Utah Legislature

Congressman Rob Bishop

  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. 

Utah Education Network

  Utah’s governor says the legislature should be cautious about interfering with a citizen initiative on how candidates for public office are nominated.  

Andrea Smardon

  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.

Bill Would Increase Fees on Clean Vehicles

Feb 10, 2014

  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.

Bill Requiring Cleaner State Fleet Moves Ahead

Feb 5, 2014
Utah Clean Cities

  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.

Judy Fahys

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.”

Andrea Smardon

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.

Lawmakers Unveil Air Quality Bills

Jan 22, 2014
Judy Fahys

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.

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

  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. 

State Funding For Catching Carp in Utah Lake?

Jan 21, 2014
Tammy K. Nakamura Utah Department of Natural Resources

  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.

Wikimedia Commons

  Newer cars are a lot cleaner than older cars, but a member of the Utah Senate would like to make sure the rules for inspecting those older vehicles are being applied fairly.

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.

Utah Lake Commission

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%.

Rep. Jim Nielson Won't Run for a Third Term

Dec 30, 2013
courtesy photo

  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.

Brian Grimmett

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.

Raul Lieberwith

A draft of a bill that would raise the legal smoking age from 19 to 21 received approval from the Health and Human Services Interim Committee today.

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.

Legislative Audit Criticizes USTAR Managment

Oct 16, 2013
University of Utah

  A new legislative audit criticizes the Utah Science, Technology and Research Initiative for poor financial management.  But a University of Utah official says the school has followed the rules with its U-STAR partnership.

Brian Grimmett

House Speaker Becky Lockhart has announced the names of the representatives who will serve on the special committee investigating Utah Attorney General John Swallow.

The state Government Operations interim committee will be taking a look at a bi-partisan proposal Wednesday to put a limit on campaign contributions.

Repeal of HB 155 on Special Session Agenda

Jul 16, 2013
Dan Bammes

  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.

Brian Grimmett

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.

Brian Grimmett

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”

Step 1: Convene the House

Brian Grimmett

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 Salt Lake Tribune (pool photo)

A new poll released by the Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy at Brigham Young University shows that the majority of Utah voters think that Attorney General John Swallow should resign.

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.

Brian Grimmett

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.

Utah officials look to Arkansas for ideas on Medicaid expansion, a state lawmaker’s bill could take children away from murder suspects, and the Utah House of Representatives prepares themselves for the possibility of impeachment proceedings against Attorney General John Swallow.

Brian Grimmett

In response to questions from state lawmakers about the allegations surrounding Utah Attorney General John Swallow, the Utah House Majority leadership is sending out weekly informational emails to legislators while the body considers options for dealing with the embattled public official.

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