Politics & Issues | KUER 90.1

Politics & Issues

Photo of billboard that reads "Seraph Young, First Woman To Vote."
Nicole Nixon / KUER

Utah is pulling out all the stops to celebrate the centennial of women’s voting rights and other suffragist anniversaries. Advocates and lawmakers have planned celebrations, lectures and events throughout 2020.

Photo of a ballot that includes the straight party vote option
Renee Bright / KUER

The option to cast a vote for every candidate of your preferred political party on the ballot by checking one box could see its demise in 2020.

Photo of three men is suits sitting in armchairs, with a group of microphones in the middle.
Sonja Hutson / KUER

Updated 1:39 p.m. MST 2/6/2020

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, met with Republican leadership in the Utah House and Senate Thursday to explain his vote to convict President Donald Trump on the first of two articles of impeachment.

Photo of Bears Ears Buttes.
KUER File Photo

Updated 2:24 p.m. MST 2/6/2020

In the face of ongoing litigation from tribes and conservation groups, the Trump administration has finalized plans to expand drilling, mining and grazing across southern Utah — including within the former bounds of Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments. 

Updated at 2:42 p.m. ET

President Trump declared victory on Thursday, a day after being acquitted by the Senate on two articles of impeachment, and lashed out at his political opponents in lengthy extemporaneous remarks.

"We went through hell, unfairly. I did nothing wrong," he said in a public statement from the White House.

"It was all bulls***," he said, tracing his impeachment woes back to investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.

Stock image of a wood-burning fireplace
iStock

Wednesday evening, Feb. 5, 2020

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. 

Aerial view of St. George, Utah.
iStock.com/alpenarts

High-speed trains from Salt Lake to Provo, Ogden and Zion National Park? It could be a reality under a Republican-sponsored bill at the Utah Legislature.

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. 

Photo of the Utah Senate gallery.
Lee Hale / KUER

In a move to prepare Utah’s water system for more explosive population grown, a bill to create a market system for temporarily buying and selling water rights is moving through the Utah State Senate. 

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. 

Updated at 7:35 p.m. ET

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told a group of Senate Republicans late Tuesday that he does not yet have the votes to stop Democrats from calling witnesses during the impeachment trial of President Trump, according to people familiar with the discussion.

But even as McConnell made the concession, the dynamic remains fluid. Whether Democrats' push for witnesses succeeds or fails could come down to a group of moderate Republicans who have remained open, but uncommitted, to new witnesses since the start of the trial.

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