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45 Days

Photo of KUER's Mayoral Candidate Conversations.
Brian Albers/KUER

We know a couple things already about who the capital city’s next mayor will be. She’ll be a Democrat, and she’ll be a woman. Over the next four years, she’ll also have the chance to lead the city on big issues like air quality, homelessness and the inland port.

45 Days Invite: Erin Mendenhall
KUER / KUER

The Salt Lake City Mayoral race is down to two candidates, and KUER political reporter Nicole Nixon is sitting down with each of them. Join us for two candid conversations, on two separate evenings.

Nicole Nixon in Conversation with councilwoman Erin Mendenhall on Monday, September 9 at 7 p.m. at Church & State.

This is a live recording. Seating is limited, register here.

45 Days Invite: Luz Escamilla
KUER / KUER

The Salt Lake City Mayoral race is down to two candidates, and KUER political reporter Nicole Nixon is sitting down with each of them. Join us for two candid conversations, on two separate evenings.

Nicole Nixon in Conversation with Sen. Luz Escamilla on Tuesday, September 10 at 7 p.m. at Church & State.

This is a live recording. Seating is limited, register here. This is an all ages event, but beer and wine will be available for purchase.

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.

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:

Renee Bright/KUER

We know we’re nearing the end of the session when two major bills with big implications drop as the clock winds down. One is the widely anticipated tax reform package and the other bill proposes some significant changes to the inland port created just last year. We sit down with Rep. Robert Spendlove to dive into the new tax bill and find out what things Utahns might soon have to start paying taxes on. Plus, we examine the mixed signals lawmakers are sending about traffic safety.

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?

Photo of bees at capitol.
Renee Bright / KUER

A year after a high school shooting in Parkland, Fla., Utah lawmakers from both parties are pushing a slate of school safety and gun reform measures this session. But the Republican supermajority hasn’t been too eager to debate many of these proposals, including a controversial “red flag” law. This week, we discuss the status of gun bills this year and talk to a local March for Our Lives activist about what’s changed — and what hasn’t — since the Parkland massacre. To inject some levity, we also investigate the not-so-secret circus past of one Republican lawmaker.

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.

Image of Gary Herbert.
Renee Bright / KUER

The first week of the legislative session always has a very back-to-school feel, with lawmakers sworn in, speeches from new leaders and interns wandering around lost. In this week’s episode, the governor’s ambitious tax cut, more on the fallout over lawmakers’ attempts to repeal and replace Prop 3, and a conversation with new female lawmakers from opposing parties.

KUER

Welcome back to another session of the Utah Legislature … and another season of 45 Days!

Lawmakers have already filed hundreds of bills to consider during the next few weeks of legislative action, including a slew of controversial proposals dealing with abortion and LGBT issues.

Cory Dinter / KUER

The 2018 midterm elections are over but results are still trickling in for some races, including Utah's competitive 4th Congressional District where Republican incumbent Mia Love faces an uphill battle against Democrat Ben McAdams. As county clerks tally ballots for their final canvas, we survey the post-midterm landscape in Utah, where voters turned out in record numbers to vote for a new Senator, members of Congress and several citizen-led ballot initiatives. 

Renee Bright / KUER

Midterm elections are just around the corner and there is a lot on the ballot this year. That’s why KUER put out a call to our listeners to send us any and all questions about voting to pose to Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, the state’s top elections chief.

Voting In Utah: Your Questions

Oct 12, 2018

Midterm elections are just around the corner, and like many of us, you probably have a few questions about the process, such as: "What IS a nonbinding question?" or "What happens if you fill out your vote by mail ballot wrong?" We want to hear from you. Share with us any questions you may have — and trust us, there's no question too simple. (Because if you're curious about it, chances are somebody else is too.) Next week, we'll be bringing Utah’s top elections official in studio to provide us with answers to your questions — lightning round style! So ... tell us:

KUER

We are live in Cedar City this week for a special recap of the 2018 legislative session. Joining Julia and Nicole on stage are three Utah lawmakers from the region: Rep. Walt Brooks of St. George, Rep. John Westwood of Cedar City and Sen. Don Ipson of St. George. What laws will have the biggest effect on southern Utah and how did the legislature tackle some of the critical issues facing it? This show was taped at Southern Utah University in partnership with the Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics and Public Service.

KUER

That's a wrap! The Legislature passed 534 bills this session, just one bill shy of their record during the 2017 session, and left hundreds more behind. Here are the highlights, plus a conversation with Gov. Gary Herbert.

Austen Diamond / KUER

 

The 2018 Utah Legislature drew to a close on Thursday night, wrapping up their 45 day annual session with a $16.7 billion budget that increases funding for education, overhauls public transit and continues the fight against homelessness.

KUER

Now, this is the story all about how Week 6 of the Legislature got flipped-turned upside down? Utah's beatboxing lawmakers are gearing up for their final spurt to the finish line with several big items still left on Republican leaders' to-do list. Notably, two proposals to add work requirements to Medicaid, the federal low-income health care program, are racing through the chambers as we speak. One lawmaker is also getting support for a last-minute bill to establish a "red flag" law to confiscate guns from people who pose a credible threat to public safety. The Legislature is also doing some Arnold Schwarzenegger-level flexing of power over a number of entities, including cities, the executive branch and — albeit unsuccessfully — the press. 

KUER

 

Nothing in this world is certain but death and taxes, and legislators are tackling both in Week 5 of the session. This week we talk with reporter Whittney Evans about some surprise backers of a new death penalty repeal effort. We also look at the state's big budget surplus and try to divine what lawmakers might do with all that extra scratch. The Utah Legislature's bluest member Sen. Jim Dabakis announces he's done after this session, joining several other incumbents on their way out the door, like Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck, our featured guest on 'Better Know a Lawmaker.'

KUER

This week lawmakers paused to honor the 17 lives lost in a school shooting in Parkland, Fla. But the latest school violence is unlikely to persuade Republican leaders to propose any big changes to gun laws this session. Meanwhile, a committee finally approved something close to a resolution acknowledging climate change without actually using the phrase "climate change." We also talk about some air quality bills and medical marijuana. Rep. Steve Eliason joins us on 'Better Know A Lawmaker' and explains how he's tackling Utah's youth suicide problem. 

KUER

Every legislative session a few bills pop up that generate a lot of buzz, but never quite make it to the finish line. For the last few years, that has been the case with proposed legislation to toughen the state's penalties for hate crimes. So what invisible forces propel some bills while squashing others? Some critics say it's the Mormon Church, whose membership includes almost 90 percent of the Utah Legislature. Others say their influence is overstated. And then there's Steve Urquhart, a former Republican state senator from St. George, who observed this phenomenon firsthand.

Renee Bright / KUER

Happy Winter Olympics! Utah misses you so. That's why lawmakers are eager to win them back by 2026 or 2030 — they've even passed a resolution that says as much. But who can think of the cold when things are heating up on Capitol Hill? The halls are feeling warmer than usual after a bombshell report by a British tabloid that a Republican state lawmaker paid for sex with an escort. That lawmaker, former Rep. Jon Stanard of St. George, resigned unexpectedly this week, just before the report came out. The fallout from the scandal continues to reverberate as the state carries on an investigation into his use of taxpayer money to carry out the alleged affair. Meanwhile, lots of bills continue forward.   

Renee Bright / KUER

It's week 2 at the Utah Legislature and we've already seen several big bills make their way through the House and Senate. On this week's episode, we discuss a few bills in direct conflict with two citizen-led ballot initiatives making their way to voters this fall. We're calling them "Ballot Busters." We also invite a lobbyist to lunch to find out how he wins friends and influences people. And, we try to figure out whether Democrats are becoming the party of "Law & Order" with several proposals to stiffen penalties for crimes. 

KUER

The gavel has fallen and the Utah Legislature is officially in session! This week we dissect opening speeches by Gov. Gary Herbert and House Speaker Greg Hughes, then Speaker Hughes will also join us later in the episode for our “Better Know a Lawmaker” segment. To wrap it up, we'll sprint through some of the bills that have started to gain momentum on the hill.

Phillip Massey

Utah lawmakers will convene Monday for the 2018 General Session of the 63rd Utah Legislature. With more than 1,200 bills already filed, lawmakers expect another record breaking year of laws passed during the 45-day session. Here are five things to watch for this year. 

KUER

And we're back! Welcome to Season 2 of 45 Days. The 2018 Utah Legislative Session is just around the corner. This week we're giving you an idea of some of the big topics lawmakers will try to tackle, some oddball bills we're kind of fond of, and our first ever installment of "Better Know a Lawmaker," featuring Rep. Robert Spendlove.