The managing director of the Utah Office of Tourism, Leigh von der Esch is retiring after more the 28 years of public service. Spencer Eccles, executive director of the Governor's Office of Economic Development says von der Esch's dedication to promoting Utah is unmatched.
"At the core of Leigh von der Esch you have a deep commitment and a deep passion for the state and for promoting the state and all of its grandeur. And all of the incredible characteristics, the diversity of the culture and of the landscape," said Eccles.
Salt Lake County Mayor-Elect Ben McAdams is already implementing changes to the government structure. Thursday he announced he will reorganize the Department of Public Works and appoint two people to oversee it. It’s now called the Department of Public Works and Regional Development. McAdams has named Taylorsville Mayor Russ Wall as the department’s director and Patrick Leary will fill a new position to called Township Executive. McAdams says the two men will help meet the diverse needs of county residents.
With 67 votes in the second round of voting, Utah’s Democratic Party Chairman, Jim Dabakis, narrowly beat outgoing Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon in the special election for Utah’s 2nd Senate district. Dabakis will replace Senator Ben McAdams who is leaving with two years left in his term after winning the election for Salt Lake County Mayor.
Democratic candidates for Utah’s vacant senate seat square off in their only debate, the Utah Supreme Court finds parts of Utah’s adoption laws “constitutionally defective,” and Utah students get a new standardized test.
Legislative leaders made 16 thousand pages of documents related to redistricting available online Friday. Earlier this year, leaders in the Utah Democratic Party requested all documents related to 2012 redistricting process. It’s the largest legislative records request in state history and earned them a more than 15 thousand dollar bill the legislature refused to waive. Democrats then refused to pay the bill in full and filed a lawsuit in the third district court over the matter.
Governor Gary Herbert plans to send a letter to the US Department of Health and Human Services Friday declaring the state’s intentions on its health insurance exchange. Up until now, the Governor’s Office has not said whether the state will update its existing exchange, Avenue H, to meet requirements of the Affordable Care Act - or let the feds create their own exchange in the state. But Utah’s Health Reform Implementation Coordinator Norman Thurston says the letter doesn’t commit the state to anything.
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.