Politics

State, National and World News

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Earlier this month, Utah legislators passed a bill that would give the state the strictest DUI law in the country. The Beehive State was the first to lower the legal blood-alcohol content from .1 to .08, and the new law, if signed by Governor Gary Herbert, would further lower that limit to .05. Supporters say doing so will reduce drunk driving and save lives, while opponents worry that the law will hurt restaurants, bars, and the state’s reputation. Thursday, we’ll hear from both sides.

In a new book, former manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority Pat Mulroy says we’re facing a tough global reality when it comes to water. Growth, urbanization, and the effects of climate change mean we have to find new ways to manage a resource she says most Americans simply take for granted. Mulroy is coming to Utah, and she joins Doug Wednesday to explain what’s at stake, and how creating a shared vision for our water future is more important than ever.

Exit polls from November’s election found that 1 in 5 people said Supreme Court appointments were “the most important factor” in casting their Presidential vote. Well, this week President Donald Trump announced his nominee for the Court’s empty seat, and Neil Gorsuch is the potential justice Republicans have been waiting for. Thursday, Doug sits down with University of Utah law professors Amy Wildermuth and RonNell Andersen Jones to talk about what the appointment heralds for the Court.

Friday we’re asking whether the Outdoor Retailer Trade Show would leave Salt Lake City because of the public land agenda of state lawmakers. Peter Metcalf, the founder of the outdoor company Black Diamond, says the trade show should consider leaving if state leaders don’t back off from their attempt to take ownership of public land. But these kinds of warnings have been made before. What’s different this time, and what is the economic value of public land in Utah? Metcalf and others join us.

Kessop via CC/Flickr, http://bit.ly/2icgmUb http://bit.ly/1mhaR6e

When Salt Lake City officials announced the proposed sites of four future homeless shelters, opposition from the public was swift and fierce. The new shelters are meant to help people get off the street, while also reducing crime and stress downtown. But residents near the proposed sites say they were cut out of the decision process and that the shelters will endanger their neighborhoods. Thursday, we’re examining the crisis of homelessness in Salt Lake City and the new plan to address it.

A recently released poll of Utah voters threw another wildcard into the already abnormal presidential election. The polls show that late-running independent candidate Evan McMullin has garnered a surprising amount of support here, putting him in the running for Utah’s electoral votes. Pundits say his surge is due in part to the decline of Republican candidate Donald Trump, whose appeal here has never been up to par. A panel of guests joins us Monday to talk about McMullin’s rise and how the 2016 presidential race is shaping up in Utah.

Friday, we’re following up on our conversation about opioid addiction in America with three people on the front lines of the epidemic right here in Utah. Huntsman Cancer Institute anesthesiologist Shane Brogan, treatment specialist David Felt, and DEA Agent Jeff Bryan joined Doug at the 2016 Utah Heroin and Opioid Summit. They talked about the problems they face in addressing opioid abuse and about what measures could make a difference as they work to help people crippled by addiction.

Each month, 24 people die from prescription drug overdoses in Utah, a statistic that makes us 4th in the nation for drug poisoning deaths. Here and across the country, opioid addiction is a problem that effects people from all walks of life. The journalist Sam Quinones calls it an epidemic, and Wednesday, he joins us to explain how we came to this crisis. We’ll talk about how opioids work on the brain, how they were developed, and how Quinones says they’ve been relentlessly marketed to patients.

Courtesy University of Utah

Recently, KUER reported on an environmental activist with concerns about corporations like Kennecott Land being listed as “friends” of the University of Utah’s Environmental Humanities Program. Carl Ingwell says they don’t reflect environmental values, and shouldn’t be associated with the program. But as higher education faces continued cut-backs in public spending, what is the proper relationship between corporate donors and university researchers? And what do each get out of the bargain? Thursday, Doug’s guests help us work through those and other questions.

Thursday, we’re asking how it is Gov. Gary Herbert ended up in a primary race. He enjoys high voter approval ratings, yet he failed to secure the nomination. Critics say it’s more proof the system is flawed. We start with Utah GOP Chairman James Evans and Count My Vote board member Kirk Jowers to debate the merits of the party’s nomination process. We’ll then turn to scholars Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann who say the 2016 Presidential election could lead to a major rethinking of the Republican Party.

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