Vote Utah

Jeb Bush, the former Republican governor of Florida and the brother and son of two former U.S. presidents, has essentially kicked off the 2016 presidential campaign with a pre-announcement announcement on Facebook.

Saying he had conversations with his family about the future of the country, Bush said he had decided to "actively explore" a presidential run.

He went on:

For two decades Atlanta restaurant owner Jim Dunn offered a group health plan to his managers and helped pay for it. That ended Dec. 1, after the Affordable Care Act made him an offer he couldn't refuse.

Subsidies under the health law for workers to buy their own coverage combined with years of rising costs in the company plan made dropping the plan an obvious — though not easy — choice.

A government-appointed group of top nutrition experts, assigned to lay the scientific groundwork for a new version of the nation's dietary guidelines, decided earlier this year to collect data on the environmental implication of different food choices.

Congress now has slapped them down.

Taking On Racial Profiling With Data

Dec 14, 2014
Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

One year ago, social psychologist Philip Atiba Goff started an unprecedented project to create a national database on racial profiling.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Utah Department of Health

Thursday, after months of anticipation, Gov. Gary Herbert unveiled the details of the Healthy Utah plan, his alternative to expanding Medicaid in the state. The plan, which would have to be approved by the state legislature, would help 95,000 Utahns who make $15,521 a year or less; 133 percent of the federal poverty level.

Herbert worked with officials from the federal government to come up with the privatized plan, one of five plans state lawmakers will consider adopting. Health Department Chief Executive David Patton said that unlike any other states, Herbert won concessions from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Those include co-pays for low-income residents seeking medical services and increasing the co-pay for non-emergency visits to the ER from $8 to $50.

A senior Utah senator is demanding the Obama administration provide Congress with records detailing the payment of Social Security benefits to suspected Nazi war criminals.

In letters released publicly on Tuesday, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah cited an Associated Press investigation published in October that revealed millions of dollars in benefits have been paid to dozens of former Nazis living outside of the United States.

utah.gov

A new 800-page study released by the Public Lands Policy Coordinating Office argues that Utah could afford the management costs that would come with acquiring the more than 30 million acres of public lands the state has been hoping to gain control of.

Governor Gary Herbert, along with other Utah lawmakers, has been pushing the Federal Government to hand over ownership of the property, which makes up more than half of the land in the state. A bill passed in 2012 cited the 1894 Enabling Act and demanded the federal Government hand over the land by 2015.

Same-sex marriage
usa.gov

An order signed Monday by U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball means the state will pay attorneys’ fees for the eight plaintiffs in the Evans v. Utah case, which addressed the legal status of couples wed following the initial ruling that Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.  

The plaintiffs’ attorneys were seeking nearly $200,000 for their services. However, after an agreement was reached on the fee issue, the state will pay $95,000 to the attorneys.


utah capitol
April Ashland / Utah Public Radio

With the Utah Legislative session now less than two months away, Utah lawmakers are being asked to consider adding a couple of weeks to the annual 45-day session.

Because lawmakers don't meet on weekends during the session, the actual number of days spend legislating is nearer to 32 or 33. Last week a legislative committee forwarded the idea of amending the Utah constitution to stipulate that lawmakers should meet for a full 45 days within a 90-day calendar period. State representative John Westwood of Cedar City feels that more time just makes for more mischief.

"I am not for extensions. We have 45 days to conduct our business. We've done that, we want to remain efficient and take care of our bills and not extend it and bring in more bills. Sorry, I'm not for that. More is not always better," Westwood said.

President Barack Obama
www.whitehouse.gov

Utah politicians had a lot to say after President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration Thursday, in which he announced his support of deferring deportation for millions of undocumented immigrants.

Utah Governor Gary Herbert said in a statement that he was disturbed the president would take such divisive and unilateral action. Herbert said the broken immigration system is compromising national security and must be addressed by congress.


iiusa.org

According to a recent study, 48,000 of Utah’s undocumented immigrants will qualify for temporary amnesty as outlined in Thursday’s executive action by President Barack Obama. The report from the Migration Policy Institute shows that the 55 percent of undocumented immigrants in the state who now qualify for amnesty is the highest rate in the entire United States.

cachecounty.org

Forty percent of eligible voters in Utah participated during the recent mid-term elections. Official numbers released Tuesday showed that the number is one of the lowest on record. To reach more voters, some counties switched to all mail-in voting. Duchesne County, switching to vote-by-mail to serve rural areas, beat the state average with 51 percent participation in the election. Cache County, also making the move to mail-in voting, experienced similar success. Voter participation grew in the last midterm, said Jill Zollinger, the Cache County Clerk.

Governor Herbert in front of Utah, US flags
Governor's Office

Just after receiving recommendations on reforms to Utah’s criminal justice system on Tuesday, Governor Gary Herbert addressed the looming problem of poor air quality, water consumption and federal protection of the sage grouse in his monthly media conference.

Herbert said Utah’s air quality problem has effects that extend beyond negative consequences for health.

“It’s not just a health issue; it is also an economic development issue, and if we don’t get a handle on our air quality, we will in fact slow economic expansion,” he said.

President Obama says the U.S. will sharply cut its emissions of greenhouse gases, announcing a new approach to climate change alongside Chinese President Xi Jinping. The plan also includes China's agreement to cap its emissions.

The two leaders' pledges are being called dramatic and ambitious — for the U.S., because Obama's earlier plans had called for a smaller cut in emissions, and for China, because the country had previously resisted calls for it to consider capping its emissions as it grows and modernizes.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

watchdog.org

About 40 percent of Utahns who were eligible to vote cast their ballots on Tuesday, Nov. 4. This is a record-low for voter participation in Utah.  According to Justin Lee,  deputy director of elections for the Lieutenant Governor, the official measure will be known later this month.

“Some of it is estimating. One of the things we don’t know until all the votes and results are certified in a couple of weeks [is] what the final number will be,” he said. “Basically, what we’re doing is taking the number of active voters, then taking the number of people that voted and then just dividing that number up.”

Senator Orrin Hatch
www.hatch.senate.gov

With the results of Tuesday’s election and the Republicans reclaiming control of the Senate, Utah Senator Orrin Hatch is set to become Senate president pro tempore beginning in January.

This means he will be third in line for the presidential seat, among other responsibilities and perks that come with the position.

The honor, set apart in the constitution, is typically bestowed upon the senior Senate member of the majority party.

Love In Washington

Nov 5, 2014
Religion & Politics

Now that Mia Love has been elected to represent Utah’s Fourth Congressional District, Utah State University Political Science Professor Damon Cann said Republicans will be pushing hard to have her serve on high profile committees. But Utah’s delegation will be at a disadvantage when it comes to convincing those on the other side of the aisle to consider their constituency in policy making decisions.

Democratic Party of Utah

The gathering of the Cache County Democrats was a party of one on election night. Jennifer Pemberton talked to Utah House District 5 candidate Jeff Turley shortly after the votes were tallied.


Election results are in. Below, you'll find statewide results and links for other races.

US Congressional District 1:

  • Rob Bishop: 64.2%
  • Donna McAleer: 28.9%
  • Craig Bowden: 3.6 %
  • Dwayne Vance: 3.23%

Mail-in ballot.
cottonwoodheights.utah.gov

Cache County has switched to by-mail ballots this election season. While Cache County is a newcomer to the mail-in voting scene, Duchesne County has used the method since 2012. UPR’s Taylor Halversen spoke with Cache County Clerk Jill Zollinger and Duchesne County Chief Deputy Clerk JoAnn Evans about how the switch has changed voting in the different communities. 


Morgan Williams, a senior majoring in Political Science at Brigham Young University, talks about the importance of exit polls.


In case you haven't been following this year's election that much (don't worry, we're not judging you), we've rounded up a list of big ideas in play in the 2014 midterms.

Turnout: In a nutshell, it's likely to be lower than in 2012. The Pew Research Center says voter turnout in the midterms has been lower than in presidential election years as far back as the 1840s.

utahdemocrats.org

On the ballot this election cycle in Utah is a proposal that would affect appointments to the State Tax Commission. The amendment, if passed, would allow the legislature to select commission members without regard to the candidate’s political affiliation. The commission would become anything but nonpartisan if voters choose to support the amendment, said Peter Corroon, the state Democratic Party chairman.

“The reality will be that it will become entirely partisan and Democrats will have no voice on the Tax Commission,” he said.

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