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Benjamin Wood

Education reporter, Health, education, environment

801-257-8715, bwood@sltrib.com


  • (Tribune File Photo)   A shooter at Doug’s Shoot N Sport’s gun range takes aim at a human shaped target. Utah House committee OKs ‘Stand Your Ground’ self-defense bill
    Current law allows Utahns to defend themselves, rather than flee, from an attacker. But a bill approved by a House committee on Friday would make that...
    Updated Feb 18 2017 12:32 am   |     |   Share

  • (Trent Nelson  |  Tribune file photo)   Joanna Smith (center), founder of Utah Women Unite, at a meeting of the group in Salt Lake City, Thursday February 16, 2017. Lawmaker says writer of viral ‘breadwinner’ letter didn’t read his equal pay bill
    Sen. Jacob Anderegg, R-Lehi, received some unexpected free publicity for his proposed equal-pay legislation this week. In a Valentine’s Day letter to ...
    Updated Feb 18 2017 02:58 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Rick Egan  |  Tribune file photo)    Utah Senate President Wayne Neiderhauser says there’s a big appetite among GOP for tax reform this year. Food-tax hike part of tax-reform package eyed by Senate Republicans
    Republican lawmakers are acting quickly to draft a package of tax-reform bills for the 2017 session, Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, sai...
    Updated Feb 19 2017 09:24 pm   |     |   Share

  • Legislature will have nearly $100 million more than expected for budget
    The Legislature will have $88 million more than it had expected for next year’s budget, leaders announced Friday based on new quarterly revenue estima...
    Updated Feb 18 2017 12:32 am   |     |   Share

  • (Rick Egan  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)    Sen. Jim Dabakis debates the board diversity bill on the senate floor, Friday, February 17, 2017. Democrat draws warning over claim GOP-backed bill meant to shore up Republican control
    Senators gave final approval on Friday to a bill that removes partisan diversity requirements for members of state board and commissions. The Senate ...
    Updated Feb 17 2017 06:35 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Steve Griffin | Tribune file photo)   Thanksgiving shoppers form lines at the Sugar House liquor store in Salt Lake City. The Friday before Christmas eclipsed the Wednesday before Thanksigivng as the all-time record for single-day liquior sales in Utah. Bill giving liquor agency a $1M safety net heads to final vote
    The Utah Legislature is one floor vote away from allowing the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control hold on to some of its ever-growing revenu...
    Updated Feb 19 2017 09:25 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Scott Sommerdorf   |  Tribune file photo)   Sen. Jacob Anderegg, R-Lehi, wants to reduce penalty for parents for a truant child. Senate committee supports lesser penalties for school truancy
    Failing to send a child to school could earn a parent an infraction, down from a Class B misdemeanor, under a bill OK’d Thursday by a committee. SB11...
    Updated Feb 17 2017 10:55 am   |     |   Share

  • (Scott Sommerdorf   |  Tribune file photo)   Sen. Deidre Henderson, R-Spanish Fork, is working on legislation to create an independent office of inspector general to investigate corruption allegations at the state and local level. She said it is important to have a place where whistleblowers can take their complaints. State School Board would lose ability to reject new charters under bill OK’d by committee
    New charter schools would no longer need the approval of the Utah Board of Education to open their doors under a bill that gained committee approval T...
    Updated Feb 17 2017 10:58 am   |     |   Share

  • Sen. Ann Millner ï R-Ogden Senate committee approves updates to school grading system
    Utah schools would still be labeled with a letter grade under a bill that gained committee approval on Thursday. But the grading system would no long...
    Updated Feb 17 2017 11:59 am   |     |   Share

  • (Paul Fraughton  |  Tribune file photo)    Moshen Asgari, right, supervises the removal of the ’Zion curtain’ from the bar at his Vuda Bar and Winery in Draper. A new poll says that most Utahns would like to do away with the so-called ’Zion Curtains.’ ‘Zion Curtain’ bill could be released on Friday, sponsor says
    A much-discussed but as-yet-unseen bill to tear down the so-called “Zion Curtain” in Utah restaurants could be revealed this week. Sen. Jerry Stevens...
    Updated Feb 16 2017 02:40 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Steve Griffin  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)     Holding a stack of her court and police documents Heather Wolsey, a victim of domestic violence in 2012, cries as she sits with Rep. LaVar Christensen, R-Draper, and tells members of the House Judiciary Standing Committee about her ongoing ordeal with protective orders in the House Building at the State Capitol in Salt Lake City Thursday February 16, 2017. HB248 is designed to creating a domestic violence continuous protective order for victims of domestic violence. Full House will debate long-term restraining orders after committee OK
    Heather Wolsey received the first protective order against her ex-husband in 2012, she said Thursday, and has spent more than four years appearing bef...
    Updated Feb 17 2017 10:57 am   |     |   Share

  • (Steve Griffin  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)     Marina Lowe, of the ACLU, speaks to members of the House Judiciary Standing Committee about HB54 in House Building at the State Capitol in Salt Lake City Thursday February 16, 2017. HB54 deals with Free speech amendments for university campuses. House panel gives unanimous support to campus free speech bill
    A bill protecting free speech rights on public college and university campuses sailed through committee with a unanimous vote Thursday. HB54 designa...
    Updated Feb 17 2017 10:57 am   |     |   Share

  • (Chris Detrick  |   Tribune file photo)    Utah Sen. Margaret Dayton, R-Orem, is pushing a bill to eliminate diversity requirements for many state boards and commissions. Senate poised to OK removing party diversity rules from state boards
    State laws prohibiting single-party dominance of state boards would be stricken under a bill that gained preliminary approval of the Senate on Wednesd...
    Updated Feb 16 2017 11:30 am   |     |   Share

  • (Leah Hogsten  |  Tribune file photo)   Former West Valley Mayor Mike Winder, now a state legislator, is sponsoring HB212 to use bonuses to recruit expert teachers to low-income schools with at-risk students. Bill to give teachers at low-income schools a bonus clears Utah House committee without a vote to spare
    It’s human nature to look for work environments that are safe and comfortable, Weber State University education professor Forrest Crawford said Wednes...
    Updated Feb 15 2017 10:55 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Scott Sommerdorf   |  Tribune file photo)   Senator Stuart Adams, R-Layton, left, confers with Senate Majority Leader Ralph Okerlund, R-Monroe, in this 2013 file photo. Adams is sponsoring an end-of-the session bill that would use state sales-tax money to purchase an ownership interest or access rights to a deep-water port under construction near Oakland, Calif., with plans to ship Utah coal there for international export. Utah bans 'advocacy of homosexuality' in the classroom. This bill would strike that law.
    If there is a problem with Utah’s sex education law, Sen. Stuart Adams said Tuesday, it should be the Legislature, and not the courts, that fixes it. ...
    Updated Feb 15 2017 03:17 pm   |     |   Share

  • House committee approves bill to end Utah school grading
    Utah’s school grading system launched with good intentions of helping schools, Rep. Marie Poulson, D-Cottonwood Heights, said Monday, But six years o...
    Updated Feb 13 2017 11:46 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Scott Sommerdorf   |  The Salt Lake Tribune)     Speaker of the House Greg Hughes, R-Draper, bangs the gavel after chiding the House about it’s volume of chatter in the Utah House of Representatives, Wednesday, January 25, 2017.  Speaker: Lawmakers won’t act on nonpartisan ed-board bill
    A proposal to keep state school board elections nonpartisan is currently stuck in the House Rules Committee and likely to stay there, House Speaker Gr...
    Updated Feb 13 2017 10:30 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Scott Sommerdorf   |   Tribune file photo)   Rep. Dan McCay, R-Riverton, speaks with schoolchildren from North Star Academy in Bluffdale, Wednesday, February 25, 2015. Free teacher licenses and 3% school spending bump in latest budget numbers
    Utah lawmakers are looking to increase per-student education spending by roughly $90 million this year, a 3 percent increase, and end the practice of ...
    Updated Feb 14 2017 07:39 am   |     |   Share

  • (Rick Egan  |  Tribune file photo)    Newlyweds get their photo taken after being married in the Salt Lake LDS Temple. Senate reverses course on $20 marriage license fee
    Without debate, members of the Utah Senate voted Monday to reject a bill that would raise the cost of a marriage license by $20. Revenue from the add...
    Updated Feb 14 2017 10:59 am   |     |   Share

  • Bill would require doctors to tell women about abortion-reversal options
    Abortion providers would be required to explain the possibility of reversing a medication-induced abortion to their patients under a bill that gained ...
    Updated Feb 13 2017 11:30 am   |     |   Share

  • Under plan, Utah couples would choose between $20 or premarital counseling
    Utah brides- and grooms-to-be would need to chose between a marriage-training course or a $20 fee under a bill that earned preliminary Senate approval...
    Updated Feb 13 2017 10:54 am   |     |   Share

  • (Al Hartmann  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)   Utah Congressman Rob Bishop speaks to members in the Utah House of Representatives Friday Feb 10.  Bishop touts legislative process during Legislature visit
    During his annual visit to the Utah Legislature on Friday, Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, was asked whether he is concerned about the current tone and tempe...
    Updated Feb 19 2017 09:19 pm   |     |   Share

  • Pornography lawsuit bill approved by Utah Senate panel; bill would give immunity in certain cases
    A bill opening pornographers up to civil lawsuits was approved by a Senate panel Thursday. Members of the Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement and Crimi...
    Updated Feb 10 2017 07:58 am   |     |   Share

  • (Steve Griffin  |   Tribune file photo)     Rep. Carol Spackman Moss, D-Holladay, is sponsoring a resolution encouraging Utah high schools to start later for the good of the students. Panel OKs later school start times
    A debate over the proper start time for Utah’s high schools is headed to the House floor. Members of the House Education Committee voted 8-2 on Thurs...
    Updated Feb 09 2017 08:27 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Al Hartmann  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)   Congressman Chris Stewart speaks before members of the Utah Senate Thursday Feb. 9.  Utah congressmen say they’re willing to challenge Trump if needed
    The Obama years left the world a “much darker and a much more dangerous place,” Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, told members of the state Legislature on T...
    Updated Feb 10 2017 12:06 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Steve Griffin / The Salt Lake Tribune)     Voters wait in long lines to vote at the Marriott Library on the campus of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City Tuesday November 8, 2016. Election headaches lead Utah lawmakers to consider measures for relief
    Memories of long lines, spoiled ballots and disgruntled voters were on the minds of lawmakers Wednesday when a House panel advanced two bills aimed at...
    Updated Feb 09 2017 12:24 am   |     |   Share

  • (Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune)   Cyclists race along the scenic Byway 12 above Calf Creek and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument beyond on Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2016, as part of stage 2 of the Tour of Utah cycling race. Utah Senate approves call to shrink Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
    At 1.88 million acres, Utah’s Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is larger than the combined footprints of the state’s “Mighty 5” national pa...
    Updated Feb 08 2017 10:51 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Francisco Kjolseth | Tribune file photo)   Rep. Dan McCay, R-Riverton, is sponsoring legislation that would do away with vehicle safety inspection mandates. Is proposed tax increase 1% or 17.5%? Depends on what you count, which could affect $750M ballot initiative
    Depending on how Utahns look at the Our Schools Now ballot initiative, their income taxes would go up by seven-eighths of 1 percent, or by 17.5 percen...
    Updated Feb 07 2017 11:31 pm   |     |   Share

  • Legislature passes safety-net spending bills
    Utah legislators have completed approval of a series of safety-net “base budgets,” designed to prevent the sorts of shutdowns the federal government s...
    Updated Feb 07 2017 09:39 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Steve Griffin  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)     House Minority Leader Brian King, D-Salt Lake City talks about H.B. 215 as he addresses the House Education committee during their meeting at the State Capitol in Salt Lake City Monday February 6, 2017. The bill enacts provisions related to reproductive health education. Utah sex ed needs attention, legislators say, but abstinence angle will continue
    Utah schools will continue to teach an abstinence-based sexual education curriculum after a bill to allow comprehensive instruction was defeated in co...
    Updated Feb 10 2017 07:58 pm   |     |   Share