Utah News

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

Laws that regulate hookahs, electronic cigarettes and nicotine lozenges and gum could all be tightened under proposals being considered by Utah legislators.  Kerry Bringhurst tells us a few of the ways that legislators are seeking to regulate smoking and tobacco products in the state during the current legislative session.

Southern Utah University is to recieve the largest gift ever bestowed on the Cedar City institution. UPR's Chris Holmes describes the multi-million-dollar gift from Walter Gibson that will go to fund a new science center.

The fate of a proposed nuclear power plant in Utah’s Emery County is now in the hands of the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission, following the state’s approval of two water rights applications for the Blue Castle Holdings project on the Green River. Although some environmental and citizens’ groups have been swift to condemn that decision, Utah State Engineer Kent Jones with the Division of Water Rights says they had to be approved under law if certain criteria were met. So what went into the decision to approve the requests after they were submitted more than two years ago?

If the first day of the 2012 legislative session is any indicator, it appears lawmakers intend to keep their word to make education a top priority. Yesterday, a bill that would limit class sizes in Kindergarten through 3rd grade passed unanimously out of committee despite concerns the money should be spent elsewhere. KCPW’s Jessica Gail reports on what the bill could mean for Utah’s schools.

Utah Democrats are paying a $5,000 fee to obtain legislative records related to the state's redistricting process. Party Chairman Jim Dabakis says the records are needed to determine whether the party can file a lawsuit seeking to overturn the election maps approved in October.

Dabakis says the state shouldn't be charging fees for public records.

Utah lawmakers will be focusing heavily on budget issues and education funding as they begin their 2012 General Session. Republican Senate President Michael Waddoups says the session will have an optimistic tone because Utah's economy is growing. Waddoups says a $200 million surplus means state agencies will not be facing cuts and employees could even get small raises.

During the first weeks of the session, legislators could approve agency budgets at last year's funding levels and even provide additional money for student growth in public education.

While both Republicans and Democrats agree that education should be a top priority, there is disagreement about pay for higher education faculty. Neil Abercrombie, Director of Government Relations for Utah State University, explained the discrepancy to UPR today at the opening of the Utah State Legislative Session.

The Utah Public Radio news team spent the opening day of the Utah Legislative Session at the State Capitol, talking to Senators and Representatives about the issues that matter to our listeners. Get ready for some great reporting today and for the next 45 days.

From Cache County in the north to Washington County in southern Utah, $44 million in federal money is headed to the beehive state to help with watershed protection.

The grant money comes from the USDA’s natural resource conservation service.  Much of the work is to repair damage to roads, water systems and other infrastructure caused by flooding over the past two years.

The emergency watershed protection program was set up by congress to respond to emergencies created by natural disasters.

"Massage" now a broader term for businesses

Jan 20, 2012

At the end of this month, any Utah business that offers light touch or stroking of the body as a service without a massage license could be in violation of state law. As KCPW’s Whittney Evans reports, the new rule enacted by the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing broadens the term “massage,” which some local business owners say goes too far.

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