2020 Legislative Session | KUER 90.1

2020 Legislative Session

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A bill decriminalizing consensual polygamy is poised to pass the Utah Legislature. 

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Whittney Evans / KUER

Wednesday evening, Feb. 26, 2020

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Sonja Hutson / KUER

A $35 million housing bill passed the Utah Senate 16-11 Wednesday, although its sponsor does not think it will be fully funded. 

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Pixio.com/A. Harrison and F. A. Murphy, USCDCP

Wednesday morning, Feb. 26, 2020

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Tuesday evening, Feb. 25, 2020

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Sonja Hutson / KUER

More changes to the Utah Inland Port may be coming under legislation passed by a state House committee Tuesday. 

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When a state legislative audit in November said Utah’s Division of Oil, Gas and Mining has an “alarming” lack of oversight, outcry was intense, focusing on a finding that the division hadn’t pursued a fine for violations since 1995. 

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Monday evening, Feb. 24, 2020

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Friday evening, Feb. 21, 2020

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Courtesy of Marco Verch Professional Photographer and Speaker via <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/30478819@N08/29613480388">Flickr</a> / View <a href="https://foto.wuestenigel.com/park-golf-carts/?utm_source=29613480388&utm_campaign=FlickrDescription&utm_medium=link">original photo</a> and <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">Creative Commons license</a>.

We’re more than halfway through the Utah legislative session, and lots of bills have been making big headlines in the state. But with just 45 days, there are probably more than a few that you may have missed. KUER’s Caroline Ballard went to the state Capitol pressroom to catch up with political reporter Sonja Hutson.

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Brian Albers / KUER

A bill to almost entirely ban abortion in Utah was unveiled Friday afternoon. 

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Thursday evening, Feb. 20, 2020

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Sonja Hutson / KUER

Utah lawmakers have more than $900 million extra to spend this year, according to new estimates released by state leaders Thursday. 

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MovieAboutYou / iStock.com

A Utah House committee is divided over whether to require restorative justice for minors who make threats against a school. 

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KUER file

Listen to the story here.

A bill to effectively decriminalize polygamy for consenting adults unanimously passed the Utah Senate Tuesday. 

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It’s the end of week three for the Utah Legislature, and lawmakers have been busy considering bills that touch on everything from corporate tax incentives to tanning beds to medical marijuana. KUER’s Sonja Hutson and Caroline Ballard spoke in the press room of the Utah State Capitol to cover all that and more in our weekly political roundup. 

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Courtesy of Ross Chambless, Communications Specialist / Utah House Democrats

Listen to this story here.

Utah Democratic lawmakers are condemning behavior during its Thursday caucus meeting, when a presenter gave the state’s lone African American lawmaker a name tag that said “slave” on it, while comparing polygamy to slavery.

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Jon Reed / KUER

Listen to this story here.

The attorneys who write bills that become Utah laws are always swamped during the legislative session. They work long hours and weekends, and often through the January and February holidays, including the upcoming President’s Day. 

Photo of cannabis plants.

A bill introduced in the State Senate Wednesday is looking to clear criminal records for those who’ve been convicted of offenses related to marijuana possession. 

S.B.121, sponsored by Evan Vickers, R-Cedar City, would expunge the records of those who’ve used marijuana medicinally, though would not apply to anyone caught dealing or selling it or those with felony charges. 

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Pool Photo

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, made history this week by voting to convict President Donald Trump, a member of his own party, on one of two articles of impeachment. He was the only member of the Republican party to vote to convict the president — and that decision is making waves throughout the state.

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Renee Bright / KUER

The option to cast a vote for every candidate of your preferred political party on the ballot by checking one box could see its demise in 2020.

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Rocio Hernandez

Assistant Minority Whip and State Sen. Jani Iwamoto, D-Holladay, introduced S.B. 80, a bill that seeks to study law enforcement departments at Utah public colleges and universities. A final report would be presented to the Education and Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice interim committees. 

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High-speed trains from Salt Lake to Provo, Ogden and Zion National Park? It could be a reality under a Republican-sponsored bill at the Utah Legislature.

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David Fuchs / KUER

There’s long been a divide at the state Legislature between southern Utah and the more populous Wasatch Front. And booming growth in southwest Utah is leaving behind the rural southeast and central parts of the state, some lawmakers say. 

Interior photo of Utah State Capitol building.
KUER File Photo


Utah’s legislative session kicked off this week. Over 45 days lawmakers work to pass a budget and wade through more than a thousand bills. KUER’s Caroline Ballard joined political reporters Nicole Nixon and Sonja Hutson to help break it down.

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Lee Hale / KUER

In a move to prepare Utah’s water system for more explosive population grown, a bill to create a market system for temporarily buying and selling water rights is moving through the Utah State Senate. 

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Nicole Nixon

It didn’t take long for House Speaker Brad Wilson to address what he called “the elephant, or to be bipartisan, donkey in the room.” 

A water tank sits behind a chain-link fence, marked with a logo depicting a Native American man in a headdress.
David Fuchs / KUER

CEDAR CITY — A Utah lawmaker is catching heat over a proposed resolution that discourages abandoning the use of Native American names, images and symbols.

Photo of Brad Wilson inside the Utah State Capitol building.
Austen Diamond for KUER

Utah’s general legislative session begins next week. That means until mid-March, lawmakers will be debating and voting on bills that could affect Utahns. 

KUER’s political team, Nicole Nixon and Sonja Hutson sat down with House Speaker Brad Wilson to get a preview of this year’s session. 

Photo of the Utah State Board of Education building
Rocio Hernandez / KUER

Although still four months away, the Utah State Board of Education has begun discussion of its possible legislative policy requests for the 2020 Utah Legislative Session.