Utah News

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

As a way of changing the face of men’s health a group from Melbourne, Victoria organized an event challenging each other to grow a mustache for 30 days, to raise awareness for prostate cancer and depression in men.  That was more than ten years ago.

The Movember Challenge has made its way from Australia to campuses throughout the United States, including Utah State University.

Utah Political Donation Law Challenged

Nov 17, 2015

A lawsuit was filed Tuesday that aims to challenge a Utah law concerning donations to nonprofit organizations. House Bill 43 was intended to combat the use of nonprofits to hide the identities of donors to political causes. Critics of the law claim that HB 43 infringes upon the free speech rights of Utahns.

Libertas Institute is one of the groups pursuing legal action to challenge the law. The organization’s president, Connor Boyack, said that Utah already has the tools to prosecute so-called “dark money” and that HB 43 has kept Libertas from engaging in public advocacy.

Utah Students Seek Tuition Change

Nov 16, 2015

On Thursday, 65 students gathered at the University of Utah advocating for free tuition at public universities, forgiveness of all student debt, and implementation of a $15 minimum hourly wage for university employees.

Ian Decker from the Revolutionary Student Union helped organized the event called Million Students March.

3,500 Leave LDS Church In Mass Resignation

Nov 16, 2015
Morgan Pratt

Recent changes to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints bishop handbook spurred thousands of Mormons to officially leave the church on Saturday. Many of those people met at City Creek park in Salt Lake City to fill out their resignation paperwork, which they then sent in the mail to the church headquarters.

There were 2,500 people in attendance at the park and 1,500 of them processed letters of resignation. On top of that, another 2,000 people from around the country processed their resignation letters through other attorneys.


The U.S. Department of Commerce has released an outline of how each state, including Utah, will benefit should congress approve the Obama administrations plan to reduce tariffs and increase exports to the Trans-Pacific. 

USU Researchers Consider California's Climate Future

Nov 12, 2015
Christopher Campbell

According to a study published in October’s Nature Communications journal, as long as climate change continues the route it’s going, California will experience extreme floods and extreme droughts through 2080 as a result of El Niño.

Lawrence Hipps, plants, soils and climate professor at Utah State University, who contributed to the study, said he and his colleagues made this prediction by putting data into a supercomputer.

Understanding Sexual Assault In The Military

Nov 11, 2015

Tuesday, Nate Galbreath, Senior Executive Advisor with the Department of Defense’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, spoke at Utah State University on research concerning sexual assault in the military. Using data from police reports and scientific surveys, it was discovered that the overall rate of incidents is decreasing, although the crime remains a problem.


Article V of the Constitution says two-thirds of states within the Union have to approve a constitutional amendment before it is ratified, but there are no rules about law-makers meeting to discuss procedure to revise the U.S. Constitution, last taking place at the Constitutional Convention in 1787.

USDA Helps Utah Businesses Go Solar

Nov 11, 2015

In 2014 congress reauthorized the Farm Bill and the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) which guaranteed $50 million for funding of renewable energy projects in rural America.

The USDA recently provided over $800,000 in grants from REAP to help offset the costs of solar power for seven small businesses in Utah, including several ranches and farms.

Lary Carter, owner of the Lary and Dean Carter Ranch in Beaver County, received over $150,000 in October for his solar panels.

A Military Job You Didn't Know Exists

Nov 11, 2015
Scott Wolford

The announcement that the military would sponsor Army Bands throughout the country was made in 1922. Now there are hundreds of different army bands across the country in every state including Utah.

Sergeant Zach Putnam and his brother Sergeant Tyler Putnam represent Utah and make up the 23rd Army rock band.  The brothers are often asked what it is like to perform together.

"It’s a lot of fun," they said.

Taiwan-China Meeting Raises Reunification Hopes

Nov 10, 2015
Dr. Brenda Sun

That’s Dr. Brenda Sun, a Logan, Utah-based economics scholar, reciting a famous Chinese poem that focuses on peas being cooked in a pot.

Legend has it that, back in the era of the Three Kingdoms, an emperor challenged his younger brother, a poetry prodigy, to make a poem in the time it took to take seven baby-steps. The product of that wager became the now-famous poem decrying the hostility between the two brothers. The peas being cooked by burning the stem, though they come from the same root.

Alleged Bomb Threat At Cache Valley Transit District

Nov 9, 2015
Morgan Pratt

The Cache Valley Transit Center in Logan was evacuated Monday after local authorities responded to a suspicious package discovered on a bus coming from Hyrum, Utah.   

"Earlier this morning as transit buses were doing their route in Hyrum, someone came across a laptop computer that was just kind of in a lost and found type scenario," said Cache County Sheriff Lieutenant Mike Peterson. 


According to a new policy within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, children living with same-sex parents will not be eligible for baptism and other church rituals. The policy was leaked on social media Thursday.

The Church’s guidelines stipulate that entering a same-sex legal union is regarded as an act of apostasy and that children living with that couple are not eligible for most sacraments. Jennifer Dobner, a reporter with the Salt Lake Tribune, appeared on KCPW’s Behind the Headlines to discuss the new policies.


Under a new LDS Church policy, Mormons who enter into same-sex unions will be considered apostates, and their children will be barred from blessing and baptism rituals without the permission of the faith's highest leaders.

We want to know what members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints think about the change.

Lowering Emissions Will Help Improve Utah's Economy

Nov 5, 2015
Department of Environmental Quality

A recent Envision Utah survey showed air quality to be among the top three concerns for Utahns. Paul Murphy is the spokesperson for Rocky Mountain Power and said lowering emissions will improve Utah’s economy.


Supporters of a candidate who could become the first openly gay mayor in Utah say they are confident former state lawmaker Jackie Biskupski will be announced as the official winner of the Salt Lake City mayoral race once official results are released next week. As of late Tuesday night incumbent Ralph Becker was behind by 1,450 votes.

Salt Lake County Clerk Sherrie Swensen says at least 10,000 ballots county-wide will need to be counted in coming days before Salt Lake City residents can say for certain who has been elected as their mayor. 


World Congress of Families came to a close on Oct. 30 after the interfaith group meet in Salt Lake City to discuss traditional families. The organization has often been called a hate group.


Bonnie Glass-Coffin, an anthropology professor at Utah State University and a leader of the on campus Interfaith Initiative, shared her reaction to the World Congress of Families' definition of a natural family.



Election results for three positions in Logan City are preliminary but congratulations were given election night to three of the four candidates who ran for a position on the city council. 

Tom Jensen had been serving on the city's planning commission. Jensen will join current chairwomen Jeannie Simmonds and councilman Herm Olsen who were re-elected Tuesday night.


Five years ago in Layton, two girls, Rebecca and Rachel Toone, died after a pesticide company buried Fumitoxin near their home. Fumes from the chemical poisoned the girls. As it turns out, instructions on where to place the pesticide were not followed.

“We’re pretty strict here in the state. We really take it serious.” said Scott Oldham, pesticide program manager with the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food. “Where we lost those Toone girls five years back in Layton, that’s something that we don’t ever want to see again and so we really run a tight ship here.”

Lee: Current Budget Leaves Problems Unresolved

Oct 30, 2015

Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee took to the floor of the Senate Thursday to voice his opposition to the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. The act ultimately passed the Senate by a vote of 64 to 35, with David Vitter of Louisiana not voting.

Lee had harsh words for the legislation, which would raise the debt limit while finalizing the push for a two-year budget. He criticized the tight negotiations that went into creating the bill as going against GOP principles.


  Seventy Utah cities are running their 2015 municipal elections by-mail, meaning registered voters have each received a ballot and have the opportunity to fill it out and mail it to their city office by Nov. 3.


Finding Utah's At-Risk Kindergarteners

Oct 29, 2015

The legislative Education Interim Committee in Salt Lake City took up the question of how best to implement optional enhanced kindergarten during its meeting on Wednesday. The draft legislation under consideration would expand funding to provide all-day kindergarten to students deemed to be academically at-risk.

North Dakota State

Nine point four percent of Utah’s children are uninsured – giving the state the fifth worst record in the country. The data comes from a new report from the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families. The study showed that the rate of uninsured children nationally dropped to a historic low of six percent since the Affordable Care Act went into effect in 2014. But Utah’s rate showed virtually no change from the year before. Report co-author Joan Alker said part of the reason Utah lags behind with children – is that the state chose not to expand Medicaid for their parents.

Study: Sixth Amendment Violations In Utah Courts

Oct 27, 2015

“I felt that the time had arrived when the Court would lay down the general rule that every man, the poor as well as the rich, was entitled to the benefit of counsel.”

That’s Abe Fortas, speaking in 1963 after he successfully argued the side of Clarence Earl Gideon in the landmark Supreme Court case Gideon v. Wainwright. The victory upheld a defendant’s right to counsel in state criminal courts. Over 50 years later, civil liberties groups are claiming that Utah’s indigent defendants are being systemically denied that right.


Proposition 1 is a ballot initiative that allows Utahns in participating counties to vote on a sales tax increase with funds earmarked specifically for transportation purposes.

However, some have come out against Proposition 1, taking issue with how the money will be appropriated if approved, specifically how 40 percent of funds raised must be directed to a local transportation entity.

For Utahns along the Wasatch Front that means the Utah Transit authority, an organization that met controversy in 2014 for paying out large sums of money in UTA executive bonuses.