No Medicaid Deal As Legislative Session Ends

Mar 12, 2015

Any chance for a deal between supporters of Gov. Gary Herbert’s Healthy Utah Medicaid expansion and rival plan Utah Cares have died with the conclusion of this year’s legislative session. It was announced that no agreement had been reached during a Thursday press conference with the Governor and legislative leaders. However, there is hope that the issue could be resolved through a special session of the legislature.

Speaking on Wednesday, Herbert said that Healthy Utah was the best option for dealing with the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion mandate.

Image of 50 best Utah Hikes book
Wilderness Press

What flowers are edible and can (or should!) be included with your cooking? Today is the first Tasty Trek with Darla and Michelle.

Link to Edible Flowers in Utah

What are the 50 best short hikes in Utah's National Parks? Listen to author Greg Witt.

Do you need solace or comfort...or just need to learn how to enjoy life? It's Petals and Prose with Helen Cannon.

New Tesla Dealer In Utah Hits Roadblock

Mar 11, 2015

If you’re in the market for a new car and are thinking a Tesla might be the way to go, be prepared to make the purchase out of state.

The opening of a new Tesla Motors dealership in Salt Lake City is on hold after lawmakers voted against revising a key state law.

Currently there is a provision that prohibits manufacturers from opening up sales locations that would compete with privately owned dealerships.

However, James Chen, vice president of regulatory affairs for Tesla Motors said his company doesn't operate using business models other dealers use.

Gilman Halsted is the Criminal Justice reporter in Madison. He covers the courts and the prison system also writes and produces general assignment stories for the daily state newscasts.

Gilman began his career in journalism late in life. He spent ten years as a social worker and then English teacher in Bangladesh, Washington DC, India and Wisconsin before landing his first job as a Public Radio reporter in Kenosha in 1988. He worked for three years as the news director at a Community College Station in Panama City, Florida, then for six years as a Wisconsin Public Radio regional bureau reporter in Wausau. He has been working in Madison since the summer of 2000.

On Monday, a large crowd of parents and educators gathered at the state capital to join in a rally calling for the approval of Republican Gov. Gary Herbert’s plan to increase per-pupil spending. In his plan, Herbert called for an increase of 6.25 percent with lawmakers proposing an alternative raise of just 4 percent.

The different rates mean that there is an $80 million disparity between the two plans. While he appreciates the fact that a large amount of funding is still being considered, Herbert said that Utah is able to afford his plan thanks to the state’s robust economy.

A bill that would enact tougher punishments for cockfighting is on the verge of passing in the Utah Legislature.

Currently in Utah, cockfighting-associated offenses are considered misdemeanors under state law. But Senate Bill 134 would make a third offense a third-degree felony. The bill was proposed by Democratic Senator Gene Davis of Salt Lake City—though his original draft called for felony charges upon first offense.

Utah Legislature Votes To Revive Firing Squad

Mar 11, 2015
Associated Press

Utah’s Republican-controlled state legislature voted Tuesday to bring back executions by firing squad.

It is being called the most dramatic illustration yet of the nationwide frustration over botched executions and shortages of the drugs used in lethal injections. The bill would allow firing squads if there is a deficiency of these drugs.

American Civil Liberties Union of Utah Legal Director John Mejia says the bill has already brought negative attention to the state.

billboard for airport

A dwindling number of air carriers serve remote towns with federal subsidies from the Essential Air Service, or EAS program. In Utah, they include Moab, Vernal and Cedar City. In May, two out of the three are set to lose their air service to Salt Lake City. It’s a game of musical chairs that isn’t set to end soon.

HB 391, the “Utah Death with Dignity Act,” would allow physicians to prescribe lethal doses of medication to terminally ill persons, under certain circumstances. Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck, D-Salt Lake City says she sponsored the bill in response to the recent plight of Brittany Maynard, a California woman with a terminal brain tumor who moved to Oregon (which has had such a law in place since 1994) so she could die on her own terms. A poll by shows that 63% of Utahns support such legislation. On Wednesday’s AU we’ll ask you what you think.


A Caffe Ibis roaster holds freshly roasted beans.
Elaine Taylor

In late February Caffe Ibis coffee roaster Brandon Despain went from coffee competition newbie to first place winner of the US Coffee Championship. Despain began working for the Logan-based café as a barista a decade ago. He eventually transitioned to the position of roaster, training under late Caffe Ibis Co-owner and Roastmaster Randy Wirth.