Utah News

Utah News and UPR Newsline are productions of Utah Public Radio. 

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah lawmakers have voted to put new regulations on pornography and remove some on polygamy in separate proposals moving quickly through the Legislature. Senators voted Tuesday to remove the threat of jail time for consenting adult polygamists. Supporters argue the step would allow people in communities that practice plural marriage to report abuses without fear of prosecution. Later, House lawmakers approved a proposal to require warning labels on pornography.

PROVO, Utah (The Daily Herald) — The Utah County clerk's office has announced it expects to use a mobile voting application in elections this year despite concerns raised by cybersecurity researchers. The Daily Herald reported Monday that Voatz utilizes blockchain and facial recognition technology to enable certain residents to vote without having to submit a ballot by mail or in person. Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology say the application is vulnerable to attacks that could violate election integrity.

SALT LAKE CITY (The Salt Lake Tribune) — A woman from Washington D.C. has died while rappelling a canyon in central Utah. The Salt Lake Tribune reported Tuesday that the 33-year-old woman was climbing near Hanksville before falling 40 feet down the slot canyon. Wayne County sheriff's officials say a canyoneering party told deputies that the woman was coming out of Angel Cove Canyon when she slid 20 feet, then fell another 40 feet to the bottom of the canyon. Deputies say the woman's friends attempted to resuscitate her, but she was declared dead at the scene.

The Hill

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders campaign is expanding its Utah operation with a new state headquarters opening in Salt Lake City and new staff hires. The Sanders campaign said in a statement to The Associated Press that the new headquarters will officially open on Wednesday and four people are being added to the staff, including a state coordinator and a regional field director. Co-chairs for the Sanders campaign in Utah include Democratic Utah Rep. Angela Romero and Black Lives Matter Utah founder Lex Scott.

Bill Would Create New State Park In Utah

6 hours ago
Ken Lund, commons.wikimedia.com

A bill recently introduced to the Utah statehouse revealed more details on a new state park proposal in the Moab area. The legislation would appropriate $10 million for the creation of Utahraptor State Park, roughly 15 miles north of Arches National Park.  

What Are Utahns Thinking Leading Up To Super Tuesday?

23 hours ago
Gage Skidmore

Democratic Presidential Candidate Pete Buttigieg visited Salt Lake City on Monday night to host a town hall. UPR’s Matilyn Mortensen visited with attendees outside of the event to ask them about their thoughts on the presidential race as Super Tuesday approaches.

Salt Lake City, Utah, Utah Capitol, in winter
Brian / Wikimedia Commons

The time for appropriations is coming to a close in the 2020 Legislative Session, and according to district 3’s House Representative Val Potter, the general fund is “challenged.”

SALT LAKE CITY (The Salt Lake Tribune) — An important dinosaur site that has fallen into neglect would be protected as Utah's 45th state park under a measure being proposed in the state Legislature. The Salt Lake Tribune reports the bill would create Utahraptor State Park about 15 miles north of Moab. The creation of a state park is backed by Grand County leaders who have long wanted to safeguard the quarry. State paleontologist Jim Kirkland says the area is the most important dinosaur site in the U.S.

Mesa0789 / flickr

SALT LAKE CITY (Deseret News) — The Salt Lake County District Attorney has found 15 law enforcement officers were justified in firing nearly 200 shots at a man following a pursuit prompted by several robberies and random gunfire. Harold Vincent Robinson died in April 2019 when he was shot after his pickup truck crashed into a business. District Attorney Sim Gill found that 10 Salt Lake police officers, three Utah Highway Patrol troopers and two other officers were legally justified in their use of deadly force.

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A car repair shop owner in Utah has spoken publicly for the first time about an attack against him, his brother and his son by a man with a metal rod who has been charged with hate crimes. Jose Lopez testified about the attack Thursday at the opening of the trial against Alan Dale Covington. He says Covington screamed that he wanted to kill a Mexcian. Lopez says the November 2018 attack at his shop in Salt Lake City has destroyed his life. Covington has pleaded not guilty to federal hate crimes charges and his attorney says he suffers from delusions. 

SALT LAKE CITY (The Salt Lake Tribune) — A bill eliminating the option to vote for all candidates of a political party by checking a single box on a ballot has gained momentum in Utah. The Salt Lake Tribune reported that some lawmakers believe ending straight-ticket ballots could encourage thoughtful voting and consideration of each race individually. The bill sponsored by Democratic state Rep. Patrice Arent was advanced by Utah House representatives Thursday.

Homelessness in Utah, squatting in abandoned buildings and living out of cars, Utah's unsheltered homeless count increased 1,475% in the Bear River area.
Cliff Johnson / Flickr

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Devolopment (HUD) defines 'homelessness' as: "living in a place not meant for human habitation, in emergency shelter, in transitional housing, or are exiting an institution where they temporarily resided."  On Jan. 23, volunteers spread across the state to help with HUD's annual Point-in-Time (PIT) Count.

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Trump administration wants to spend $1.5 billion over 10 years to create a U.S. uranium reserve, claiming that reliance on cheaper uranium imports threatens the country's energy security. But some market analysts, lawmakers and others say the Republican president is seeking a taxpayer handout for uranium companies that can’t compete in the global market. And residents near a Utah uranium mine say they fear an increase in radioactive threats. Demand for the nuclear fuel has plunged globally since Japan's 2011 Fukushima disaster.

Senior Airman Lauren Main / 15th wing

SALT LAKE CITY (Deseret News) — A bill that would expand opportunities for enhanced kindergarten early intervention programs has passed the Utah House of Representatives. The Deseret News reports the latest version of the bill would provide additional resources to expand the reach of the program. The bill is intended to help bring struggling students to grade-level proficiency and above as they enter first grade. The program is optional to parents, school districts and charter schools. Participating districts and schools must apply for grant funding.

wikimedia commons

SALT LAKE CITY (Deseret News) — Lawmakers in the Utah House have passed an updated bill to ban minors from using tanning beds even with parental consent. The Deseret News reports an earlier version of the bill that would have prohibited minors from using tanning beds even with a doctor’s note was defeated earlier in the current legislative session. The new version of the bill sponsored by Republican Rep. Brad Daw struck the provision regarding doctor permission.

Utah State University, the Justice Department, say the university mishandled sexual harassment cases for years, exposing more students to harassment and assaults.
ngblaylock / pixabay.com

After news of sexual assaults committed by former-student athlete Torrey Green broke in 2016, Utah State University started an internal review on what was going on with sexual assault reports on campus — this was before the Department of Justice informed the university it was investigating. The DOJ report said from 2013 to 2017, USU received 240 reports of sexual harassment, but it processed fewer than 25 in accordance with its Title IX procedures. 

A Look At College Robotics Projects

Feb 13, 2020

University students across the state of Utah regularly work on projects that address real-world issues. One such project is being worked on by two students at Brigham Young University as part of their master’s degrees. . 

William Bultez

Studying music in college may lead to students facing additional emotional strain because of the deeply personal nature of their work.

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Pornography should come with warning labels that say exposure to minors could be harmful, according to a Utah state lawmaker who is proposing fines of $2,500 to companies that fail to comply. The bill is headed to the state House for debate after passing in the Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. One lawmaker said the bill’s proposed fine of up to $2,500 per violation says that's not steep enough.

Michael / flickr

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah (Deseret News) — A Utah police officer helped deliver a baby whose mom got stuck in rush-hour traffic en route to a hospital —but he concedes he was not calm in the process. The Deseret News reported Tuesday that West Valley officer Jeremy Dean was on duty when a car in front of him stopped and the driver got out waving his hands and said his wife was having a baby. Dean said he just tried to keep the baby from going anywhere after it was born.

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Salt Lake City may shift its focus to bidding for the 2034 Winter Olympics rather than the Games four years earlier following the announcement that Sapporo, Japan, will bid for 2030. Organizing committee President Fraser Bullock says they will do a careful analysis in the coming months about the pros and cons between bidding for 2030 or 2034 and then inform the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee of its decision.




The United States Department of Justice has found that a Utah University failed to respond appropriately to known sexual harassment allegations. 


How A Colorado Wolf Iniative Could Effect Utah

Feb 12, 2020

Wolves are a pillar of the image of the “wild west."  Throughout the years, wolves have been going on and off the endangered species list . In November, a citizen initiative in Colorado will be voted on to decide whether or not to introduce a wolf pack into the state’s wild. If passed, we could see the effects of it here in Utah.

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The University of Utah has agreed to an energy deal to allow the school to get more than half of its electricity through renewable sources. That makes it the first public college in the state to do so. The Salt Lake Tribune reported that the college finalized the purchase of geothermal energy with Cyrq Energy in November, fueling 53.7% of the university's electricity with renewable energy. Officials say the Salt Lake City campus was previously operating with less than 5% renewable energy.


The Utah Legislature is considering a proposal to amend Utah’s state constitution to ensure hunting rights in the state.