Politics & Issues | KUER 90.1

Politics & Issues

Photo of Utah Capitol.
Austen Diamond for KUER

The Utah legislature wants to expand what the state can spend money earmarked for education on to include programs that support children and people with disabilities. But it will take a constitutional amendment to do so.

Photo of flags at the Utah State Capitol building
Cory Dinter / KUER

The state Legislature’s draft budget includes big wins for education and mental health programs, as well as money to increase state employee salaries. 

Photo of the inside of the Utah Capitol building.
KUER file

There’s less than a week left in Utah’s legislative session, which means lawmakers are busy trying to pass bills before the clock runs out at midnight Thursday, Mar. 12. 

Photo of students holding signs and waving flags outside the church headquarters
Lee Hale / KUER

In mid-February, Brigham Young University administrators quietly removed a section from the school’s honor code titled “homosexual behavior,” and many students celebrated it as a move in the right direction. It seemed that this change would allow gay students to openly date and show affection. 

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Gage Skidmore via Flickr

Updated 9:40 a.m. MST 3/10/2020 Former presidential candidate Steve Bullock is officially running for a Montana Senate seat, making the Mountain West region a big player in Democrats’ push to flip the U.S. Senate.

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

Conviction Integrity Units have been popping up in prosecutors' offices across the country: California, Texas and Salt Lake County to name a few. The units review convictions for new or non-disclosed evidence and can recommend that prosecutors try to vacate the conviction or modify the sentence. 

Photo of refinery.
Brian Albers / KUER

Refineries who have been slow to start producing Tier 3 fuel would still be eligible for a tax break under a bill unanimously passed by a state Senate committee unanimously Thursday. 

Photo of a man sitting behind a wooden desk, in front of several people sitting behind a large wooden desk.
Sonja Hutson / KUER

In an attempt to address the state’s “structural imbalance” of tax revenue, a state Senate committee approved a constitutional amendment Thursday that would allow money earmarked for education to be spent to “support children and to support individuals with a disability.” 

Photo of outside the Senate chambers at the Utah Capitol.
Cory Dinter for KUER

A bill that would require more financial oversight of charter schools passed a state Senate committee unanimously Thursday. 

Photo of a road sign that reads "stay alert talk or text later"

After an impassioned debate, the Utah Senate voted 19-8 to approve a bill that cracks down on distracted driving.

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

A Utah bill requiring the burial or cremation of fetuses would now only apply to abortions, not miscarriages, after changes made on the House floor Wednesday morning. 

Picture of a woman holding a sign that reads "keep public lands in public hands"
Kate Groetzinger / KUER

Support for the land transfer movement, which promotes shifting federal public land to state control, has flagged in recent years. 

Photo of Bernie Sanders supporters holding signs that read "Bernie" next to a cardboard cutout of Sanders.
Renee Bright / KUER

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has been declared the winner in the Utah Democratic primary by the Associated Press. With 59% of precincts reporting, Sanders had garnered just above 32% of the vote at time of publication Tuesday night.

Photo of people watching election results on a TV
Brian Albers / KUER

In politics, Utah leans heavily Republican. But it’s Democrats that are in the spotlight this Super Tuesday. To get more historical context on today’s primary, KUER’s Caroline Ballard spoke with BYU Emeritus Professor of Political Science David Magleby.

stevebott / Flickr

After changes to controversial superdelegate rules, the role of delegates in the Democratic Party is evolving. KUER’s Caroline Ballard spoke with University of Utah political science professor Matthew Burbank about what that means for the upcoming Democratic Convention. 

Photo of a sign that says vote here outside of a building
Jon Reed / KUER

Utahns joined voters in 13 other states on Super Tuesday to cast their votes in the Democratic primary. Turnout for the presidential primary broke the 2008 record, which was the last time Utah had a stand-alone primary.

Photo of a polling place at a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City
Sonja Hutson / KUER

Tuesday was the first time Utah participated in Super Tuesday. To get a better picture of everything in play in the primary, KUER’s Caroline Ballard spoke with University of Utah political science professor Matthew Burbank. 

Get the latest on Utah's primary races for president, governor and House.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.


Tuesday is the biggest primary day of the 2020 race, when 14 states are holding contests with 1,357 delegates at stake. Follow NPR's coverage for the latest news, analysis and results.

Photo of the dome of the Utah capitol building
Cory Dinter / KUER

Rep. Brad Daw, R-Orem, said he will not run a bill this legislative session banning transgender hormone therapy and surgery for minors. He has opted instead to run legislation to study puberty blocking drugs.

Photo of U.S. Capitol under blue sky.
Nicole Nixon / KUER

State lawmakers are considering a number of plans to reduce prescription drug costs this session, including a bill that would cap insulin copays and another that would allow the state to import drugs from other countries. 

Photo of a yurt
National Park Service

Utah lawmakers are picking up speed, moving lots of bills through the state Legislature. This week, the news was dominated by a bill essentially decriminalizing consensual polygamy, a $35 million affordable housing bill, and lawmakers coming to a compromise over revisions to an anti-gerrymandering law. KUER's Caroline Ballard met with political reporter Sonja Hutson in the Capitol Press Room to go over some other stories you may have missed. 

Photo of a man in a suit sitting behind a wooden desk and speaking into a microphone
Sonja Hutson / KUER

People in Utah seeking an abortion would have to get an ultrasound beforehand under a bill being considered in the stateUtah Llegislature. 

Screengrab from video of Gary Herbert speaking at a podium
PBS Utah video screengrab

At his monthly press conference, Gov. Gary Herbert weighed in on several high-profile issues facing Utah and the state Legislature, from censuring Sen. Mitt Romney to the state’s response to the coronavirus. 

Photo of a man in a suit standing at a wooden podium, with a group of people standing behind him
Sonja Hutson / KUER

Under a new compromise reached by a bipartisan group of Utah lawmakers and the group behind a new anti-gerrymandering law, an independent redistricting commission is required to adopt its own rules to ban partisan gerrymandering.

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Wikimedia Commons

A bill decriminalizing consensual polygamy is poised to pass the Utah Legislature. 

Photo of a man in a suit standing at a podium in a room full of wooden desks
Sonja Hutson / KUER

A $35 million housing bill passed the Utah Senate 16-11 Wednesday, although its sponsor does not think it will be fully funded. 

Photo of a room crowded with people holding campaign signs and listening to pete buttigeig speak on a stage in front of an American flag
Nate Hegyi / KUER

It’s a Monday night in Salt Lake City and thousands of people are gathering to hear Democratic presidential nominee Pete Buttigieg, former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, speak at a convention hall downtown. Parker and Chloe Woods have just driven an hour and a half from the university town of Logan, Utah, to be here. 

Picture of an African-American man speaking to a circle of four Black Student Union members. A whiteboard with the words, “Black Lives Matter,” is in the background.
David Fuchs/KUER

ST. GEORGE — When Justice Slayton learned that a Black Lives Matter chapter was opening in Southern Utah, she had a hard time wrapping her head around it.

 Photo of a man in a blue suit sitting behind a wooden desk, looking at a man and a woman sitting behind another wooden desk, speaking into microphones.
Sonja Hutson / KUER

More changes to the Utah Inland Port may be coming under legislation passed by a state House committee Tuesday.