SALT LAKE CITY — A bill to extend to 72 hours the waiting period for women seeking abortions in Utah received preliminary approval in the Utah Senate Wednesday afternoon. There was no debate or discussion. The bill was moved to the Senate’s final passage calendar on a vote of 22-6. HB461, sponsored by Rep. Steve Eliason, R-Sandy, would triple the current waiting period, which is 24 hours. Utah would … Continue reading»

Should schools offer sex education for parents?

SALT LAKE CITY — Sex education took center stage at the Utah Legislature again Wednesday. But this time it revolved around teaching parents rather than students. In a House bill requiring schools to hold an annual parents seminar on topics such as drug abuse, bullying and mental health, the Senate added “human sexuality” to the list. The change touched off a House debate about whether talking to parents … Continue reading»

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill that would have fined public school principals for failing to provide equal access to all teacher unions failed in the Utah House after prolonged debate Monday. Sponsors of SB82 say they’ve received reports of schools not complying with a 2007 law to treat all education associations the same. Some are being blocked from participating on committees or getting enough tables at a … Continue reading»

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Senate gave final approval Wednesday a bill intended to prohibit interference with agricultural operations. HB187, co-sponsored by Rep. John Mathis, R-Vernal,  is intended to prohibit trespassing at private agricultural operations to record images or sound from an agricultural operation or seeking employment under false pretenses with the intent of making such recordings. Farmers, ranchers and people who operate processing plants “need to … Continue reading»

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Senate passed an amended version of a bill intended to preclude interference with agricultural operations. HB187 is intended to prohibit trespassing at agricultural operations under false pretenses or obtaining employment with the intent of recording images or sound from an agricultural operation. “Basically, it’s a trespassing bill,” said Sen. David Hinkins, R-Orangeville. The Senate voted 19-7 to send the bill, sponsored by … Continue reading»

State poised to regulate ‘immigration consultants’

SALT LAKE CITY — So-called consultants who prey on immigrants and refugees may soon be under state regulation. Utah lawmakers passed SB144 says those who provide services to immigrants including filling out forms, tax preparation and translation must register with the state Department of Commerce. They also would have to undergo a criminal background check and post bonds. “Let’s have (immigrants) who are doing it the right way … Continue reading»

Democrats denounce Healthcare Compact legislation

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill to allow Utah to opt out of federal health care reform laws and assume responsibility for programs such as Medicare and Medicaid is “not a benign message bill,” said Senate Minority Assistant Whip Patricia Jones. “This is a lose-lose proposition,” Jones said at a press conference Tuesday. SB208, which is before the Utah House, which passed the Senate on a vote of 21-8 … Continue reading»

Former Utah Democratic Party executive director dies

SALT LAKE CITY — Former longtime Utah Democratic Party executive director Todd Taylor died in his sleep Monday night at age 46. Utah Democrats called Taylor as an icon in local and national politics. He was the longest running executive director in the party’s history, having served 17 years until stepping down in 2011. His successor, Matt Lyon, described Taylor in as a compass, advisor, mentor and wiseman who … Continue reading»

Cities, counties may create own ethics commission

SALT LAKE CITY — Cities, counties and school districts would be able to create their own ethics commission under a bill Utah lawmakers are considering. SB180 does not mandate local government set up the commission but gives them the option. Rep. Francis Gibson, R-Mapleton, said it puts locally elected officials under the same ethics guidelines as state legislators. Rep. Craig Frank, R-Pleasant Grove, he likes the concept in … Continue reading»

SALT LAKE CITY — Texting while driving is against the law in Utah. But police and local prosecutors say they discovered a loophole that allowed drivers to avoid a citation if they didn’t actually send the message. The Legislature closed the loophole Tuesday with SB98, which has now passed the House and Senate. The law does not apply to voice-operated texting. House members raised several questions about the … Continue reading»