Sonja Hutson | KUER 90.1

Sonja Hutson

Reporter

Sonja Hutson is a politics and government reporter at KUER. She’s been reporting on politics ever since the 10th grade, when she went to so many school board meetings the district set up a press table for her. Before coming to Utah, Sonja spent four years at KQED in San Francisco where she covered everything from wildfires to the tech industry. When she’s not working, you can find her skiing, camping, or deeply invested in a 1000 piece puzzle.

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Man wearing a black t-shirt walking across a residential street carrying a clipboard
Courtesy of Todd Weiler

Videos of a man wearing a “Huntsman 2020” shirt appearing to go door-to-door collecting signatures surfaced Tuesday night, but former Gov. Jon Huntsman’s gubernatorial campaign said it had suspended door-to-door activities. 

Photo of the entrance of a new shelter.
Rocio Hernandez / KUER

People experiencing homelessness are at an increased risk for complications from coronavirus because their underlying medical conditions often go untreated. 

Photo of a woman in a blue dress standing behind a podium with microphones
Sonja Hutson / KUER

As people start to stay inside to slow the spread of coronavirus, Salt Lake City businesses have begun to feel it. In fact, 76% of Salt Lake City businesses have lost more than a tenth of their revenue due to the outbreak, according to a survey from the city. That impact is likely to grow after a Salt Lake County order banning dining in at restaurants goes into effect at 11 p.m. Monday. 

Photo of the Utah state capitol building at night
Brian Albers / KUER

Utah's legislative session wrapped up Thursday night. Lawmakers passed a $20 billion budget and 510 bills over the past 45 days. 

Photo of the Utah Capitol building at night
Brian Albers / KUER

The Utah Legislature wrapped up its 2020 legislative session Thursday night — defined by big changes to education funding, debates over abortion bills and polygamy, a global pandemic and a tight general fund that left many bills unfunded. 

Photo of a legislative chamber, with people sitting at rows of wooden desks.
Sonja Hutson / KUER

A bill banning all elective abortions, if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, passed the Utah Legislature Thursday after the House of Representatives approved it 51-21.

Photo of a white sign with a drawing of a handshake with a red line through it.
Sonja Hutson / KUER

Updated 4:12 p.m. MST 3/12/2020

When Rep. Melissa Ballard, R-North Salt Lake City, started working on a bill to expand telehealth services last year, she was focused on making it easier for people to get treatment for things like eye infections and rashes. 

Photo of a building with the 'Bail Bonds' painted on the windows
KUER File Photo

A bill aimed at easing Utah’s reliance on its cash bail system passed the state Legislature Wednesday.

Utahns seeking abortions would have to undergo an ultrasound while the person performing that ultrasound describes the fetal images, under a bill passed by the state Senate Tuesday. 

Photo of Utah Senate floor from above.
Austen Diamond for KUER

Often when someone seeks help for a mental health crisis, they’re taken in an ambulance to an emergency room. Mental health advocates, like Ginger Phillips, said that experience can be traumatic and make the crisis worse. 

Photo of a person holding an e-cigarette and exhaling vapor.
Lindsay Fox / Pixabay

A bill aimed at cracking down on teen vaping in Utah died in a committee hearing Monday. 

Photo of the Utah State Seal.
Cory Dinter for KUER

Courts around the country have handed down big wins for anti-abortion laws the past several years. Many conservative states, including Utah, have used those cases to pursue similar laws. This year, three major abortion bills are working their way through the Utah legislature, all based on recent court decisions or an anticipated court decisions. 

Photo of Sen. Jake Anderegg.
Cory Dinter for KUER

More information about what goes on in Utah’s jails and prison could become public information, if the state legislature passes a series of transparency bills. 

Photo of flags at the Utah State Capitol building
Cory Dinter / KUER

The state Legislature’s draft budget includes big wins for education and mental health programs, as well as money to increase state employee salaries. 

Photo of Utah Capitol.
Austen Diamond for KUER

The Utah legislature wants to expand what the state can spend money earmarked for education on to include programs that support children and people with disabilities. But it will take a constitutional amendment to do so.

Photo of the inside of the Utah Capitol building.
KUER file

There’s less than a week left in Utah’s legislative session, which means lawmakers are busy trying to pass bills before the clock runs out at midnight Thursday, Mar. 12. 

Photo of the Utah state capitol building.
Brian Grimmett / KUER

Conviction Integrity Units have been popping up in prosecutors' offices across the country: California, Texas and Salt Lake County to name a few. The units review convictions for new or non-disclosed evidence and can recommend that prosecutors try to vacate the conviction or modify the sentence. 

Photo of refinery.
Brian Albers / KUER

Refineries who have been slow to start producing Tier 3 fuel would still be eligible for a tax break under a bill unanimously passed by a state Senate committee unanimously Thursday. 

Photo of a man sitting behind a wooden desk, in front of several people sitting behind a large wooden desk.
Sonja Hutson / KUER

In an attempt to address the state’s “structural imbalance” of tax revenue, a state Senate committee approved a constitutional amendment Thursday that would allow money earmarked for education to be spent to “support children and to support individuals with a disability.” 

Photo of outside the Senate chambers at the Utah Capitol.
Cory Dinter for KUER

A bill that would require more financial oversight of charter schools passed a state Senate committee unanimously Thursday. 

Photo of a road sign that reads "stay alert talk or text later"
iStock

After an impassioned debate, the Utah Senate voted 19-8 to approve a bill that cracks down on distracted driving.

Photo of Curt Bramble and Mary Taylor presenting the bill.
Sonja Hutson / KUER

A Utah bill requiring the burial or cremation of fetuses would now only apply to abortions, not miscarriages, after changes made on the House floor Wednesday morning. 

Photo of Bernie Sanders supporters holding signs that read "Bernie" next to a cardboard cutout of Sanders.
Renee Bright / KUER

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has been declared the winner in the Utah Democratic primary by the Associated Press. With 59% of precincts reporting, Sanders had garnered just above 32% of the vote at time of publication Tuesday night.

Photo of Utah Governor Gary Herbert speaking at a press conference about coronavirus preparations
Sonja Hutson / KUER

Standing in Utah’s Emergency Operations Center Monday afternoon, state Epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn made it abundantly clear: Coronavirus will likely spread throughout the state. 

Photo of the dome of the Utah capitol building
Cory Dinter / KUER

Rep. Brad Daw, R-Orem, said he will not run a bill this legislative session banning transgender hormone therapy and surgery for minors. He has opted instead to run legislation to study puberty blocking drugs.

Photo of a room with rows of wooden desks, with a woman and a man standing up speaking into microphones.
Sonja Hutson/KUER

A bill banning elective abortions, should the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade, passed the Utah Senate Monday along party lines. 

Photo of a yurt
National Park Service

Utah lawmakers are picking up speed, moving lots of bills through the state Legislature. This week, the news was dominated by a bill essentially decriminalizing consensual polygamy, a $35 million affordable housing bill, and lawmakers coming to a compromise over revisions to an anti-gerrymandering law. KUER's Caroline Ballard met with political reporter Sonja Hutson in the Capitol Press Room to go over some other stories you may have missed. 

Photo of a man in a suit sitting behind a wooden desk and speaking into a microphone
Sonja Hutson / KUER

People in Utah seeking an abortion would have to get an ultrasound beforehand under a bill being considered in the stateUtah Llegislature. 

Screengrab from video of Gary Herbert speaking at a podium
PBS Utah video screengrab

At his monthly press conference, Gov. Gary Herbert weighed in on several high-profile issues facing Utah and the state Legislature, from censuring Sen. Mitt Romney to the state’s response to the coronavirus. 

Photo of a man in a suit standing at a wooden podium, with a group of people standing behind him
Sonja Hutson / KUER

Under a new compromise reached by a bipartisan group of Utah lawmakers and the group behind a new anti-gerrymandering law, an independent redistricting commission is required to adopt its own rules to ban partisan gerrymandering.

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