Utah News

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

A new bill sponsored by Republican Representative Mike Noel would allow for eminent domain actions to be brought against a landowner to build roads that are needed for the development, production or exploration of oil or natural gas.

Noel told KCPW the legislation is a “no-brainer,” noting that eminent domain can already be used for gas, oil and coal pipelines. He credits SITLA, Utah’s School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration, for writing the bill.

What Will Utah Do with a Budget Surplus?

Jan 31, 2012

A projected budget surplus has some Utah lawmakers pushing to curb government spending by giving permanent tax cuts or increasing state reserves. Ashley Tolman explains.

Governor Gary Herbert outlined an initiative this week to improve air quality in the state's urban areas, discussing the relationship between industry and government when it comes to finding a solution to the state's air pollution problems. Kerry Bringhurst has details.

Diana Suddreth is the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, or STEM Coordinator with the Utah State Office of Education. She said the USOE has a plan to create open source textbooks.

Open source textbooks have all open-access information and are being developed by a new initiative.

Teachers will  have online textbooks available, with all the online access of the web, or print.

They'll be printable for $5 a piece. This way, each year the district has the opportunity to update them immediately.

A 2-year-old boy is dead after his father backed a car over him at their home in Mendon. Kerry Bringhurst tells us the Cache Valley County Sheriff is investigating the incident.

Private-sector leaders are proposing changes to Utah’s liquor laws. In a report released Friday, the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control Review Committee, which was convened by Democrats, presented a series of recommendations to address waste and mismanagement going on inside the agency.  The report suggests Utah would benefit from re-opening some discussion on some liquor laws, but as KCPW’s Jessica Gail reports, not everyone is open to the idea.

Logan Institute Building Damaged in Kitchen Fire

Jan 27, 2012

A fire in the Logan LDS Institute closed the building this week after significantly damaging the kitchen area.

An update on the Ogden shooting case from Dave Greiling and other developing Utah news stories.

Read the full stories at the Standard-Examiner's website.

Utah Governor Gary Herbert says in his State of the State Speech Wednesday night the state should not capitulate to federal authority when it exceeds the limited powers granted by the constitution.

Herbert says the state is in the midst of many fights with the federal government, from access to public lands to costly Medicaid requirements.

Instead o relying on federal money and bowing to federal regulations, Herbert says the state needs to become more self-reliant.

A former teacher at St. George area high school has pleaded guilty to child sexual abuse in 5th district court. 

John Robert Cody was a teacher at pine view high school until his arrest for several groping incidents, involving young girls which took place at St. George area swimming pools.

None of the alleged abuse took place at the high school.

Cody moved to Oregon after his dismissal. Another victim there, who is also a family member has since come forth accusing Cody of molestation.

Privatizing Liquor May Not Be So Easy

Jan 26, 2012

It is early in the 2012 legislative session, but at least one lawmaker says he doubts the issue of privatizing liquor sales will be resolved before the session ends. Instead, as UPR's Rob Jepson tells us, there is a push to have lawmakers first deal with how the Department of Alcohol and Beverage Control should be managed.

In their response to Governor Herbert's State of the State Address last night, Utah's Democratic leaders stressed their priority this legislative session is to improve public education through a series of bills called the "Best Schools Initiative."

Photo courtesy of National Nuclear Security Administration / Nevada Site Office

There is scarcely a family native to Southern Utah that has not been affected by fallout from atomic weapons testing in Nevada. This Friday, January 27, marks the 61st anniversary since those tests began in the Nevada desert and has been declared a "National Day of Remembrance" for Americans who have suffered from the effects of radioactive fallout resulting from government testing.

Chris Holmes brings us the story of the Downwinders.

Though Utah lawmakers already passed a comprehensive Medicaid reform bill last year, more reforms are on the way. This comes after the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services rejected a substantial portion of last year's reforms from the state, which had submitted a waiver. KCPW's Jessica Gail reports on how that frustrates one state representative.

Each year over 40,000 people flock to Park City for the Sundance Film Festival. With so many movie goers vying for tickets, it can be difficult to see anything.

Steven Smith is UPR's man-on-the-street at Sundance; he lives in Logan most of the year but volunteers in Park City during the festival. He shares with Kerry Bringhurst and our listeners several options for things to do at Sundance if you don't manage to get tickets to a film.

TOOELE, Utah-- Utah's massive chemical weapons stockpile is gone and so is the federal funding that helped pay for the sophisticated emergency response centers. 

Listen the response from Utah Senator Mike Lee, recorded shortly after President Obama delivered his State of the Union Address.

President Obama’s State of the Union address last night touched on some themes that could please some of Utah’s elected officials in Washington, like expanding domestic energy access. But do they think he has the track record to get it done? KCPW’s Jeff Robinson talked with one of them, Democratic Congressman Jim Matheson, to get his reaction to the address last night. He began by asking the lawmaker if he heard the president put forward any new initiatives for improving the economy.

After a one year trial period, it appears Utah residents could be in for a quieter July. Tuesday, the legislature’s House Business and Labor Committee voted unanimously to cut the state’s fireworks period in half, limiting the days and hours they would be allowed. KCPW’s Jessica Gail reports on the reasons behind the new legislation, and what aspects of last year’s fireworks changes will stick.

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.

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