Politics & Issues | KUER 90.1

Politics & Issues

The city of St. George is shown from above. The white temple stands above the tree-lined streets.
Kelsie Moore / RadioWest Films

ST. GEORGE — The new, tongue-in-cheek aesthetic for this fast-growing city in 2020 is “pioneer chic.”

Photo of Sen. Mitt Romney at a podium in Senate chambers.
Screenshot NPR Live Stream

Utah Sen. Mitt Romney became the lone Republican to cross party lines in his vote to convict President Donald Trump in his impeachment trial, becoming the only Republican to break from the party. 

Updated 5:43 p.m. ET

The Senate has voted to acquit President Trump on both articles of impeachment — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — ending a months-long process of investigations and hearings and exposing a sharply divided Congress and country.

Acquittal on the first article was 52-48, with Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah becoming the only senator to cross party lines. Trump was cleared of the second charge on a straight party-line vote of 53-47.

Convicting and removing Trump from office would have required 67 votes.

Picture of a female lawmaker introducing a bill.
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. 

Photo of President Donald Trump giving his State of the Union address
NPR live video

Utah’s members of Congress echoed President Donald Trump in celebrating a strong economy but they also praised a handful of bipartisan measures like a new trade deal following the president's State of the Union address Tuesday night.

President Trump delivered his third State of the Union address Tuesday night, the day before his Senate impeachment trial is scheduled to wrap.

Photo of Jacob Anderegg presenting a bill to a Utah Senate committee
Sonja Hutson / KUER

A $35 million affordable housing bill passed a state Senate committee Tuesday, with two Democrats voting for it and one Republican voting against it. 

Congressman Ben McAdams
Kelsie Moore / KUER

The race for Utah’s 4th Congressional District, currently represented by the state’s lone Democrat, remains deeply lopsided when it comes to campaign donations, according to the latest filings with the Federal Elections Commission. 

Young woman in blue blazer sitting at round brown table in front of a brown bookcase.
Sonja Hutson / KUER

 

In her first year as Utah’s youngest lawmaker, 27-year-old Rep. Candice Pierucci, R-Herriman, often gets mistaken for an intern by security officers at the State Capitol.

Updated at 5:30 p.m.

House Democrats and President Trump's defense team made their final arguments in the Senate impeachment trial before lawmakers vote later this week on whether to remove Trump from office.

Both sides presented opposing versions of the president's handling of aid for Ukraine last summer and the impeachment proceedings so far, before ultimately arriving at divergent conclusions.

A smattering of trees sits in the foreground beneath a large arch on a canyon rim.
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. 

Photo of Curt Bramble and Mary Taylor presenting the bill.
Sonja Hutson / KUER

A bill requiring that medical providers bury or cremate an aborted or miscarried fetus passed a Utah Senate committee Friday. 

Photo of the gubernatorial candidates on stage for their first debate.
Sonja Hutson / KUER

Six Republican candidates for Utah governor sparred in a debate Friday at the Silicon Slopes Tech Summit. It largely focused on how best to manage the state’s growth and highlighted the conversation about political insiders and outsiders. 

Updated at 8:00 p.m. ET

The Senate impeachment trial adjourned Friday evening, with a plan to return Monday morning to continue. Closing arguments will be presented Monday, after which senators will be permitted to speak on the floor. A final vote, during which President Trump is expected to be acquitted, is expected next Wednesday around 4 p.m. ET.

Photo of Main Street in Park City, UT during Sundance.
Jon Reed / KUER

The Sundance Film Festival brings in tens of thousands of people to the streets of Park City. And for many of the area’s small businesses, it’s one of the biggest weeks of the year. 

Law enforcement stand in front of a home
Courtesy of ACLU of Utah

The American Civil Liberties Union of Utah has filed a lawsuit against agents from Utah Adult Probation and Parole and it’s director over an August 2018 raid on a Salt Lake City home. 

Picture of a woman sitting inside a church
Kelsie Moore / RadioWest Films

Two years ago, Vicky Chavez was facing deportation and almost got on a plane headed to her native Honduras, the country she had escaped to get away from a violent relationship. She came to Utah in 2014 as an undocumented immigrant to join the rest of her family who was already living here.

Updated at 10:56 p.m. ET

Senators weighing impeachment charges against President Trump spent Thursday firing questions at lawyers as they did the day before, just as the prospect of former national security adviser John Bolton's appearance as a witness continues to stoke speculation. The Senate will enter its next phase Friday — considering whether to allow witnesses and evidence.

Photo of Utah Gov. Gary Herbert delivering his State of the State address in the state Capitol building.
Sonja Hutson / KUER

Despite being forced to roll back a tax reform plan he had recently signed into law, Gov. Gary Herbert delivered a reflective and hopeful speech at his annual State of the State address Wednesday evening.

Updated at 11:40 p.m. ET

The Senate on Wednesday night concluded the first of two days full of questions in the impeachment trial of President Trump. The proceeding offered clues about the thinking of senators, but the session consisted mostly of trial lawyers on both sides magnifying arguments they have already delivered.

There were, however, controversial moments in which Trump's counsel took positions Democrats decried as radical or even unlawful.

Photo of the rotunda of the Utah State Capitol building.
Austen Diamond for KUER

Updated 6:13 p.m. MST, 1/28/2020

Six weeks after passing a contentious tax reform bill in a special session, Utah lawmakers repealed it Tuesday under threat of a referendum. Gov. Gary Herbert signed the repeal Tuesday evening. 

Photo of cattle grazing.
Courtesy of Utah Bureau of Land Management

The Trump administration has spent the past month announcing sweeping changes that could benefit ranchers on public lands, including a proposal to overhaul grazing regulations for the first time in 25 years. 

Photo looking down at the House floor where Brad Wilson addresses representatives.
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.” 

Updated at 9:15 p.m. ET

As President Trump's legal team pressed the case for acquittal on Monday, they repeatedly made two points: the charges against Trump do not meet the constitution's criteria for impeachment. And if the president is removed from office for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, it will set a "dangerous" precedent.

"You cannot turn conduct that is not impeachable into impeachable conduct simply by using words like quid pro quo," said one of Trump's lawyers, Alan Dershowitz, calling the charges "vague, indefinable."

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 a woman speaking at the forum.
Rocio Hernandez

Over the last 10 years, more college students nationwide have reported feeling depressed, hopeless and angry, said Dr. David Reetz with the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors. Reetz was the keynote speaker at Utah’s first Student Safety Forum focused on colleges and universities.

A still from the film Crip Camp showing a man smiling and holding another man, with another man standing beside him and another man in a wheelchair behind them.
Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Friday evening, Jan. 24, 2020

Updated at 9:00 p.m. ET

House Democrats on Friday finished their third and final day of arguments that President Trump, impeached by the House, now should be convicted and removed from office by the Senate.

The president's lawyers will get their turn to lay out the case for acquittal starting this weekend.

"A toxic mess"

Government building - lighted in the morning.
Elaine Clark / KUER

Updated 4:47 p.m. MST 1/23/2020

Confronted by the possibility of a referendum against a tax reform law approved in a December special session, Republican leaders announced Thursday they will repeal the controversial measure.

Updated at 10:40 p.m. ET

House Democrats finished their second day of oral arguments on Thursday, contending that that President Trump's attempt to pressure Ukraine into investigations was not only an attempt to cheat in the 2020 election, but Democrats said it was also the kind of behavior the nation's founding fathers hoped to guard against.

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