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Utah Legislature
4:02 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

No Vote from Senate on "Stricter Than EPA" Air Quality Bill

Credit April Ashland

The clean air community had high hopes for SB 164, which did not pass out of the Senate Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment committee on Tuesday. Jennifer Pemberton has more on the bill’s short life.

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Utah Legislature
4:56 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Urquhart Sticks With LGBT Non-Discrimination Bill

The entrance to the Senate Chamber at the Utah State Capitol is seen covered in messages in support of State Sen. Stephen Urquhart's anti-discrimination bill.
Credit Ryan Cunningham

On Friday, Sen. Steve Urquhart (R) reaffirmed his support for his LGBT non-discrimination bill - S.B. 100.

At an afternoon press conference, he encouraged Utahns to come to the Senate Chamber doors and post messages asking the Senate to hear his bill.

Posting a blue note on the Senate Chamber doors that simply says, “Hear SB 100,” Sen. Steve Urquhart entreated other Utahns to do the same in support of his LGBT anti-discrimination bill.

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Utah Legislature
5:42 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

USU Presents At Higher Education Appropriations Meeting

USU President Stan Albrecht spoke at the higher education appropriations subcommittee meeting this afternoon. This marks the beginning of USU’s quest for funding at this year’s legislature.

Today’s meeting was not a request for any funding, but rather a presentation before the committee on the current university budget.

"What we've done to manage our budgets during the downturn from a few years ago; efficiencies have been created, maybe things that have been reallocated or things that have been cut," said Neil Abercrombie, director of governmental relations for USU.

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Utah Legislature
5:10 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Utah Senate Leaders Have No Decision On Medicaid Expansion

Sen. Ralph Okerlund (right) says no decision has been made on whether or not to expand Medicaid.

Senate leaders said no big decisions have been made on Medicaid expansion, though no potential options have been ruled out.

On Friday, Senate majority leader Ralph Okerlund said Republicans have barely scratched the surface on that topic in Senate caucus meetings, and no position has been taken.

“At this point, I believe all of the options are still out there on the table for our caucus,” Okerlund said. “We’re still willing to look at everything, and I suspect that (among) our caucus members, you’d find that we’ve got a lot of different opinions on whether we should go, at this point, with one of the options or with full expansion.”

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Utah News
5:40 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

State Senators Visit Lunchless Elementary Students

Parents say they are outraged after elementary school children had their food thrown out because of outstanding balances on their account. Jim Dabakis visited some of those students during school lunch today.

State Sen. Jim Dabakis and Sen. Todd Weiler visited the Uintah Elementary School in Salt Lake City Thursday to eat lunch with victims of a school lunch scandal.

It is estimated 30 elementary school children had their lunches thrown out after their parents didn’t pay the lunch fee.

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Utah Education
6:09 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Undergrads Share Research With Lawmakers At Capitol

Undergraduate researchers from Utah State University and the University of Utah will gather at the rotunda in the State Capitol Thursday to present their research to state legislators.

Research on Capitol Hill was founded 14 years ago as a way for universities to showcase undergraduate research.

Scott Bates is involved with deciding which USU students present at the capitol. He calls the event a distinct experience for undergraduates and lawmakers, some of whom are in charge of state funding for research grants.

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Utah Legislature
5:30 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

League of Women Voters on Capital Hill

The League of Women Voters met during the first day of the Utah State legislation.
Credit April Ashland

The Utah League of Women Voters gave an orientation of ways to lobby lawmakers during an onsite orientation on Monday at Capitol Hill.

Members of the league met in a room in the basement of the state capital, ate lunch, discussed the process of how bills become laws.

“Our founders believed women could vote their own heart and their own minds but like anybody they need education," said Jenn Gonnelly, co-president of the Utah League of Women Voters.

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Utah Legislature
4:44 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Senate Bill Would Phase Out Tax Credits, Fund Education

Credit Utah Public Radio

Gov. Gary Herbert's proposed education budget for the next fiscal year is more than $5 billion, but some Utah legislators want to take it a step further.

Sen. Patricia Jones, (D-Salt Lake County), is the sponsor of Senate Bill 118, which would gradually phase out tax exemptions for families with children over a five-year period. Using the extra income generated from this, SB 118 would set up a funding plan that allocates the money to public schools for use on school improvement plans.

Speaking just outside the Senate chambers in the state capitol, Jones highlighted what the money could be used for.

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Access Utah
10:56 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Opening Day at the Legislature on Monday's Access Utah

On the opening day of the 2014 Utah Legislature we’re at the State Capitol. We’ll speak with Utah Governor Gary Herbert; Senate Majority Leader Ralph Okerlund; Senate Minority Leader Gene Davis; House Majority Leader Brad Dee; and House Assistant Minority Whip Rebecca Chavez-Houck. We’ll discuss air quality, education, the economy, Medicaid expansion, the budget and more.

Utah Legislature
6:38 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

At Legislative Opening, House Speaker Comes Out Strong

House Speaker Becky Lockhart kicked off the 2014 legislative session with critical words for Governor Gary Herbert on Monday.

In her opening remarks on the floor of the House, the Prove Republican asked lawmakers to encourage Herbert “to lead and not just follow” and to “be innovative and not just reactive.”

She said Utah needs energy in the governor’s office, not “an inaction figure.”

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