtesy of the Utah Attorney General's Office

Next week voters will choose the next chief law enforcement officer for the state of Utah. The Attorney General is part criminal prosecutor – part political adviser and the two candidates vying for the job have very different ideas on how to do it right. 

Inside his office on the second floor of the state capitol, Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff says he’s ready to move on.  The 55-year-old Republican has held the job of the state’s chief legal advisor for 12 years and he’s proud of his efforts to protect Utahn’s while also navigating the political pitfalls of the job.

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