Utah Legislature | KUER 90.1

Utah Legislature

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Sonja Hutson / KUER

After nearly a year of debate, Utah lawmakers have passed a sweeping tax reform bill that cuts taxes by $160.5 million. 

Photo of the Utah state capitol building.
Austen Diamond / KUER

Utah lawmakers are expected to take up tax reform in a special session Thursday after a state task force approved legislation late last night aimed at cutting taxes by $160 million.

Photo of the Utah state capitol building.
Austen Diamond / KUER

Lawmakers will have an extra $682 million to spend next year, and legislative leaders say that’s a good reason to double a tax cut they’ve proposed as part of a sweeping tax reform bill.

Photo of men dressed as Santa Claus and the Grinch inside Utah's Capitol building.
Nicole Nixon / KUER

In a show of holiday bipartisanship, Santa Claus and the Grinch came together Friday with a message to Utah lawmakers: Don’t hold a special session on tax reform.

Photo of an evidence bag.
Renee Bright / KUER

After Utah lawmakers approved a bill in 2017 that gave more money to the state’s crime lab to process sexual assault kits, the head of that lab estimated it could clear the backlog of untested kits in 2018. Now, the Department of Public Safety said it will take until July 2020 to get caught up.

Photo inside the Utah State Capitol.
Austen Diamond / KUER

A tax cut for Utahns is a key ingredient to lawmakers’ plan to rewrite the state tax code. But under tax reform plans currently being considered, about one in five Utahns — mostly those without children — would pay more in taxes.

Austen Diamond for KUER

Friday night, a legislative task force released its third and likely final proposal for restructuring the state’s tax code. It comes ahead of a public hearing scheduled for 5 p.m. Monday.

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

Editor’s note: During impeachment inquiry hearings, KUER is offering news roundups from around the state and audio of those stories as a resource for our audience.

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Cory Dinter / For KUER

When Ginger Phillips was experiencing severe symptoms of her schizoaffective disorder, she used to end up in the emergency room a lot.

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

Draft legislation to regulate government use of facial recognition software was unveiled and subsequently abandoned Wednesday after some lawmakers worried it did not do enough to protect privacy.

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 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 empty Utah Senate Chamber.
Austen Diamond for KUER

Utah lawmakers approved a medical cannabis system that will use more privately-run dispensaries instead of public health departments to help distribute the drug. 

Photo of flag on Utah Capitol.
Cory Dinter for KUER

There are 31 U.S. states that give some sort of preference to veteran-owned businesses when awarding state contracts, according to a report presented at a Tuesday meeting of Utah’s Veterans and Military Affairs Commission. 

Photo of Utah Capitol at night.
Brian Albers / KUER

Utah lawmakers from both parties say they make take legislative action following admission by the Utah Department of Public Safety that the agency routinely runs facial recognition software through a state database of driver’s license and mugshot photos.

House Speaker Brad Wilson.
Austen Diamond for KUER

Utah lawmakers are promising a fresh start on tax reform proposals after major backlash against a bill earlier this year.

Austen Diamond for KUER

Utah lawmakers often pride themselves as a deliberative, decision-making body, spending just 45 days each year to pass legislation, but new research may suggest otherwise.

Renee Bright / KUER

Utah lawmakers will convene next week on Capitol Hill to hammer out a deal over Proposition 2, the ballot initiative voters approved to expand access to medical marijuana.

Photo of legislature.
Austen Diamond for KUER

Utah lawmakers are celebrating their newfound power to call themselves into special session without approval from Gov. Gary Herbert. Whether they’re playing coy by saying it will be used sparingly remains to be seen.

Photo of Hansen portrait.
Judy Fahys / KUER

Utah Republican and Democratic leaders remembered former Congressman Jim Hansen, Utah’s longest-serving member of the House, who died Wednesday at age 86.

school safety hearing
Rocio Hernandez / KUER

A state school safety committee asked lawmakers on Wednesday to budget almost $100 million to improve security at schools and hire more mental health professionals.

Austen Diamond / KUER

Parts of the Mountain West region have joined a number of state legislatures introducing tax credits to help low-income Americans. Utah could be the latest.

Judy Fahys/KUER News

Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes will not seek reelection at the end of the year. But he says he won’t be a lame duck, and expects his last session to be his best. 

Renee Bright / KUER

Earlier this year, a woman who works at the Utah Legislature was talking to a lawmaker in the hallway at the Utah State Capitol. It was a professional conversation — they were talking about a bill, when the lawmaker started fiddling with a button on his jacket. It was starting to come loose, and he hinted that he’d like her to sew it back on for him.

Julia Ritchey / KUER

West Jordan City Council has passed a resolution urging the state to stiffen penalties for those who commit hate crimes.

Legislative Fiscal Analyst


Half a billion dollars. That’s the amount Utah estimates it forgoes every year in sales tax due to the state’s abundance of exemptions.

 

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Gov. Gary Herbert has signed a bill to overhaul the state’s liquor laws. Meanwhile, state regulators are already preparing to work through the changes.

istock / aijohn784

Utah may become the first state in the country to have a legal blood alcohol limit of .05 after the state legislature passed a bill to lower it from the current .08. But members of the restaurant community are trying to get Gov. Gary Herbert to veto the bill.

istockphoto.com-franticstudio

Utah’s general legislative session ended midnight Thursday. During the past 45 days, lawmakers passed several bills dealing with serving and consuming alcoholic beverages. 

tab 1962, istock

Lawmakers gave final passage to a bill that would allow people as young as 18 years old to carry a concealed weapon.

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