Politics & Issues | KUER 90.1

Politics & Issues

Photo of the Tooele County District Court building.
Google Street View

Not much is known yet about the motives behind the shooting last weekend in Grantsville. The suspect though is 16-year-old Collin Haynie, accused of killing his mother and three of his siblings in their family home. 

Utah has become the 19th — and most conservative — state in the U.S. to ban "conversion therapy" for minors. The widely discredited practice, aimed at changing a patient's sexual orientation or gender identity, is now formally barred in the state after the new rule took effect late Tuesday.

A spokesperson for Republican Gov. Gary Herbert, who directed licensing regulators to make the change, confirmed the move to NPR on Wednesday.

Photo of the U.S. Capitol building as viewed from the Senate side.
iStock

Utah Sen. Mitt Romney is among a small group of Republican senators that could hold the key to how the Senate impeachment trial plays out.

Photo of Navajo Mountain
Kate Groetzinger / KUER

NAVAJO MOUNTAIN — Big, wet snowflakes fell on this small community on the Navajo Nation yesterday, blanketing its red dirt roads and thwarting the San Juan County Commission’s latest attempt to hear from residents of the Utah Navajo strip. 

 

Photo of Matheson Courthouse.
Brian Albers / KUER

Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson and Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall are among the more than 30 people who have submitted public comments in favor of allowing certain young immigrants to practice law in Utah. 

Photo of Brad Wilson inside the Utah State Capitol building.
Austen Diamond for KUER

Utah’s general legislative session begins next week. That means until mid-March, lawmakers will be debating and voting on bills that could affect Utahns. 

KUER’s political team, Nicole Nixon and Sonja Hutson sat down with House Speaker Brad Wilson to get a preview of this year’s session. 

Illustration of U.S. Capitol.
Annette Elizabeth Allen for NPR

The Senate is holding a trial on the impeachment of President Donald Trump, who is accused by the U.S. House of abusing his power and obstructing Congress. Each day of the trial will stream through this player as proceedings begin. At the conclusion of the trial, senators are expected to vote on whether Trump should be removed from office.

Rep. Craig Hall on the floor of the Utah House of Representatives.
Cory Dinter for KUER

Information from popular at-home DNA test kits are increasingly being used by police to identify suspects as part of an emerging trend in criminal investigations.

Photo of Utah valley.
Sonja Hutson / KUER

Speaking before the Silicon Slopes Tech Summit in 2018, Gov. Gary Herbert hailed the Utah tech industry’s contribution to the state.

Photo of a family hugging with balloons and flowers.
Rocio Hernandez / KUER

Imelda Vasquez’s heart first broke 38 years ago.

That’s when her younger brother, Raul, left their native Michoacan in central Mexico to find a better paying job in the United States. He left behind his children who Vasquez, now 62, raised as her own.

Photo of Erin Mendenhall making the announcement outside.
Nicole Nixon / KUER

On the 11th day of her term as Salt Lake City Mayor, Erin Mendenhall fulfilled a campaign promise by announcing that a city-owned building in Sugar House will house 145 emergency beds for homeless residents.

Headshot of Rob Bishop in front of an American flag.
Wikimedia Commons

Former Utah Republican Party Chair Thomas Wright announced Thursday that Utah Congressman Rob Bishop is joining his ticket as a candidate for lieutenant governor. 

Photo of student speaking at a podium with several students standing behind him.
Jessica Lowell / KUER

Wednesday evening, Jan. 15, 2020

Jon Reed / KUER

About a year after major reforms to Utah’s juvenile justice system, early indications show the state is heading in the right direction, detaining fewer kids and reducing staffing inefficiencies. 

Headshots of Mike Lee and Ben McAdams
KUER file

Two members of Utah’s Congressional Delegation — Republican Sen. Mike Lee and Democrat Rep. Ben McAdams — are responding very differently to the Trump administration’s handling of the fatal airstrike against Iran’s top general. 

Photo of an asylum application in front of an American flag.
iStock

Immigration judges in Utah and across the country made a record number of decisions on asylum cases last year. About 70% of those 67,406 decisions were denials, according to data released last week by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), a think tank at Syracuse University. 

Photo of buildings in downtown Salt Lake City
Brian Albers / KUER

In Utah, one in eight households is cost-burdened by their housing, meaning they pay more than 50% of their income towards it. That’s according to a 2018 report from the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute. Wages have not kept up with rising housing costs, and the state has an approximately 50,000 unit housing shortage, according to that same report. 

Woman sits at table signing paper.
Nicole Nixon / KUER

Ron Van Otten is camped out in a conference room at the Davis County Library. For several hours a day this month, he’s been greeting people who come to sign a petition against a controversial tax reform measure approved by lawmakers in a December special session.

Photo of Rodney Chatman sitting at a table in a police uniform.
Courtesy of the University of Utah

The University of Utah has selected Rodney Chatman, the executive director of public safety and chief of police at the University of Dayton, as its new police chief. 

Photo of Greg Hughes announcing his bid for governor at an auto shop.
Jessica Lowell / KUER

Former Utah House of Representatives Speaker Greg Hughes announced Wednesday he is jumping into the race for governor.

Screenshot from a video of Mike Lee speaking to reporters.
C-SPAN

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, broke from his own party Wednesday and announced he’ll side with Democrats in support of a resolution scaling back President Donald Trump’s military powers in Iran.

Man stands at a podium with the Utah state seal.
Sonja Hutson / KUER

Updated 3:56 p.m. MDT 01/08/19:

Continuing his focus on education and managing Utah’s growth, Gov. Gary Herbert unveiled a $20 billion budget proposal Wednesday that includes $100 million to improve air quality, an endowment to preserve open spaces and an education funding boost. 

Four men in heavy winter coats gather around a pic-nic table with a sign that reads “Keep the Road Home Open. Housing is a human right. Party for Socialism and Liberation.” Tents and the City County Building are in the background.
Brian Albers / KUER

Monday evening, Jan. 6, 2020

The race for Utah’s 4th Congressional District launched in earnest this weekend, as several candidates held kickoff events, volunteer trainings and started to gather signatures to get on the ballot. 

Photo of marijuana poured out on top of a medical prescription.
iStock

Friday afternoon, January 3, 2020

Photo of Sen. Mitt Romney
KUER file

U.S. forces killed a top Iranian general, Qassem Soleimani, in a targeted airstrike at the Baghdad airport early Friday morning local time. The U.S. Department of Defense said Soleimani was “actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region.” Iran said it will will retaliate harshly.

Photo of students raising their hands in a classroom.
iStock

Thursday evening, January 2, 2020

Sonja Hutson / KUER

Updated 11:48 a.m. MST 1/3/20

Former Utah Republican Party Chair Thomas Wright announced Thursday he is jumping into the increasingly crowded governor’s race. 

At a rally last November in Las Vegas, a reporter noted Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet’s experience leading Denver Public Schools, and asked the presidential candidate, “With your experience in the education area, [how] would you use that experience as president to help the education system?”

It’s an unremarkable question—except for the fact that it was posed by a 12-year-old.

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