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Week 2: Prop 3 Showdown, Education Bills, Data Viz FTW

Renee Bright / KUER

If last week brought the fire, this week brought the fury to Capitol Hill as Republican leaders rushed to pass a scaled-back version of Medicaid expansion in the face of public opposition. Passage, as of this writing, is all but assured and Gov. Gary Herbert says he’s ready to sign the bill, S.B. 96, into law. On this episode, we explain the differences between Prop 3 and the Legislature’s plan, discuss education bills with our reporter Rocio Hernandez and introduce you to a cool website to find out who’s giving your lawmaker campaign cash.

Bills & Issues Mentioned in this Episode:

  • How many people should the state of Utah extend Medicaid coverage to and at what price? Those are the two big questions lawmakers have debated for the first two weeks here, and Erik Neumann breaks down the fight for NPR.
  • From shrinking the state school board to providing more school counselors, lawmakers are busy debating a host of education bills this session — some old, some new.
  • IT professional and 45 Days fan Mark Christensen made a streamlined website where you can see pie charts of financial contributions to your state lawmakers.
  • A bill to raise the legal limit of beer on tap and in grocery stores from 3.2 percent ABW to 4.8 percent got unanimous approval from a Senate committee.
  • A controversial resolution stating that Utah has enough gun laws on its books got a thumbs up in a House Law Enforcement Committee this week, potentially spelling trouble for other gun reform efforts.
  • Rep. Sandra Hollins, D-Salt Lake City, got unanimous approval for her proposal to completely abolish slavery from the Utah constitution.
  • After years of trying, Rep. Carol Spackman Moss, D-Holladay, passed a bill out of committee that would give more teeth to the law against using cell phones while driving.
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.
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.
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