Leaders of the Count My Vote ballot initiative appeared with legislative leaders at a rare Sunday news conference to announce a compromise on the effort to replace Utah’s caucus-convention system for nominating political candidates.
The deal preserves the caucus system, but it also allows candidates to get on a primary election ballot by gathering voter signatures on a petition – from one thousand for a legislative seat to 28-thousand for a statewide office such as governor.
Utah’s 1st District Congressman is hoping he can claim a key committee chairmanship that would give Utah a significant advantage in Congress. That was one of the messages Republican Rob Bishop brought to the Utah legislature today.
A Utah Senate committee voted down a bill Friday that would have kept medical incinerators at least five miles away from homes.
Senate Bill 64 would have increased fines for air quality violations by medical waste incinerators, increased the length of time allowed for investigating violations and imposed a five-mile buffer between homes and any medical waste incinerator in the state.
Electric cars, hybrid cars and vehicles powered by natural gas would pay dramatically higher registration fees under a bill in the Utah State Senate. Republican Senator Wayne Harper of West Jordan says vehicles that don’t use gasoline or diesel fuel need to pay their fair share to maintain Utah’s roads.
A report done for the Utah legislature shows the social problems associated with alcohol are decreasing. But the legislator behind the report says it would be hard to justify changes in Utah’s liquor laws based just on the report’s findings.
A bill that requires the state to use high-efficiency, low-polluting vehicles in its own fleet got strong support in the Utah State Senate this morning.
Senate Bill 99 originally required the state to use compressed natural gas vehicles for half its fleet by 2018. But Republican Senator Scott Jenkins changed it to allow vehicles that use low-sulfur Tier 3 gasoline. Jenkins says the people who run the state motor pool say it would accomplish the same goal for a lot less money.
Nine 4th graders from Angie Blomquist's class at Monroe Elementary in Sevier County traveled to the Capitol to testify on behalf of their bill to change the state tree to the quaking aspen. They posed with State Forester Brian Cottam, who also spoke in favor of the bill.
A group of concerned school kids made their way to the Utah State Capitol Tuesday to ask lawmakers to change one of the state’s symbols.
Fourth-grade lobbyists say Utah needs a new state tree. Members of Mrs. Blomquist’s class from Monroe Elementary in Sevier County pressed their case at the Capitol. Nine of the students told senators why the Colorado blue spruce should make way for the quaking aspen.
“The quaking aspen is self-pruning,” said Neomi Avery, “They take care of themselves just like Utah citizens.”
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.
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.
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 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.
A Republican state representative is proposing a gas tax increase this year. The Utah legislature has not passed a fuel tax increase in more than 15 years, but Representative Jim Nielson of Bountiful argues the roads need funding, and those who use them should be the ones who pay. Republicans as a rule don’t like to do be associated with tax increases, but Nielson insists raising taxes on gasoline is a conservative idea.
The Utah Lake Commission thinks it can finish the job of reducing the carp in the lake if it can get some help from the Utah legislature.
For years, the Utah Lake Commission has been paying a commercial fisherman to remove thousands of tons of carp from Utah Lake. But it’s asking for $7.5 million from the state to help reach its goal of reducing the carp population by 75%.
State Representative Jim Nielson says he won’t be running for a third term.
In three legislative sessions, the Republican from Bountiful earned a reputation as a conservative in a House that’s pretty conservative already. As he prepares for his final session, Nielson says it’s likely lawmakers will be looking at ways to address the same-sex marriage issue – perhaps by getting government entirely out of the marriage business.
Utah Governor Gary Herbert released his 2015 budget proposal today at Utah Valley University in Orem and its main focus is on increased education funding.
For the 2015 fiscal year the Governor’s office of Management and Budget projects the state will receive $338 million dollars in new money. Governor Herbert’s proposal calls for more than 75% of it to go towards education.
Sponsors of the bill say that raising the age limit would help prevent younger teenagers from starting smoking. The Senate sponsor, Republican Stuart Reid, says the change would also promote better public health.
One of the items on the agenda of Wednesday’s special legislative session is the possible repeal of a controversial bill restricting the authority of federal law enforcement officers. KUER’s Dan Bammes has more.
House Bill 155 limits the authority of Bureau of Land Management or Forest Service personnel to enforce state laws on public land, and threatens them with prosecution if they try it. A federal court has issued an injunction preventing the state from implementing the law.
House Speaker Becky Lockhart says she will announce on Wednesday the names of the people she’s appointed to the special investigative committee of Utah Attorney General John Swallow. In the meantime, Utah House Democrats are left waiting anxiously to see what kind of role, if any, they’ll play in the investigation.
The Utah House of Representatives will begin an investigation into Attorney General John Swallow on July 3rd. While it IS NOT the beginning of impeachment proceedings, the results of the investigation could push them in that direction. But what does it mean to impeach someone, and how do you do it? Well, here’s a step-by-step guide. “How To Impeach a State Officer”
The Utah House Republican Caucus voted today to convene the entire body and create an investigative committee to look into the allegations surrounding Utah Attorney General John Swallow. They decided not to start impeachment proceedings at this time.
The Great Salt Lake Council threatens a local scout leader with expulsion over marching in the Utah Pride Parade, Utah House Democrats want to be included in any impeachment decision, and a man is shot while attending a service at an Ogden Catholic Church.
Democrats in the legislature call for an investigation into Attorney General John Swallow, three candidates file to challenge Cottonwood Heights first and only mayor, and Utah’s fire season is shaping up to be another difficult one.
Utah Senate Democrats are calling on House and Senate leadership to authorize a committee to investigate the allegations brought against Attorney General John Swallow.
Senate Minority leader Gene Davis says the call for an investigation isn’t about impeachment. That’s a process left for the Utah House to begin. But he does say it’s in the interest of open government and the integrity of our elected officials to find the truth.