Julia Ritchey | KUER 90.1

Julia Ritchey

MANAGING EDITOR

Julia joined KUER in 2016 after a year reporting at the NPR member station in Reno, Nev. During her stint, she covered battleground politics, school overcrowding, and any story that would take her to the crystal blue shores of Lake Tahoe. Her work earned her three regional Edward R. Murrow awards. Originally from the mountains of Western North Carolina, Julia graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2008 with a degree in journalism. She’s worked as both a print and radio reporter in several states and several countries — from the 2008 Beijing Olympics to Dakar, Senegal. Her curiosity about the American West led her to take a spontaneous, one-way road trip to the Great Basin, where she continues to preach the gospel of community journalism, public radio and podcasting. 

Ways to Connect

Nicole Nixon / KUER

Recent gains by Democrats in special elections across the country have some Republicans worried about an anti-Trump wave come November. In Utah, a solidly red state, that looks less likely, but it hasn't stopped Democrats from fielding more candidates for statewide races.

Austen Diamond / KUER

Senate President Wayne Niederhauser has announced his retirement from state government, joining a mass exodus of longtime lawmakers from the Utah Legislature.

KUER

That's a wrap! The Legislature passed 534 bills this session, just one bill shy of their record during the 2017 session, and left hundreds more behind. Here are the highlights, plus a conversation with Gov. Gary Herbert.

Austen Diamond / KUER

 

The 2018 Utah Legislature drew to a close on Thursday night, wrapping up their 45 day annual session with a $16.7 billion budget that increases funding for education, overhauls public transit and continues the fight against homelessness.

Julia Ritchey / KUER

The Utah lawmaker behind a controversial plan to rename a highway after President Trump quietly withdrew his proposal after facing criticism.

Julia Ritchey / KUER

Utah’s Republican majority is pushing through some last-minute changes to laws that could complicate this year’s general election.

Julia Ritchey / KUER

A coalition of tribal groups and House Democrats are calling on the state to give Native Americans a better seat at the table when making policy decisions.

Austen Diamond / KUER

Utah lawmakers are putting up a big yield sign in front of six citizen-led ballot initiatives. A bill to delay the effective dates of voter-approved referendums cleared the House on Monday in a dramatic late-night vote.

Austen Diamond / KUER

State lawmakers unveiled a funding compromise Tuesday that could sidestep a ballot initiative to raise money for schools.

Julia Ritchey / KUER

A bill died in committee Monday that would’ve allowed courts to temporarily take away firearms from people who pose an extreme risk — legislation introduced just after the Parkland, Fla., shooting.

 

KUER

Now, this is the story all about how Week 6 of the Legislature got flipped-turned upside down? Utah's beatboxing lawmakers are gearing up for their final spurt to the finish line with several big items still left on Republican leaders' to-do list. Notably, two proposals to add work requirements to Medicaid, the federal low-income health care program, are racing through the chambers as we speak. One lawmaker is also getting support for a last-minute bill to establish a "red flag" law to confiscate guns from people who pose a credible threat to public safety. The Legislature is also doing some Arnold Schwarzenegger-level flexing of power over a number of entities, including cities, the executive branch and — albeit unsuccessfully — the press. 

Whittney Evans / KUER

Utah lawmakers are pushing forward with a measure to motivate cities around the state to either build more affordable housing and homeless shelters, or help shoulder the cost of them in other communities.

Austen Diamond / KUER

House lawmakers quickly dropped an idea to restrict journalists from the chamber floor this week — a proposal met with immediate backlash by most local news organizations.

Bob Nelson

Two people are charged with forgery and violations of state petition procedures under Utah's election code.

Austen Diamond / KUER

Since Monday, state lawmakers have introduced legislation that would expand health care for low-income earners, impose new taxes and create a new inland port in Salt Lake City.

Austen Diamond / KUER

House lawmakers are debating rule changes that would restrict press access, eliminate notes on the constitutionality of bills, and allow the Legislature to call itself into a special session.

Julia Ritchey / KUER

The Utah Republican Party passed a new bylaw that would target candidates who gather signatures to get on the primary ballot.

Austen Diamond / KUER

Utah lawmakers are acting with a renewed sense of urgency following the Feb. 14 school shooting in Florida. At least two new proposals to prevent gun violence are being floated at the Legislature.

Julia Ritchey / KUER

Bipartisan measures aimed at making sure the state is getting its fair share from the federal government sailed through the Legislature this week.

KUER

 

Nothing in this world is certain but death and taxes, and legislators are tackling both in Week 5 of the session. This week we talk with reporter Whittney Evans about some surprise backers of a new death penalty repeal effort. We also look at the state's big budget surplus and try to divine what lawmakers might do with all that extra scratch. The Utah Legislature's bluest member Sen. Jim Dabakis announces he's done after this session, joining several other incumbents on their way out the door, like Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck, our featured guest on 'Better Know a Lawmaker.'

istock

Gov. Gary Herbert has ordered a state review of protocols regarding school lockdowns following the Parkland, Fla., mass shooting, but is not proposing any new legislation to stem gun violence — pointing instead to societal factors that could be to blame.

Austen Diamond / KUER

The Utah Legislature is losing one of the most vocal and outspoken members of its minority caucus. Democratic Sen. Jim Dabakis announced Tuesday he won’t seek re-election at the end of his term this year.

KUER

This week lawmakers paused to honor the 17 lives lost in a school shooting in Parkland, Fla. But the latest school violence is unlikely to persuade Republican leaders to propose any big changes to gun laws this session. Meanwhile, a committee finally approved something close to a resolution acknowledging climate change without actually using the phrase "climate change." We also talk about some air quality bills and medical marijuana. Rep. Steve Eliason joins us on 'Better Know A Lawmaker' and explains how he's tackling Utah's youth suicide problem. 

Julia Ritchey / KUER

Utah lawmakers aren’t poised to make any sweeping changes to gun laws in the wake of another fatal school shooting in the U.S.

Julia Ritchey / KUER

Utah is one step closer to sending a new statue to Washington, D.C., to display at the U.S. Capitol. The Utah House on Wednesday agreed to send a statue of Martha Hughes Cannon, the nation’s first female state senator.

KUER

Every legislative session a few bills pop up that generate a lot of buzz, but never quite make it to the finish line. For the last few years, that has been the case with proposed legislation to toughen the state's penalties for hate crimes. So what invisible forces propel some bills while squashing others? Some critics say it's the Mormon Church, whose membership includes almost 90 percent of the Utah Legislature. Others say their influence is overstated. And then there's Steve Urquhart, a former Republican state senator from St. George, who observed this phenomenon firsthand.

Julia Ritchey / KUER

Utah has historically had one of the largest gender wage gaps in the country, but a bill that would’ve researched wage disparities among state employees faced a chilly reception from male lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

iStock

A House bill to allow the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food to grow cannabis for medical and research purposes passed by the narrowest of margins Tuesday.

Google Maps

Tesla’s Model S is the top selling electric vehicle in the U.S., but Utahns hoping to get their hands on one have been out of luck thanks to an obscure state law. That's why a Utah lawmaker is bringing back a bill that would allow the California-based automaker to sell its cars directly.

Austen Diamond / KUER

The Utah House of Representatives is reinforcing a key provision of Utah’s "Stand Your Ground” law, the controversial statute that allows armed individuals to use lethal force in self-defense.

Pages