Politics & Issues | KUER 90.1

Politics & Issues

Map of U.S. states with laws banning conversion therapy for minors.
Movement Advancement Project

On the heels of Colorado becoming the 18th state to ban “conversion therapy” earlier this year, Utah’s debating the widely discredited practice meant to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender expression.

photo of Utah State capitol building.
Brian Albers / KUER

As a state task force wraps up its study and input-gathering phase for reworking Utah’s tax code, House Speaker Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, says he wants the work finished — with a tax cut in place — by the end of the year.

Stock photo of chairs on top of desks in a classroom.
iStock

Updated 10:15 a.m. MDT 10/18/19

St. GEORGE — When charter school Saint George Academy opened here three years ago, Jennifer Racker says her family’s life changed.

A road with worn pavement and lots of patches.
Kate Groetzinger/KUER

SAN JUAN COUNTY -- As winter approaches, Navajo Nation residents in Utah say roads on the reservation are increasingly hazardous because of a lack of upkeep.

 

And they don’t know who to blame.

A group of police officers stand with a wooden plaque.
Dixie State University

The campus police department at Dixie State University has become the first campus police department in Utah to receive an official accreditation from the state’s Chiefs of Police Association. 

Photo of Navajo woman filling out form.
Kate Groetzinger / KUER

Updated 10:05 p.m. MDT 10/3/19

 

An upcoming special election in San Juan County has some Native residents worried they will lose representation in government.

Photo of a man cutting a ribbon in front of his house.
Jon Reed / KUER

For decades, Mario and Emma Melendez have lived and worked in Salt Lake City. Originally from the Mexican state of Tlaxcala, east of Mexico City, they came to Salt Lake by way of Phoenix, and have rented all their lives. But on Thursday, they moved into a house that, for the first time, they can call their own.

Personal income is on the rise across the country, and some of the biggest increases are in Mountain West states, according to data published last week by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Stock photo of an emergency call kiosk.
iStock

Utah colleges and universities have released their required annual crime statistics reports. These paint a picture of campus safety at the various campuses across the state. 

Photo of Hovenweep National Monument.
Kate Groetzinger / KUER

Updated 11:30 p.m. MDT 9/30/19

Meeting in Utah for the first time ever, the All Pueblo Council of Governors passed resolutions last week calling for the protection of the Bears Ears region and pushing back on efforts to change the form of government in San Juan County. 

Photo of press conference.
Erik Neumann / KUER

Civil rights lawsuits like the one the family of a slain University of Utah track star Lauren McCluskey filed this summer against the school are rarely won, legal experts say. 

Photo of a Scantron sheet illustrating a student's answers on an Advanced Placement test.
iStock

More Utah students are gaining experience that could set them up for college. 

Five percent or 1,400 more Utah students took Advanced Placement (AP) tests this year, according to data by the College Board, the nonprofit that distributes the tests. 

Photo illustration of cannabis in a bag in front of prescription pill bottles.
iStock

Future medical cannabis users and sellers now have a better idea about how much they might pay to join Utah’s medical marijuana program. After more changes to the cannabis program were announced during last week’s special session, the Department of Health unveiled the range of fees it aims to charge for registration, background checks, and yearly licensing. 

Two Navajo men face each other for a conversation during a commission meeting.
Kate Groetzinger / KUER

Following a five-hour mediation process on Friday, San Juan County has agreed to pay the Navajo Nation $2.6 million in attorney’s fees. The county is responsible for compensation after losing a voting rights case brought by the Nation in 2012. 

Special Coverage graphic.
KUER/NPR

This event has concluded. Follow this story for updates from NPR:

Pelosi Announces Formal Impeachment Inquiry Into President Trump

Updated at 7:48 p.m. ET

After months of expressing caution on a push for impeachment, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi launched a formal impeachment inquiry into President Trump Tuesday.

"The president must be held accountable," Pelosi said. "No one is above the law."

The landmark move comes after controversy over a phone call Trump had with the newly elected Ukranian leader in July and reporting that the president pressured him to investigate political rival Joe Biden.

Photo of a sign welcoming people to the city of Moab.
Creative Commons

Most of Moab’s sewer and water lines were built more than 60 years ago, at the height of the uranium boom. Now, the town of around 5,000 residents is seeing a boom in tourism. On weekends, its population can reach up to 40,000, according to City Manager Joel Linares. This puts pressure on its infrastructure, and makes it more expensive to replace. 

Photo of a Smith's Food and Drug store.
Wikimedia Commons

America’s biggest supermarket chain is removing free publication racks from its stores beginning this month, prompting criticism from alternative weekly newspaper publishers. 

“These are some of our largest distribution sites,” said John Weiss, founder of the Colorado Springs Independent. “As fewer people are reading the dailies, more people are getting their newspaper fix from a free weekly. It’s hard to beat our price.”

As kids across the country head back to school for the year, the question of how to keep students safe is constant and ever-evolving, especially when it comes to mass shootings. One recent active shooter training at Pinnacle Charter School in northern Colorado focused on three actions: evacuate, barricade, and fight.

Standing on blue gym mats, under bright fluorescent lights, a trainer and a student lean in, heads close.

Stock photo illustrating a facial recognition scan.
iStock.com

Lawmakers plan to run legislation to address the state Department of Public Safety’s (DPS) use of facial recognition software to scan Utahns’ driver's license photos.

Photo of a street sign on a highway that reads "Sunny Acres Lane."
Kate Groetzinger / KUER

MONTICELLO — From the potential construction of a 13-acre truck stop to the conversion of housing into overnight rentals to the loss of their dark night skies, people who moved to Spanish Valley for peace and quiet say their way of life is under threat. 

Photo of empty Utah Senate Chamber.
Austen Diamond for KUER

Utah lawmakers approved a medical cannabis system that will use more privately-run dispensaries instead of public health departments to help distribute the drug. 

A photo of Andrew Gruber, executive director of the Wasatch Front Regional Council, presenting the Wasatch Choice 2050 Vision plan at a convention on Thursday in Salt Lake City.
Jon Reed / KUER

Growth is coming to the Wasatch Front. 

That was the refrain at Planners’ Day, part of the Utah League of Cities and Towns annual three-day convention in downtown Salt Lake City on Thursday. 

Photo of the Utah State Board of Education seal on a wall inside the board building.
Rocio Hernandez / KUER

People interested in serving on the Utah State Board of Education may have to run under a political party starting in 2020 after the Utah Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that partisan elections for the school board are constitutional. 

Illustration of microphones.
Angela Hsieh / NPR

September's Democratic presidential debate has been narrowed to one night only, as more candidates have called it quits altogether.

Photo of a brown wooden sign that reads "Manti-La Sal National Forest, U.S. Department of Agriculture" with some trees in the background.
Kate Groetzinger / KUER

Public lands are usually a divisive issue in Utah, but state and federal lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are working together to help counties secure annual reimbursements for federally-owned land. 

Photo of flags through capitol window.
Cory Dinter for KUER

The abortion debate is getting a lot of attention these days. Anti-abortion rights activists see President Trump’s conservative appointments to the Supreme Court as an opportunity to overturn Roe v. Wade. A new poll asked Utahns about their support for 1973 case that legalized abortion.

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. 

A recent report looking at the best states to work in doesn't show the Mountain West in a particularly good light. Only one state in our region ranked in the top half.

Photo of bagged medical marijuana and medicine bottles.
iStock.com / Patrick Morrissey

Utah’s medical cannabis law will continue to evolve as the state prepares to sell marijuana products next spring.

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