Politics

utahstatecapitol.utah.gov

A committee of lawmakers in Utah's House of Representatives has signed off on the creation of a new legislative oversight committee that would have broad power to investigate state and local governments, ranging from the governor's office down to an individual school.

The proposal from Republican Rep. Keven Stratton of Orem was rejected earlier this month as some Republicans joined Democrats in opposing the measure citing worries that the committee would go too far in expanding the Legislature's power.

usgs.gov

Utah lawmakers want the state to set aside $2 million to sue California over rules that make coal-fired power more expensive.

The proposal from Republican Rep. Mike Noel passed through a subcommittee Tuesday with only one Democratic lawmaker raising any objections. Noel says California's policy is hurting coal miners in his rural district and violates the U.S. Constitution's Commerce Clause.

Will Tax Cuts Leave Big Idaho Families In The Lurch?

Feb 12, 2018
JSquish / Wikimedia

According to the nonpartisan Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy's analysis of the House bill passed last week, families that fall in the top 5 percent of earners, with three or more children will see a decrease in taxes. However, middle-class families will actually see an increase in their taxes.

A Utah lawmaker has introduced a bill that would create a pilot Utah State University Extension program to help boost employment in rural parts of the state.

Republican State Rep. Michael Noel says the legislation — named the "Rural Online Initiative" — if signed into law by Gov. Gary Herbert, would put rural counties on pace to meet the 25,000 jobs in five years goal proposed last year by the chief executive's office.

Bill To Thwart Elections Compromise Fails

Feb 9, 2018
Katherine Taylor

On Thursday, the Utah House of Representatives rejected a bill that would undermine a contentious compromise over elections. House Bill 68 would have given political parties the power to decide whether candidates could take a “single path” or “duel path” to the ballot.

Special elections coiuld be changed with proposed bill.
fairfieldct.org

A proposed bill would eliminate primaries in special elections in Utah — allowing only a general election.

Republican State Rep. Dan McCay unveiled the bill Wednesday. In most cases, the bill would give parties 30 days to determine their nominees in any way they choose.

Republican Rep. Jon Stanard resigns after records show public paid for hotel tied to prostitute.
chipiona.org

Records show taxpayer funds were used to pay for at least two hotel rooms that a Utah lawmaker who resigned this week is alleged to have used to meet up with a prostitute last year.

After the British newspaper the Daily Mail reported allegations Thursday that Republican Rep. Jon Stanard twice hired a prostitute in 2017, House and state elections officials said they were checking to see if taxpayer or campaign money was used for the hotel stays that the report alleges Stanard booked.

A pair of lawsuits by two former state prosecutors alleging they were retaliated against and forced out of their jobs at the Utah Attorney General's Office for reporting wrongdoing and harassment raises new questions about an office that is only four years removed from a major scandal.

Former Assistant Attorney General Paul G. Amann alleges in his lawsuit that he was wrongly fired in late 2016 for reporting office employees who misused funds and retaliated against whistleblowers.

A proposal aimed at adding safeguards for the practice of "free-range parenting" has now been passed by both the Utah House and Senate.

Representatives in the House unanimously passed a bill Wednesday that ensures parents are not accused of neglect for allowing mature kids to do things alone like travel to school, explore a playground or stay in the car.

Katherine Taylor

Citing successful legal and lobbying efforts from last year to see two Utah national monuments downsized, a nonprofit organization is once again asking the state to fund its operations. As it did at the 2017 legislature, the Foundation for Integrated Resource Management or FIRM is again requesting $500,000 from the state. 

Medically complex children pilot program
Guardian Angels of America Foundation

In 2015, a pilot program was approved by the Utah Legislature giving financial assistance to families with children who have complex medical conditions, such as a disability and who don't typically qualify for Medicaid. The funds for the program run out in June. This year, H.B. 100 would give the program ongoing funding by a Medicaid waiver. 

blm.gov

From its headquarters in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Bureau of Land Management oversees vast expanses of public lands rich in oil, gas, coal, grassland and wildlife habitat.

But more than 99 percent of it is in 12 Western states, hundreds of miles from Washington.

Raising campaign cash is banned during the legislative session.
yehey.org

Utah lawmakers and the governor are barred from raising campaign cash during the legislative session and they want to ensure the attorney general and other top elected officials face a similar ban.

Democratic Rep. Mark Wheatley of Murray has introduced a bill banning the attorney general, lieutenant governor, state auditor, state treasurer or any political action committees they control from raising funds while lawmakers are passing bills and the officials are weighing in.

Our Schools Now, an education initiative, could potentially be cancelled out.
kpcw.org

A Utah lawmaker is sponsoring a bill that would void an education initiative if it passes because he says the initiative's goals could be reached without sales and income tax hikes.

Republican state Rep. Mike Schultz of Hooper is sponsoring the bill that would cancel out the Our Schools Now initiative's effort to boost annual education funding by $715 million through a combination of tax increases.

Delivery robots could be allowed on Utah sidewalks.
slchalfcent.org

A bill that would modify Utah traffic code to allow delivery robots to roam sidewalks has advanced through the state House Transportation Committee.

The committee on Wednesday unanimously voted in favor of modifying the traffic code. Such personal delivery robots fall under the legal definition of an automobile, so the bill aims at carving out a safe space in wording so the bots can operate.

portland.gov

Salt Lake Democratic State Senator Jani Iwamoto wants to make the penalty for killing a police dog more severe. Her Senate Bill 57 would make killing a police service animal a second degree felony, instead of the third degree felony that it is now. 

One of two halfway houses in Utah providing services to exclusively women
Utah Department of Corrections

House Bill 126 seeks to change where paroled inmates are housed. If passed, the number of offenders being sent to halfway houses in Utah would be capped depending on the population of the community. 

Idaho National Laboratory/Flickr

Idaho lawmakers are holding public hearings Thursday and Friday on proposed science standards for Idaho public schools. 

At issue: how, or whether, those standards should address climate change. 

A bag of medical marijuana; Medical marijuana and marijuana for research purposes passes first committee meeting.
theinfluence.org

A Utah lawmaker's proposals that would allow terminally ill people to use certain forms of marijuana and farmers to grow it for research purposes passed their first hurdle in a committee despite criticism that the piecemeal approach doesn't go far enough.

Rep. Brad Daw, a Republican from Orem, said during a hearing Wednesday that the measures help dying people try another alternative that may help and provides a way for researchers to get marijuana locally.

DACA discussed on Capitol Hill; Latino Boy Scouts contribute to community
templesquare.com

During their 2018 legislation session, Utah lawmakers, like national political leaders, are trying to determine how to serve children of immigrants who have been brought to the state illegally. 

The list of crimes warranting the death penalty could grow larger.
busy.org

A Utah lawmaker wants to make it a death penalty offense to kill a security guard or paramedic, but prosecutors are warning that change could threaten capital punishment.

Democratic Sen. Karen Mayne said Monday her plan would help protect emergency first responders who might be targeted. A Senate committee approved her proposal 5-1.

Deseret News

On the day President Trump is set to deliver his first State of the Union Address, we’ll talk politics with Deseret News columnists LaVarr Webb and Frank Pignanelli.

Katherine Taylor

A bill introduced in the House Judiciary Committee Thursday seeks to prohibit abortions, if the reason for the procedure is a positive diagnosis of Down syndrome.

 

 

On Thursday, legislators printed the bill that would allow states to convene a convention under Article Five of the Constitution once 34 states had signed on. Convention seekers want to add a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, and with only six more states needed, groups are making a strong push in Idaho.

Salt Lake City and the Wasatch Front is in need of careful preparation and planning for the coming population boom.
inaturalist.org

A regional planning group told local leaders that Utah's rapidly growing population could double commute times, ramp up housing costs and amplify air-quality problems in the coming decades without careful planning along the Wasatch Front urban core.

Executive Director of the Wasatch Front Regional Council Andrew Gruber warned a crowd of mayors, city council members and other local officials of the looming population boom Tuesday at the Wasatch Choice 2050 + Mayor's Metro-Solutions Symposium.

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