2019 utah legislature | KUER 90.1

2019 utah legislature

Photo of capitol.
Brian Albers / KUER

A majority of the record 574 bills passed by the Utah Legislature this year went into effect Tuesday at midnight.

House Speaker Brad Wilson.
Cory Dinter for KUER

Gov. Gary Herbert only vetoed one bill during the recent legislative session, but Utah lawmakers are mulling a special session to overrule that veto.

Photo of wind turbine.
iStock.com / David Crane

Some Utah cities may soon have a chance to cut down on carbon emissions, but consumer advocates are worried about rising costs and other unanswered questions about the program.

Photo of hate crimes bill signing.
Utah Senate

A years-long effort to add teeth to Utah’s hate crimes law culminated in a signing ceremony by Gov. Gary Herbert Tuesday.

iStock.com / bernardbobo

Utah drivers could soon be able to throw their wallets out the window under a new law permitting digital driver’s licenses.

Austen Diamond for KUER

Utah lawmakers often pride themselves as a deliberative, decision-making body, spending just 45 days each year to pass legislation, but new research may suggest otherwise.

File photo / KUER

Gov. Gary Herbert signed into law a controversial ban on abortions performed after 18 weeks of pregnancy on Monday, joining a handful of red states pushing a host of new abortion restrictions that are likely to be challenged in federal court.

Image of courthouse.
Julia Ritchey / KUER

The Utah Supreme Court is considering whether to overturn the state Legislature’s replacement for voter-approved Proposition 2 that expanded patient access to medical marijuana.

Photo of Dave Newlin.
Nicole Nixon / KUER

Police oversight advocates are calling on Gov. Gary Herbert to veto a bill that would limit powers of citizen review boards.

Photo of medicaid form.
iStock.com / jwblinn

Enrollment for Utah’s long-awaited Medicaid expansion starts in less than two weeks. State officials are optimistic that things will go smoothly but they’re still waiting for approval of their plan from the federal government.

Brian Albers / KUER

For a third year in a row, efforts to fund the state’s affordable housing dearth once again fell short during the 2019 legislative session, as lawmakers struggle to tackle a 40,000-unit shortage.

Renee Bright/KUER

The 63rd session of the Utah Legislature concluded last night — a little early in fact — drawing to a close about an hour before midnight. Lawmakers outdid themselves this year, passing a record 573 bills. Not to mention balancing a record-setting budget of $19 billion, with bigger investments in air quality, school counselors and retirement benefits for public safety workers. Republican leaders set out with an ambitious agenda to tackle tax reform, which fizzled out. But they did a bunch of other stuff: hate crimes, a beer bill, criminal justice reform and a controversial overhaul of voter-approved Medicaid expansion.

Photo of Herbert.
Paul Edwards

Utah lawmakers wrapped up their annual 45-day legislative session last night. Before the gavel fell, KUER’s political team Nicole Nixon and Julia Ritchey talked with Gov. Gary Herbert for his take on the session … Successes, setbacks, and more.

Cory Dinter for KUER

The Utah Legislature wrapped up its 45-day general session an hour early — just after 11 p.m. on Thursday — in a session defined by big fights over Medicaid expansion, tax reform and the direction of state government in a period of explosive population and economic growth.

Photo of Ray Ward.
Cory Dinter for KUER

The journey to Gov. Gary Herbert’s desk has been long and difficult for Rep. Ray Ward’s student and school safety assessment bill.

Brian Albers / KUER

Updated 2:20 p.m. MT 3/14/19

Utah lawmakers on Thursday quietly axed a proposed $1.5 million in funding for a center honoring retired U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch after mounting public criticism.

Photo of Amelia Damarjian
Courtesy Amelia Damarjian

When 19-year-old Amelia Damarjian saw that Utah Gov. Gary Herbert had backed amendments to a proposed conversion therapy ban bill, she was furious.

Photo of beer fridge.
iStock.com / TrongNguyen

A push to raise the limit on beer in grocery stores is back at the State Capitol after legislation hit some turbulence last week.

Sen. Daniel Thatcher hugs Troy Williams
Courtesy Ben Winslow of Fox 13

The Utah Legislature has passed a significant overhaul to the state’s hate crimes statute, a measure Gov. Gary Herbert said he was eager to sign and would provide a “powerful tool” for protecting vulnerable communities.

House Speaker Brad Wilson and Senate President Stuart Adams
Nicole Nixon / KUER

Following days of closed-door meetings, top House and Senate leaders reached a tentative deal on Tuesday that would fund the state’s $19 billion budget.

SLC Mayor Files Lawsuit Over Utah Inland Port

Mar 11, 2019
Mayor Jackie Biskupski
Julia Ritchey / KUER

Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski has mounted a legal challenge to the state’s new inland port, accusing state leaders of usurping the city’s taxing and land use authority.

Nicole Nixon / KUER

State lawmakers voted against advancing legislation to address who is liable when a loaned firearm is used in a crime. The measure was motivated by the fatal shooting of a University of Utah student last fall.

Karianne Lisonbee
Austen Diamond / KUER

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A nationwide push to ban LGBTQ conversion therapy for minors looked like it could succeed in conservative Utah after The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said it wouldn't stand in the way, but the effort ground to a halt this week.

Austen Diamond for KUER

With less than a week left in the Utah legislative session, lawmakers are busy prioritizing and passing bills. So far, they’ve introduced 830 pieces of legislation and 267 have passed both chambers.

Here’s a look at some of Friday’s movement:

PASSED

Renee Bright/KUER

This week three major bills — tax reform, conversion therapy, and 4.8 percent beer — were killed in some form or another. We talk with Katie McKellar from the Deseret News about lawmakers’ efforts to address homelessness and affordable housing, and we’ve noticed a new buzzword popping up in Utah politics recently.

 

Bills & Issues Mentioned in this Episode:

Photo of Aaron Walker.
Rocio Hernandez / KUER

When Millcreek residents learned that their neighborhoods were being considered in a study commissioned by their city, they said Google helped them understand what that meant.

Photo of speaker wilson.
Nicole Nixon / KUER

Gov. Gary Herbert and top Republican leaders announced Thursday they will not pursue tax reform this session, an about-face coming just hours after the bill’s chief sponsor expressed confidence about its chances.

Tenna Hartman
Julia Ritchey / KUER

House lawmakers will determine the fate of a sweeping tax reform package scheduled for debate today.

Photo of Karianne Lisonbee.
Daysha Eaton / KUER

Updated 5:03 p.m. MST 3/6/19

In a press conference at the Capitol Wednesday, two key supporters of legislation that would have banned conversion therapy with minors in Utah resigned from the Governor’s Youth Suicide Task Force.

Photo of Arent.
Judy Fahys / KUER

Utah’s growing interest in environmental issues has translated into an explosion of environmental legislation and budget requests in the 2019 General Session.

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