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Week 2: Ballot Busters, Lobbyist Lunches & Sen. Mayne

Renee Bright / KUER

It's week 2 at the Utah Legislature and we've already seen several big bills make their way through the House and Senate. On this week's episode, we discuss a few bills in direct conflict with two citizen-led ballot initiatives making their way to voters this fall. We're calling them "Ballot Busters." We also invite a lobbyist to lunch to find out how he wins friends and influences people. And, we try to figure out whether Democrats are becoming the party of "Law & Order" with several proposals to stiffen penalties for crimes. 

Listen wherever you find podcasts, including iTunesStitcher and TuneIn. You can also listen above, and via KUER's mobile app

Bills and Issues Mentioned in this Episode:

  • Rep. Brad Daw has two bills aimed at legalizing medical marijuana for terminally ill patients.
  • Rep. Justin Fawson is trying to give political parties a way out of the S.B. 54 compromise with a bill that would let them choose to be "single-path" or "dual-path"parties.
  • Connor Boyack started the free-market think tank Libertas Institute six years ago. He now spends every session on the hill lobbying. He also creates useful web tools like this Chrome extension that color highlights changes to bills.
  • Must Love Dogs: A new bill to make killing a police K9 a second-degree felony found early support.
  • Democrats are alsopushing billsto broaden the definition of first responder in death penalty cases and a bill that makes failing to assist in an emergency a class B misdemeanor. 

Better Know a Lawmaker: Sen. Karen Mayne (D-West Valley)

Sen. Karen Mayne

Sen. Karen Mayne has represented District 5 since 2008. She serves on the Executive Appropriations Committee and the Senate's Business and Labor, Ethics, and Economic Development and Workforce Services committees. She's also the Senate Minority Whip.

She's a Democrat, but Mayne gets a lot of legislation passed. We talk about how she first became a state senator following the death of her husband, why transportation matters on the west side of the Salt Lake Valley and her true legislative passion: helping working Utahns and their families. 

Have a question for your lawmaker that you want Julia & Nicole to investigate? Submit it here!

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 two 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 intends to continue preaching the gospel of community journalism, public radio and podcasting. In her spare time, you’ll find her hanging with her beagle Bodhi, taking pictures of her food and watching Patrick Swayze movies.
Nicole Nixon holds a Communication degree from the University of Utah. She has worked on and off in the KUER Newsroom since 2013, when she first joined KUER as an intern. Nicole is a Utah native. Besides public radio, she is also passionate about beautiful landscapes and breakfast burritos.
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