Utah Politics

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Utah lawmakers are working to find out more about deaths in Utah's jails after a series of inmate deaths last year.

Republican Sen. Todd Weiler's proposal requires jails and prisons to submit annual reports on jail deaths, how they treat inmates who are addicted to opioids and what prescribed drugs are not given to inmates while they're incarcerated.

Mitt Romney makes his candidacy for Utah Senate seat official.
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Republican Mitt Romney is trying for a political comeback as he launches a Senate campaign in Utah.The former presidential nominee confirmed his widely anticipated plans Friday in an online video. The announcement features his leadership of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and says the conservative state and its residents can show Washington how to govern respectfully.

Deseret News

The latest attempt to strengthen Utah's hate crime laws at the State Legislature dies without even getting a hearing. Although science points to the burning of fossil fuels as a driver of climate change, Utah lawmakers refuse to acknowledge the concept. And Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, who advocated for a reduction to Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, failed to disclose that he owned land within the monument. 

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Utah lawmakers are once again considering getting rid of the death penalty, two years after legislators came close to making the move.

A bill sponsored by Republican state Rep. Gage Froerer of Huntsville would prohibit Utah prosecutors from seeking the death penalty starting May 8. The nine men currently on death row would still be executed.

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.

Salt Lake Tribune

St. George Republican Rep. Jon Stanard abruptly resigns from office, citing a desire to spend time with his ailing father. But soon after the announcement, allegations that he paid a prostitute for sex surface. Rob Porter, a Trump administration official with ties to Utah's senators, quits after his ex-wives accuse him of physical abuse. And the Utah House advances a $1.72 million tax break proposal for EnergySolutions, a radioactive waste company. 

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.

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. 

Network Of Victim Assistant

Utah's religious leaders advocate for a bill that would enhance penalties for hate crimes. Utah House Republicans retaliate against Gov. Gary Herbert after disagreeing on the process of the 2017 Third Congressional District special election. And Rep. Chris Stewart pays a visit to the legislature to tell lawmakers that the real scandal in Washington isn’t Russian election meddling, but that intelligence agencies are choosing sides in politics.

The Salt Lake Tribune

Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes announces that he won’t seek re-election, stoking speculation that he will run for Utah governor in 2020.

The Dailywire

Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro's appearance at the University of Utah stirs controversy and draws protesters. Provo Mayor John Curtis, the Republican candidate for Utah's Third Congressional District, receives criticism for Facebook ads demonstrating a far-right position on immigration. And Sen. Orrin Hatch offers a plan to give young undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship.

At 9 a.m. Friday, Salt Lake Tribune reporters Courtney Tanner and Benjamin Wood as well as columnist Robert Gehrke join KCPW’s Roger McDonough to talk about the week’s top stories.

Dennis Stock

A group aiming to reduce gerrymandering held a series of public hearings throughout Utah last week.

doi.gov

Correction: A previous version of this story claimed that the public comment period ended with the submission of Sec. Zinke's report last Thursday. The formal comment period actually ended July 10. The story has been changed to reflect this.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s recommendation to shrink two Utah National Monuments is expected to face major legal fights if adopted by President Trump.

Fox 13

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke recommends boundary adjustments to some national monuments, but he doesn't suggest eliminating them altogether. Operation Rio Grande's efforts to curb crime near the downtown homeless shelter could take two years. And Rep. Chris Stewart has his eyes on Sen. Orrin Hatch's seat in 2018 -- if Hatch chooses not to run for re-election.

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Increased polarization in Congress is concerning some Utah lawmakers about a possible federal shutdown.

Congress is now in August recess and has not yet passed a budget for the next fiscal year. That task, along with raising the debt ceiling, has some Utah lawmakers worried about an impending government shutdown.

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A Utah mayor overcame $1 million in attacks from out-of-state groups to win a three-way Republican primary in the race to fill a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives vacated by Jason Chaffetz.

utahfoundation.org

Utah election officials say about 22 percent of registered Republican voters have cast early ballots in the three-candidate GOP primary race to replace U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz.

Elections director Mark Thomas said that number is expected to rise as people go to the polls to vote Tuesday.

Utah Department of Public Safety

A new plan to restore safety in Salt Lake’s Rio Grande district is in motion.

Operation Rio Grande - a three-phase operation that will continue over the next two years - is officially underway as of Monday morning.

americansforprosperity.org

After compiling a list of taxpayer-funded projects, an American policy group asks Utah lawmakers to reconsider whether certain items should be publicly funded.

Timothy Hawkes and Warren Petersen join Tom Williams to discuss the governors proposed 50 year water plan.  

Quoting from the Recommended State Water Plan: Utah faces a daunting challenge. We have the distinction of being both one of the driest states in the nation and one of the fastest growing. At the convergence of those two realities is the challenge of providing water for a population that is projected to nearly double by 2060 while maintaining strong farms 

Ozone levels along the Wasatch Front are the worst they've been in almost a decade. A $10 million donation from the Charles Koch Foundation has some University of Utah faculty concerned about potential political influence at the school. And after a judge ruled in the party's favor, Jim Bennett will be on the ballot as the new United Utah Party's candidate for the upcoming special election in the state's Third Congressional District.

ACLU To Keep An Eye On Bolstered Rio Grande Policing

Jul 28, 2017
Dennis Stock

As Utah officials guarantee more police surveillance in Salt Lake City’s Rio Grande District, some groups are worried about potential civil rights violations from Utah law enforcement.

 State leaders announce their new plan to combat homelessness, though many of the details remain unknown to the public. Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch disagrees with Pres. Donald Trump's ban on transgender people serving in the military. And Gov. Gary Herbert endorses Provo Mayor John Curtis before the Third Congressional District primary. 

  

  

Dennis Stock

Admired nationwide for its effective solutions to homelessness, Salt Lake City is now faced with a burgeoning homeless population magnified by crime, drugs and frustrations from the surrounding community.

www.utah.gov

A string of recent assaults, including an alleged murder, in Downtown Salt Lake’s Rio Grande District led to a meeting Wednesday between Governor Gary Herbert and other state leaders on how to handle the growing violence.

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