Utah Legislature

Andrea Smardon

As Utahns persist through one of the worst winter inversion seasons in a decade, many have focused their frustration and anger over dirty air on elected officials in the Utah legislature.  In part two of our series Clearing the Air, KUER News explores the  short and long term solutions lawmakers are proposing.

A bill extending protection to victims of dating violence advanced in the Utah house today. HB 50, sponsored by Minority Leader Jennifer Seelig was met with heated opposition on the house floor. 

Utah courts are becoming stronger, more efficient and more transparent according to newly-appointed Utah Supreme Court Chief Justice Matthew Durrant. Durrant gave the annual State of the Judiciary to lawmakers this afternoon on day one of the 2013 legislative session. 

Chief Justice Durrant touted the high court's ability to handle a 10 percent cut in staff during the recession. In the face of reductions, the court system was able to reduce the age of pending cases by 34 percent, meaning cases are being resolved faster.

Utah House of Representatives

The Utah legislature opens its general session on Monday with a lot of new faces.  21 out of 75 members of the Utah House of Representatives are serving their first terms, along with 4 out of the 29 members of the state Senate.  Republicans still far outnumber Democrats.  In fact, there are only 14 Democrats left in the House.  But among those new Republican members, there could be a few more moderate voices.  KUER's Dan Bammes spoke to a couple of new members of the House from Utah County.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Lobbying at the Utah State Legislature
David Spatafore, Spatafore Consulting Group

Click here for more information about the Hinckley Institute of Politics Forums at the University of Utah.

Past Hinckley forums can be found here.

Utah's New Auditor Promises Closer Scrutiny

Jan 7, 2013
courtesy photo

John Dougall will be sworn in this morning as Utah's new state auditor as business opens for the day.  He won't be on the platform with Governor Gary Herbert or the other state officials during Monday's inauguration ceremony.  Dougall is a former Republican state legislator from northern Utah County who won the auditor's job after defeating the incumbent, Austen Johnson, in a primary election last summer.  He's promising to bring some fresh energy to the job.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Paul Rolly, Columnist, The Salt Lake Tribune

Click here for more information about the Hinckley Institute of Politics Forums at the University of Utah.

Past Hinckley forums can be found here.

Andrea Smardon

Two bins of documents related to Utah’s controversial redistricting process remain hidden from the public.  That’s mainly because Utah’s Democratic Party is refusing to pay thousands of dollars to let them go.  The legislature’s Records Committee put off a decision Monday on whether to waive the fee for the records request.  The committee decided it needs more information to determine whether the request primarily serves the public or the Democratic party. 

Since the Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act, governors in four states have declared they will not expand Medicaid. Utah is currently undecided. State lawmakers met Tuesday to review the Supreme Court’s decision - and Utah’s options.

Republican Representative James Dunnigan of Taylorsville is chair of the state’s Health System Reform Task Force. He says the expansion of Medicaid is a big policy decision for Utah, and lawmakers are still gathering information. 

Andrea Smardon

State lawmakers have given the green light to 90 new liquor licenses for restaurants in Utah.  It was one of the issues decided in a special session Wednesday called by Governor Gary Herbert. 

President of the Utah Restaurant Association Melva Sine says these new licenses will be snapped up fast, and were needed for the industry to continue to grow in Utah.

“We have a critical issue here, and they’ve addressed it in the best way possible in the shortest amount of time possible, so we’re happy with that,” said Sine.

Andrea Smardon

Utah Lawmakers were able to find the funds necessary to fill a $25 million gap in Utah’s education budget that officials failed to catch during the 2012 legislative session. The House and Senate voted unanimously, during a special session of the legislature Wednesday to approve adjustments to next year’s budget.

 

Utah Governor Gary Herbert announced on Monday that he’s calling a special legislative session to begin Wednesday. He plans to tackle a number of issues that include education funding and  the shortage of liquor licenses available in the state.

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