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Welcome back to another session of the Utah Legislature … and another season of 45 Days!

Lawmakers have already filed hundreds of bills to consider during the next few weeks of legislative action, including a slew of controversial proposals dealing with abortion and LGBT issues.

Governor Herbert
screenshot KUED

Gov. Gary Herbert says he generally supports stiffening penalties for hate crimes — that includes protections for LGBTQ individuals — despite a long-stalled effort in the Legislature.

Rep. Cheryl Acton
Julia Ritchey / KUER

A Utah Republican lawmaker pushing for a ban on second trimester abortions says the addition of two conservative justices to the Supreme Court in recent years could provide more favorable conditions to pursuing a challenge to Roe v. Wade.

In 1983, Utah was the first state to lower its blood alcohol limit from 0.10 to 0.08 for impaired driving. It would take nearly two decades for every state to follow suit, but as they did, the nation's rate of alcohol-related traffic deaths dropped 10 percent. Now, Utah is pioneering the move to lower it once again.

Beginning Dec. 30 — yes, the day before New Year's Eve — Utahns will have to be extra careful about drinking and driving. On Sunday, the state's blood alcohol content limit will drop from 0.08 percent to 0.05 percent, marking the strictest DUI law in the country.

Governor's budget
Julia Ritchey / KUER

With an eye toward the state’s growing population and aging tax code, Gov. Gary Herbert unveiled a $19 billion budget on Wednesday with a $200 million sales tax cut proposal as well as full Medicaid expansion and an education boost.  

Utah lawmakers at special session.
Julia Ritchey / KUER

Updated 12/3/18 9:00 p.m.

Just two days after a sweeping new medical cannabis law went into effect, Utah lawmakers passed an overhaul of the measure in a special session at the state capitol on Monday.

istock / sdigital

Utah lawmakers are mulling legislation that would require firearms to be put in safety mode and locked away while they’re not being used. And while details are still being worked out, the idea is already getting pushback from the National Rifle Association (NRA).

Austen Diamond / KUER

Utah lawmakers approved revisions to a controversial law passed earlier this year creating an inland port, despite division among Salt Lake City leaders on the new version.

Austen Diamond / KUER

The Utah Legislature will meet in a special session Wednesday to address a laundry list of items, including a handful of tax bills — one of which would require payment of sales tax on most online purchases.

State Sen. Jim Dabakis announced his exit from the Legislature earlier this year in a video that captured the Salt Lake Democrat’s trademark theatrics.

Austen Diamond / KUER

On the first day state lawmakers were able to open new bill requests for the 2019 legislative session, Utah Democrats unveiled one of their top priorities: reducing gun violence.


Some candidates for legislative and county-level races can set their sights on the Nov. 6 election. Others are headed for primaries in June.

File Photo / KUER

Gov. Gary Herbert opposes a proposed ballot initiative to more broadly legalize medical cannabis in Utah and worries it would “potentially open the door to recreational use.”

Julia Ritchey / KUER

Utah state Sen. Margaret Dayton is resigning from the Legislature.

Austen Diamond / KUER

After Gov. Gary Herbert rejected two bills that lawmakers passed this year to give themselves more power, legislative leaders say they’re looking to override the vetoes.

Erik Neumann / KUER

Gov. Gary Herbert met his March 28 deadline to sign or decline the bills sent to him by state lawmakers. Here’s a look at what he vetoed and what he approved from the 2018 general session.


We are live in Cedar City this week for a special recap of the 2018 legislative session. Joining Julia and Nicole on stage are three Utah lawmakers from the region: Rep. Walt Brooks of St. George, Rep. John Westwood of Cedar City and Sen. Don Ipson of St. George. What laws will have the biggest effect on southern Utah and how did the legislature tackle some of the critical issues facing it? This show was taped at Southern Utah University in partnership with the Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics and Public Service.

Nicole Nixon / KUER

Recent gains by Democrats in special elections across the country have some Republicans worried about an anti-Trump wave come November. In Utah, a solidly red state, that looks less likely, but it hasn't stopped Democrats from fielding more candidates for statewide races.

Austen Diamond / KUER

Senate President Wayne Niederhauser has announced his retirement from state government, joining a mass exodus of longtime lawmakers from the Utah Legislature.

Austen Diamond / KUER


The 2018 Utah Legislature drew to a close on Thursday night, wrapping up their 45 day annual session with a $16.7 billion budget that increases funding for education, overhauls public transit and continues the fight against homelessness.

Julia Ritchey / KUER

The Utah lawmaker behind a controversial plan to rename a highway after President Trump quietly withdrew his proposal after facing criticism.

Austen Diamond / KUER

Utah lawmakers are using their last two days of the legislative session to finalize a $16.7 billion budget plan that includes $10 million to help tackle homelessness and $8.5 million to get the state's Winter Olympics facilities ready for another bid for the games.

Julia Ritchey / KUER

Utah’s Republican majority is pushing through some last-minute changes to laws that could complicate this year’s general election.

Austen Diamond / KUER

The 2018 Utah legislative session ends Thursday night, and lawmakers are passing bills at a breakneck pace. More than 60 were passed on Tuesday alone. Here’s a look at some of them:

Julia Ritchey / KUER

A coalition of tribal groups and House Democrats are calling on the state to give Native Americans a better seat at the table when making policy decisions.

Kelsie Moore / KUER

A bill making its way quickly through the Utah legislature could create the largest Medicaid expansion in the state in years. That’s the state and federal low-income health insurance program. But, it comes with a catch.

Austen Diamond / KUER

State lawmakers unveiled a funding compromise Tuesday that could sidestep a ballot initiative to raise money for schools.

Austen Diamond for KUER

Sen. Diedre Henderson, R-Spanish Fork, used to bring a calculator to the grocery store.

Austen Diamond / KUER

Utah lawmakers advanced a bill Monday giving the Lt. Governor authority to ignore the state GOP’s controversial rule change targeting candidates who gather signatures.

Whittney Evans/KUER

Utah will not abolish the death penalty this year. A bill to outlaw capital punishment in the state died Friday on the House floor.