A House committee unanimously approved a measure this week which would allow police to take DNA samples from people they arrest on suspicion of felony. Rep. Steve Eliason (R-Sandy), the major proponent of the bill, said genetic evidence is the modern form of police fingerprinting.
H.B. 212 changes the protocol of DNA information to be available at the time of arrest instead of after conviction.
On Wednesday, Utah's four elected Latino legislators met with the public at the Utah State Capitol to outline and discuss pieces of legislation they are introducing and supporting during this legislative session.
Matt Lyon, executive director of Utah's Democratic Party, said all of the Hispanic elected officials in the state belong to the Democratic Party. He said Utah Democrats are increasing efforts to encourage Latino residents to participate in politics. As director of the party, Lyon is concerned by figures that indicate 13 percent of residents living in Utah are Latino but make up only 6 percent of the electorate.
"Are we making sure that we are being representative and that we are supporting our diverse communities," said Lyon. "That we are supporting our Hispanic and Latino populations and making sure that they are getting the same opportunities that we are giving everybody else?"
Feb. 10-16 has been designated as national "Random Acts of Kindness Week." According to Rebecca Glathar of The National Alliance of Mental Illness of Utah, simple kindnesses, such as a smile, can save a life.
"There have been studies that have shown something as simple a smile has changed the mind of an individual who's considering taking their own life," Glathar said.
Founder of 365Aware, Braden Thompson, says he is grateful for the little opportunities- like when he passed a man carrying groceries up a hill in the cold.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Tuesday that Salt Lake City-based Prime Snax Inc. is recalling about 90,000 pounds of beef jerky products which have shipped around the country.
The recall has been issued because the jerky was processed with soy lecithin, an allergen not declared on the label. Utah State University Meat Scientist Jerrad Legako said soy lecithin helps create the good jerky texture.
Due to citizen complaints, Heila Ershadi, a member of the Moab City Council, became aware that Moab’s two public water systems have been selling millions of gallons of culinary water to operators of oilfield tanker trucks.
“Someone noticed the number of large trucks that were traveling down 500 West from a city operated station where there’s a filling station, and lots of trucks driving through this residential area. The concerns I have heard residents raise is that it’s too many trucks and that they drive quickly and recklessly down residential roads,”Ershadi said.
Moab has seen a drilling boom in the last two years, and many more wells are planned. The water trucks, along with tandem dump trucks full of drilling sand, are also creating dramatic new traffic on local highways that access Canyonlands. Moab is just one of scores of towns across the West where city water is being sold for industrial uses, including drilling and fracking, and cities sometimes even drill new wells to supply the water. The driller of nine active oil and gas wells near Island in the Sky says the wells are not being fracked, saving water. But Ershadi said she fears that could change sooner than the city has imagined.
State lawmakers are considering Medicaid expansion proposals after Utah Governor Gary Herbert said he will push for some form of expansion to comply with the federal Affordable Care Act. State Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck (D- Salt Lake) is serving on a governor's committee assigned to evaluate the financial costs of expanding Medicaid.
About 15 percent of Utah residents are uninsured. Chavez-Houck said lawmakers must decide if Utah should participate in a full expansion program to offset the costs of extending health benefits to 111,000 of the state's poorest.
"And here we are, still unable to move and in the meantime people aren't getting covered and we are losing our portion of what should be ours," Chavez-Houck said.
Utah State University's club Handball team will join other clubs from throughout the world to compete for a national title this month.
This will be the second year Utah State University's Ryan Campbell will compete in the United States Handball Association's National Collegiate Championships.
"I won the division I championship last year and we won the doubles championship as well," Campbell said. "I have really good serves that stay really low. I love it when they return it and I just kill it."
A recent USU graduate, Campbell will travel to Raleigh, North Carolina for this year's competition on Feb. 19.
"We are losing a whole generation of kids who will know an absolutely terrific sport," said Herm Olsen, USU Handball team adviser.
One person has been pulled from the snow after an avalanche occurred up Providence Canyon in Cache Valley.
The avalanche was reported at 4:15 on Tuesday. The victim is conscious and talking to rescue crews.
The terrain of the canyon made landing a life-flight helicopter difficult, according to scanner traffic. Rescue crews reached the victim by snowmobile and are transporting him out of the area on a sled.
There is a high risk of avalanches along the Wasatch Mountains after winter weather rolled through Utah over the weekend, according to the Utah Avalanche Center.