Roger McDonough

Reporter

Roger McDonough was born and raised in Salt Lake City, but has lived in Argentina, Bolivia, Virginia, New Jersey and Southern California. He holds an MA in Public Policy and Development Management from Georgetown University, a parallel degree from the Universidad Nacional de San Martín (Argentina), and a BA in English from the University of Utah. He is a practiced freelance print and radio journalist and joins our news team after several years in the nonprofit world. Roger says he is drawn to public radio because he’s an auditory learner, and calls radio “the best medium in the world.”

The ACLU of Utah is suing the state - demanding that it continue to recognize those same-sex marriages that were performed during the short window the practice was legal in Utah.

John Mejia, Legal Director for the ACLU of Utah said the Herbert administration is going against both the Utah and Federal Constitutions by not recognizing marriages conducted during the window of time when same-sex marriage was legal in the state.

“In refusing to recognize those marriages they have violated the due process clauses of the Utah constitution and the US Constitution. So we are asking the court to grant declaratory relief and injunctive relief that will require the state to recognize all of those marriages going forward,” Mejia said.  

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced today that the federal government would recognize same-sex marriages performed while gay marriage was legal in Utah. 

Saying that the recent stay granted by the U.S. Supreme Court had cast doubt on the marriages, Holder said all the federal benefits of marriage would apply for Utah same-sex couples.

“I am confirming today that for purposes of federal law, these marriages will be recognized as lawful, and considered eligible for all relevant federal benefits on the same terms as other same-sex marriages,” Holder said.

The state of Utah has said that it will not recognize the marriages of same-sex couples who were married after a federal judge struck down Utah's ban on gay marriage last month.

As a result same-sex couples married in Utah between that Dec. 20 decision and the order on Monday by the U.S. Supreme Court to stay the decision - cannot reap the benefits of legal marriage. KCPW's Roger McDonough has the story:

Derek Miller, Gov. Gary Herbert's chief of staff, says the state believes the stay by the Supreme Court means that gay marriage must once again not be recognized in Utah:

The anti-secrecy group Wikileaks released on Wednesday one chapter of the draft text of what would be the largest-ever economic trade deal between nations. Next week, Salt Lake City will play host to a chief-negotiators-summit for that deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The negotiations surrounding the largest international trade deal since the creation of the World Trade Organization 18 years ago have been so secret that it's likely you haven't even heard of the agreement. And this despite the fact the chief negotiators of the mega-agreement on trade, between more than 12 member nations will be gathering at the Grand America Hotel in downtown Salt Lake City, beginning Tuesday Nov. 19.

The Trans-Pacific-Partnership, or TPP, has drawn strong criticism from those concerned that the secretive pact would rewrite U.S. laws and undermine democracy while protecting corporate interests. Today the pro-transparency group Wikileaks undermined some of that secrecy by leaking a draft chapter of the proposed agreement- a chapter that deals with intellectual property rights.

gillibrand.senate.gov

Part 1 of Roger McDonough's report:

The Senate voted Tuesday to proceed in their deliberations on immigration reform. KCPW’s Roger McDonough spoke with Mark Alvarez, a Salt Lake attorney, Spanish language radio host and Immigration Specialist with Telemundo Utah, to get an update on the reform process, and to hear about the human element often lost in the debate.

More than 200 protestors gathered on Saturday to denounce Utah’s so-called “Ag-Gag” law. The law, which was signed by Governor Herbert in 2012, prohibits unauthorized filming or photography at agricultural facilities. This weekend’s protest was organized after charges were filed – and then dropped –  against a woman who filmed activities at a slaughterhouse in Draper.

A new agreement between the state of Utah and federal regulators means that Utah will have two health insurance marketplaces – one for individuals run by the federal government and one for small businesses run by the state through its existing “Avenue H” online health exchange.“We think other states might want to consider following the example we’re setting here and finding a fourth way, which we think for a variety of reasons provides a better option,” Gov. Herbert said. Listen to the full story here. 

A coalition of environmental and community organizations are asking the Utah Department of Transportation to reevaluate their proposal for the West Davis Corridor, a 24-mile highway that would skirt the Great Salt Lake to the north of the Farmington Bay Wildlife Management Area.

Tim Wagner is from the Utah Sierra Club and said that a draft plan by the Utah Department of Transportation to build a 4-lane highway along the banks of the Great Salt Lake is misguided.

Late last month, the US Interior Department finalized a new set of rules pertaining to Oil Shale and Tar Sands development on federal lands.

A new ruling by the Department of the Interior means that 680,000 acres of BLM land in the west will be available for leasing for research and development of oil shale, and nearly 130,000 acres will be opened up for testing tar sands production in Utah.

Those numbers are much lower than first planned, when rules on oil shale and tar sands leases were crafted in the waning days of the Bush Administration.

Governor Gary Herbert is close to making a decision on whether to sign an agreement that would authorize the construction of a pipeline from the Snake Valley in Utah’s West Desert to Las Vegas Nevada. But activists say signing the agreement could spell environmental doom.

Hundreds of civil rights advocates gathered at Salt Lake City’s library square on Monday night for a candlelight vigil and rally in advance of the US Supreme Court’s hearings on the issue of gay marriage this week. KCPW’s Roger McDonough reports.

The legislature hurried to address a problem with Utah law that could have a bearing on ongoing investigations into alleged ethics violations by Utah Attorney General John Swallow.

Among the more than 200 bills considered by the Utah legislature on its final day was a newcomer. Senate Bill 289 sought to fix a problem with the law that gives the state Attorney General the power to investigate himself in cases of ethics violations.

A bill that would put state gun laws above federal laws passed out of committee on Monday, after key provisions were amended to soften the legislation's language.