Politics & Issues | KUER 90.1

Politics & Issues

Woman smiles in crowd of supporters.
Nicole Nixon / KUER

Updated 11:45 p.m. MDT 11/05/19:

Salt Lake City Councilwoman Erin Mendenhall held a commanding lead in the capital city’s mayoral race Tuesday night, but with potentially thousands of ballots left to count, she did not declare victory; nor did her opponent, State Sen. Luz Escamilla, concede the race. 

Photo of the entrance of a new shelter.
Rocio Hernandez / KUER

After a four-month delay stemming from weather and permitting issues, Salt Lake County officials Tuesday celebrated the completion of the county’s third — and final — new homeless resource center. 

State rankings are out for 2019 ACT test scores. For the Mountain West, it’s a mixed bag.

 


Photo of Welcome to Utah sign.
Brian Albers / KUER

Updated 4:52 p.m. MDT 11/01/19:

As the Trump administration clamps down on the number of refugees allowed into the United States, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert is asking the president to send more of them to Utah.

After filing trademark protections last year, the Utah-based e-commerce giant Backcountry.com has filed several lawsuits against organizations with the word “backcountry” in their names.

Utah’s three Republican congressmen voted against a resolution formalizing an impeachment probe into President Donald Trump Thursday. Democrat Ben McAdams supported the inquiry.

Photo of Interior Inspector General Mark Greenblatt.
U.S. House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations

The Interior Department’s chief watchdog updated Congress Wednesday on the agency’s efforts to curb a long-term pattern of sexual harassment. 

Photo of 2019 Salt Lake City mayoral candidates Erin Mendenhall and Luz Escamilla .
Brian Albers and Renee Bright / For KUER

Salt Lake City mayoral hopeful Erin Mendenhall raised a whopping $301,347 in just under three months, overtaking her opponent Luz Escamilla in fundraising since the Aug.13 primary.

The group, Conservatives Concerned About The Death Penalty, is just what it sounds: conservatives across the country questioning the use of capital punishment. 

The group’s members include hundreds of conservatives from 44 states — including Utah.

A man holds up a sign that reads "state of Utah constitution. Article 3, right to public lands / domain disclaimed by the State of Utah, May 8, 1895" while a policeman talks to him.
Kate Groetzinger / KUER

Senator Mike Lee, R-Utah, hosted a roundtable for the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining in Moab on Friday. He chairs that subcommittee, and invited Republican politicians from Utah, Arizona, Indiana, and Alaska to take part in the discussion. He framed it as a way to raise awareness of public land issues in Washington, D.C.

File: Utah Governor Gary Herbert

Gov. Gary Herbert says a proposed rule to ban the practice of conversion therapy on LGBTQ youth may require some fine-tuning after it was met with opposition from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints earlier this month.

Miniature Utah flag on a toothpick planted in a pile of gold coins.
iStock.com / eyegelb

Taxes on services remain unpopular in Utah as a legislative task force looks to expand the state’s revenue base by adding sales taxes on new things. That includes a range of services, from home repairs and tutoring to streaming media like Netflix. 

Photo of University of Utah students holding signs at a rally
Cami Mondeaux / KUER

A group of University of Utah students said they are still not feeling any safer on campus, despite the institution’s ongoing work to add or improve security measures in reaction to last year’s murder of track star Lauren McCluskey. 

Photo illustration of filling out tax forms.
iStock

Utah lawmakers are proposing new sales taxes on a list of items and services. At the same time, they plan to cut the state income tax rate and significantly boost tax breaks for children and dependents.

Photo of a yard sign with donkeys on it that says, "Just Vote No on Proposition 10."
Kate Groetzinger / KUER

San Juan County is holding a special election on Nov. 5 to ask voters if the county should explore changing its form of government. But the county may have failed to adequately notify Navajo voters about it, according to Niki Venugopal, a voting outreach coordinator with the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah. 

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. 

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KUER/NPR

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