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Week 4: Halfway Update, Sodas With The Beer Lobby & State Flag Or S.O.B.?

Renee Bright / KUER

We’re more than halfway through the legislative session and bills are chuggin’ along. In this week’s episode, we update you on the status of various bills dealing with social issues including hate crimes, abortion, guns and LGBTQ protections. We grab (nonalcoholic) drinks with the beer lobby to talk about their push for heavier brews in grocery stores. And we ask: Why do people care about flags so much?

Bills & Issues Mentioned in this Episode:

  • A measure to strengthen the state’s hate crimes law received unanimous support in its first public hearing since the LDS Church said it would not oppose the bill.
  • Two Republican lawmakers stood alongside LGBTQ advocates Thursday and unveiled a bill to ban conversion therapy — a controversial form of therapy that purports to change a person’s sexuality — for minors.
  • A pair of measures to restrict abortions in Utah are moving through the legislature even as other states like New York and Virginia are expanding access to the procedure.
  • A handful of bills dealing with guns — including one motivated by the death of University of Utah student Lauren McCluskey — got a hearing with mixed support.
  • The LDS Church opposes a bill to raise the alcohol limit for beer sold in grocery and convenience stores. Will that affect the bill’s chances? We spoke to a lobbyist behind the push to find out
  • Two lawmakers think Utah’s “S.O.B. (seal on a bedsheet)” flag needs a makeover, but a hearing over their proposals highlight just how difficult it will be to find consensus on a new flag.
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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