State, National and World News

Utah and the NSA

Aug 16, 2013

This fall, the National Security Agency will begin operations at its 2 billion dollar Utah Data Center in Bluffdale. NSA expert James Bamford calls it the most covert and potentially intrusive intelligence agency ever. He says the facility in Utah will essentially serve as the NSA's "cloud," and could house "yottabytes" of intercepted data including private emails, cell phone calls and other personal data trails. Monday, Bamford joins us to talk about the history of the NSA and what its expansion means for the nation.

Utah's Summer Air

Aug 13, 2013
Rick Egan | <i>The Salt Lake Tribune</i>

Wednesday we’re talking about Utah’s summer air quality. The conditions were right in July to create lots of lung-burning ground-level ozone, but for some reason, our air hasn’t been quite as dirty as in summers past. And the question is why? Could it be because people driving less? Does it have something to do with an unusually wet July? Salt Lake Tribune reporter Judy Fahys and Utah Department of Air Quality Toxicologist Steve Packham will join us to help us find some answers, and we’ll offer a tool for coping with bad air.

Compulsory Education

Jul 20, 2013

State Senator Aaron Osmond raised some eyebrows recently when he called for an end to compulsory education in Utah. Supporters admit it's a radical idea, but say it's necessary to put control of a child's education back where it belongs - in parents' hands. Monday, we're asking some fundamental questions about our education system: What is it for? What do we sacrifice in providing free public education? And finally, what's at stake for the individual and the community if people can choose to dropout?

A Utah woman was recently the first person in the country charged for violating a so-called ag-gag law. The ordinances are aimed at preventing undercover activists and journalists from documenting illegal and questionable treatment of farm animals. Those who favor the laws say they protect the privacy of farmers and ranchers. To detractors, ag-gag laws remove a vital protection for animals and even threaten free speech. We'll hear from both sides of the issue on Monday.

<a href="">Utah Geological Survey</a>

Wednesday, Governor Gary Herbert announced he would not sign the Snake Valley Water Agreement. The agreement was the result of 4 years of negotiations between Utah and Nevada over how they would share water in an aquifer along their border.  Las Vegas' water demands are outpacing existing resources, but critics say drawing down the water would mean disaster for fragile watersheds, for ranchers and for Utah's air quality. Thursday, we're talking about the Governor's decision and about the next steps for protecting Utah's water.

<i>Image by <a href="">Dan Coulter</a>/<a href="" target="_blank">Creative Commons</a> via flickr</i>

Monday, we're looking back at Utah's 2013 legislative session. It wasn't full of fireworks and brawls, but there were some interesting debates. A freshman representative tried to take the decision on Medicaid expansion away from the Governor's office, the Senate haggled for weeks over moving the State Prison and it remains to be seen if the Governor will veto a bill that does away with concealed carry permits. Doug and his panel of reporters and observers assess what happened and what it could mean moving forward.

<a href="" target="_blank">County Lemonade</a> / <a href="" target="_blank">Creative Commons</a> via flickr</i>

Thursday, we’re wrapping up our series on Utah’s bad air. A lot has changed in Northern Utah in the last couple months. Our air is a lot cleaner, and there’s a sense that efforts to help keep it that way have gained some momentum. But will that result in meaningful improvements to our air quality? If so, when, and what will those improvements cost us? We’ll also explore what we do and don’t know about how air pollution actually affects our bodies.

<i>Image by <a href="">interpunct</a>/<a href="" target="_blank">Creative Commons</a> via flickr</i>

Proponents of a bill that would protect LGBT Utahans from discrimination are touting the progress they made in the Utah Senate. Republican Stephen Urquhart's bill passed through committee, but died earlier this week without a vote on the floor. The bill was modeled on Salt Lake City's 2009 ordinance which enjoyed the support of the LDS Church. The Church declined to take a position though on the statewide legislation. Wednesday, we're talking about the bill and asking what could change its fate in 2014.

Francisco Kjolseth | <a href="" target="_blank">The Salt Lake Tribune</a>

Thursday, it’s another installment in our "Clearing the Air" series and we’re talking about industry’s contribution to Utah's dirty air. There's a lot of debate about exactly how responsible industries like Kennecott Utah Copper and the area’s oil refineries are for our air pollution. Are they 11-percent of the problem? Thirty-percent? The industrial sector’s emissions have been regulated for decades, so what have they done to clean up their acts in that time? And what more can they be expected to do?

<i>Image by <a href="">Michael B.</a>/<a href="" target="_blank">Creative Commons</a> via flickr</i>

Tuesday we're asking this question: should we be limiting gun rights or protecting them? Last year, the US experienced two of the deadliest mass shootings in our nation's history and gun-rights and gun-control advocates are again debating how best to respond. That's playing out in Utah where lawmakers are working through bills to eliminate concealed carry permits, to assert the state's sovereignty to regulate firearms and more. We'll talk about what's happening in the legislature and take your calls.