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Photo of the Jordan River.
Brian Albers / KUER

Friday evening, Feb. 14, 2020

Photo of the inside of a tanning booth.
Wikimedia Commons

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. 

Photo of woman standing in the middle of a room filled with people sitting behind tables in a horseshoe formation.
Courtesy of Ross Chambless, Communications Specialist / Utah House Democrats

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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.

Photo of two people looking out at a vista.
Bureau of Land Management

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After congressional Democrats voted this week to give one of their own the power to subpoena the Trump administration, U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt dismissed the move as a “witch hunt.”

Photo of the Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel building
Jon Reed / KUER

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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 Bears Ears Buttes.
KUER File Photo

Updated 11:33 a.m. MST 2/15/2020

The recently released management plans for Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante national monuments, already slammed by tribes and environmentalists, may also violate federal law, according to a new law review article by two University of Utah researchers. 

Photo of a man behind steering wheel holding out a smartphone.
iStock.com / bernardbobo

Friday morning, Feb. 14, 2020

Photo of the ski jump.
Brian Grimmett

Thursday evening, Feb. 13, 2020

Illustration of Alice Kasai
Brooke Smart, Illustrator / Courtesy of Better Days 2020

This week KUER is exploring the work of Utah women who have helped further the cause of equal rights. In our final conversation, Neylan McBaine, executive director of the nonprofit Better Days 2020, tells KUER’s Caroline Ballard the story of Alice Kasai, who fought for the rights of Japanese-Americans. 

A field of sagebrush glows in the morning light. A mesa rises in the background.
David Fuchs / KUER

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KANAB — As the debate over public lands management intensifies under the Trump administration, Grand Staircase Escalante and Bears Ears have become household names. 

A trailer, a shack and a house with solar panels sit on a hill in the foreground, and a large house sits on a hill in the background.
Kate Groetzinger/KUER

WESTWATER — Just across a shallow canyon from Blanding, around 20 Navajo families live here in small homes and trailers. They rely on solar panels for electricity and haul their water from town, while — less than half a mile away — Blanding residents run dishwashers and appliances off a municipal power and water supply. 

An illustration of Alberta Henry.
BROOKE SMART, ILLUSTRATOR / COURTESY OF BETTER DAYS 2020

This week, KUER is exploring the stories of Utah women who worked to further the cause of equal rights. The first woman cast a ballot in an election 150 years ago, but it took another half century, until 1920, to ratify the 19th amendment, which granted all women the right to vote. 

Photo of a voting ballot
Arianna Pickard / KUER

Wednesday evening, Feb. 12, 2020

Photo of cannabis plants.
pxhere.com

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. 

A yellow caution sign warns of an autonomous shuttle, which is in the background.
David Fuchs / KUER

ST. GEORGE — Washington County residents got a glimpse of the future on Tuesday, when Utah transportation officials kicked off three days of free test rides on an autonomous shuttle now touring the state.

Photo of the illustration of Emmeline B. Wells
Brooke Smart, illustrator / Courtesy of Better Days 2020

This week marks the 150th anniversary of the first time a woman cast a vote in the United States — right here in Utah. To commemorate the occasion, KUER is exploring how three Utah women worked to further the cause of equal rights. 

Photo illustration showing a marijuana leaf on top of a stethoscope.
iStock

Tuesday evening, Feb. 11, 2020

Photo of an amazon fulfillment center
Tony Webster via Flickr

Utah could help create an agreement that would prevent states from poaching companies from each other through tax incentives under a new bill in the state legislature. 

Renee Bright / KUER

It’s 6:30 a.m. on a recent weekday morning, and Caroline Keeney is trying to get her two teen daughters ready for school. She knocks on the door of her younger daughter, Eden, and the 13-year-old middle schooler jumps right out of bed. 

Photo of wild horses in foothills covered in light n
iStock.com / equigini

Tuesday morning, Feb. 11, 2020

marijuana leaf.
iStock.com / Darren415

Utah is one step closer to launching its medical marijuana program as the Department of Health announced Monday medical providers may pre-register with the state ahead of the official rollout March 1.

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

Monday evening, Feb. 10, 2020

Photo of Michael Bloomberg
Wikimedia Commons

As Utah inches closer to its March 3 presidential primary, Democratic candidate and former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg is stepping up his already robust campaign in the state. 

Photo of person texting and driving.
bernardbodo / iStock.com

Monday morning, Feb. 10, 2020

A pump jack at dusk surrounded by sagebrush
Kate Groetzinger / KUER

The Bluff Town Council, tasked with overseeing growth in the recently incorporated community, recently faced a quandary.

Photo of a man hiking
Nate Hegyi / Mountain West News Bureau

Southern Utah’s red rock desert is home to towering canyons and the clear, shallow Escalante River. It’s also home to many ancient petroglyphs. Jonathan Paklaian is trying to find one along the banks of the river. He scrambles along a cliff wall until he spots it — a petroglyph he says was drawn more than 800 years ago by the Indigenous Fremont people. 

Photo of Michelle Kaufusi and Jon Huntsman
Huntsman and Kaufusi Campaign

Friday evening, Feb. 7, 2020

Photo of Mitt Romney
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.

Photo of billboard that reads "Seraph Young, First Woman To Vote."
Nicole Nixon / KUER

Utah is pulling out all the stops to celebrate the centennial of women’s voting rights and other suffragist anniversaries. Advocates and lawmakers have planned celebrations, lectures and events throughout 2020.

Photo of Orem from above
iStock

It’s no secret Utah is booming, and Utah County is expected to grow more than any other. By 2065, it’s projected to add more than one million people, accounting for 37% of the state’s population growth.

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