Utah News

Utah News and UPR Newsline are productions of Utah Public Radio. Our news partners include: The Herald Journal.

Utah has a fairly low rate of child abuse fatalities compared to the rest of the country, but nationwide there are an estimated 4 to 8 child abuse related deaths every day. A report, released Thursday, from the Commission to End Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities highlights which steps the government should be taking when addressing those deaths.


Woman Returns to Retry Failed Rappell

Mar 17, 2016

In 2012, Brittany Fisher was a Utah State University student, spending her spring break rappelling Cougar Cliffs in St. George. Something went wrong and Fisher plummeted about a hundred feet to the rock below.

Letter Warns Of Potential Ballot Petition Fraud

Mar 17, 2016

Jonathan Johnson’s campaign manager has alleged that signature gatherers working for Gov. Gary Herbert may have used unethical means to get residents to sign the incumbent’s ballot access petition.

A letter detailing allegations of petition fraud were sent to Lt. Governor Spencer Cox, Attorney General Sean Reyes, and the state Republican Party. Dave Hansen, who is the head of Johnson’s campaign, said that he began hearing the rumors soon after the start of signature gathering.

Sierra Club

They say good fences make good neighbors, but the Rocky Mountains aren’t high enough to keep Utah’s poor air quality out of Colorado’s outdoor tourism industry. Utah’s Coloradoan neighbors weighed in on the Environmental Protection Agency’s public comment period that ended Monday night regarding which of the the two air pollution regulation proposals it should adopt.

Utah Supreme Court Deliberating Public Trust Case

Mar 16, 2016
Photo courtesy of Charles Uibel: http://www.gslcouncil.utah.gov/

The Utah Supreme Court is deliberating over a case involving state lands, specifically lake beds and other submerged lands located below navigable water bodies. According to the Utah Constitution such lands are to be held in trust for the people of Utah. However, some Utahns feel that the public do not have sufficient ability to challenge how these lands get used.  


Rob Dubuc, an attorney with Western Resources Advocates, explained the genesis of the case.


In September of 2015, a federal judge in Utah sided with a group of landowners from Cedar City, asserting that the commerce clause did not give the federal government jurisdiction to regulate the Utah prairie dog—a threatened species, in that the animal is found only within the state of Utah and has no commercial value.

Snakes Resist Toad Toxins

Mar 15, 2016
Colorado State University

Utah State University researchers have pinned down the genetic mutations that allow certain species of snakes to resist toad toxins.

Katie Peikes / UPR

For the first time in several years, Utah lawmakers did not discuss changes to the state's liquor laws during a legislative session despite a request by restaurant owners in the state to increase the number of licenses issued in Utah. 

Would More Local Control Improve Utah Schools?

Mar 9, 2016

While education funding was a highly debated issue during the 2016 legislative session, some politicians and members of the public are looking for other ways to improve Utah’s schools. A bill signed by Gov. Gary Herbert back in February allocated over $4 billion in total for education-related expenses.

Herbert Discusses California Coal Port Plan

Mar 9, 2016

A Utah lawmaker wants to invest $51 million in taxpayer money to build a coal shipping port in California. 

Utah Event Highlights Larger Refugee Issues

Mar 9, 2016

Rosie Hunter is a social work professor at the University of Utah and has worked with refugees and immigrants in Utah for over 15 years.

“So during that time I met many individuals who I met as 10 year olds or 12 year olds or 15 year olds youth who are now graduating from the University of Utah with bachelor’s and master’s degrees,” Hunter said.

Hunter will be moderating an event on Thursday at the University of Utah that will discuss the issues surrounding refugees and immigration, including ways to help young immigrants adjust to a new community.

Death Penalty Bill Passes Senate, Moves To House

Mar 7, 2016

Utah Senators discussed Senate Bill 189, Death Penalty Amendments on Monday morning. 

Utahns Ahead Of The Game On Anti-Trump Push

Mar 3, 2016

Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney spoke at the University of Utah on Thursday to voice his criticisms of GOP front-runner Donald Trump. While Romney called on voters to reject the New York businessman, Utah Republicans may already be one step ahead.


House Bill 440 - Suicide Prevention and Gun Data Study - passed unanimously in the Utah House Law Enforcement Committee, Tuesday. 

Herbert Weighs In On SLC Police Shooting

Mar 1, 2016

Gov. Gary Herbert has responded to the Saturday shooting of Abdullahi Omar Mohammed by two Salt Lake City police officers. Police say the 17-year-old failed to comply with an order to put down a weapon after officers responded to an altercation.

The Great Salt Lake is shrinking and we only have ourselves to blame. That’s the message of a new white paper released by Utah State University last week.

The water level of the Great Salt Lake is constantly fluctuating, both seasonally and from year to year as we cycle through periods of wet and dry, but that’s all just background noise to a distinct drying up trend over the past 150 years.

Utah House Votes On Childhood Sexual Abuse Bill

Feb 27, 2016

HB 279 passed in the House Friday, sponsored by Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan. The bill would change the law to allow those who were sexually abused as children to bring forward claims against their perpetrators until the victim is 53 years old.


The Utah House Health and Human Services Committee met Thursday to hear testimony on a bill allowing terminally-ill patients to commit suicide. The legislation, introduced by Salt Lake City Democratic Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck, is nearly identical to her similar bill last year.

A proposal that might ultimately end up funding large water-infrastructure projects like the Lake Powell and Bear River pipelines advanced out of a House committee Wednesday evening.  


Immunization Exemption Bill Passes in House Committee

Feb 25, 2016

House Bill 221, sponsored by Democratic Representative Carol Spackman Moss, preserves parents’ rights to exempt their children from immunizations. 


Utah Lawmakers have killed a legislative amendment that would have changed sex education programs in Utah’s schools. The majority of the House education committee members, made up of mostly male Republicans, voted against further discussion of what has been one of the more controversial topics this session.

Utah State Researchers Search for Zika Virus Cure

Feb 24, 2016

Researchers at the Utah State University Institute for Antiviral Research are out in front of the global outbreak of Zika virus.


Tuesday, federal law enforcement conducted raids on two businesses in the twin-FLDS polygamous towns of Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Arizona. 

Medicaid Expansion Sent To Senate Committee

Feb 19, 2016

SB 77, the latest attempt to expand Medicaid in Utah, was sent by the state Senate to a committee for further review on Thursday, with the hope that the legislation will be acceptable to legislative Republicans. The bill would give Governor Gary Herbert more leeway in talks with the federal government on funding.


It’s a sight Utahns are all too familiar with -- gray, smoggy air filled with dangerous particulate matter. Officials say sensitive groups like children and the elderly should be especially cautious during times of inversion. During red air days the air is unhealthy for everyone.