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Lee Davidson

Politics/transportation/demographics reporter, Government

801-257-8752, ldavidson@sltrib.com


RECENT ARTICLES

  • Gov. Gary Herbert Guv vetoes bill that could have cut Democrats out of state boards
    Gov. Gary Herbert vetoed his first bill of the 2017 Legislature on Friday — a controversial one that would have removed the requirement to appoint at ...
    Updated Mar 25 2017 12:56 pm   |     |   Share
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  • (Scott Sommerdorf   |  The Salt Lake Tribune)   Utah Gov. Gary Herbert answers questions during his daily press conference, Thursday, February 12, 2015. He was asked if he has, or would officiate a same-sex wedding, and he answered that he would probably politely decline. Herbert signs nation’s first 0.05 DUI bill; Utahns split on issue
    After heavy lobbying by all sides, Gov. Gary Herbert on Thursday signed a controversial bill to make Utah’s laws on drunken driving the toughest in th...
    Updated Mar 25 2017 05:54 pm   |     |   Share
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  • San Juan County, home of new Bears Ears monument, No. 1 for U.S. population growth
    The Bears Ears National Monument wasn’t the only thing new to San Juan County last year. Enough new residents settled there to make it America’s faste...
    Updated Mar 23 2017 11:09 am   |     |   Share
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  • (Trent Nelson  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)   Riders on TRAX in Salt Lake City, Wednesday March 22, 2017. UTA ridership down, so bonuses are, too
    Low gasoline prices last year may have made Utah drivers happy, but they led to decreased ridership on Utah Transit Authority buses and trains. And fe...
    Updated Mar 23 2017 11:10 am   |     |   Share
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  • Utah has 5th lowest jobless rate for vets
    Utah has the fifth lowest unemployment rate nationally for veterans living in the state. Their unemployment rate in 2016 was 2.3 percent — down dramat...
    Updated Mar 22 2017 04:23 pm   |     |   Share
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  • (Scott Sommerdorf   |   Tribune file photo)   Utah Gov. Gary Herbert is weighing the fate of HB155, which would lower Utah’s legal drunken driving limit from 0.08 percent Blood Alcohol Content to 0.05 percent BAC. Pressure pours in on possible veto of drunken driving bill
    Gov. Gary Herbert is drinking in plenty of advice from all sides on whether to sign or veto a bill that would make Utah’s drunken driving laws the tou...
    Updated Mar 25 2017 05:54 pm   |     |   Share
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  • (Scott Sommerdorf   |   Tribune file photo)   Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signed an executive order to more closely vet state rules and regulations with an eye to reducing burdens on businesses and residents. Gov. Herbert signs more education, public lands, election bills
    Gov. Gary Herbert announced Monday that he has signed another 80 bills passed by this year’s Legislature — including some on federal lands, education ...
    Updated Mar 21 2017 03:17 pm   |     |   Share
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  • (Francisco Kjolseth | Tribune file photo)   As the final minutes wind down on the 2017 Legislative session things get silly as seen between Reps. Craig Hall, R-West Valley City, Marc Roberts, R-Santaquin, and Daniel McCay, R-Riverton, from left, on Thursday, March 9, 2017. Capitol Hill Surprise: GOP supermajority leads to more collaboration with Democrats
    A paradox has emerged at the Utah Legislature: Because Republicans rule by a supermajority, they fear Democrats less — so they tend to collaborate wit...
    Updated Mar 20 2017 08:40 am   |     |   Share
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  • (Rick Egan  |  Tribune file photo)    Leo Kemel, 60, talks about the homeless situation after Operation Diversion arrested about 90 people in the Rio Grande neighborhood. Thursday, October 6, 2016. Gov. Herbert signs bills on homelessness, panhandling, payday lenders
    Major legislation to address homelessness, payday lenders and panhandling were among 84 bills that Gov. Gary Herbert has signed into law, he announced...
    Updated Mar 17 2017 09:54 pm   |     |   Share
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  • (Crews work to stabilize and work around a landslide on State Road 12 near Bryce Canyon National Park. The Utah Transportation Commission approved $3 million in emergency repairs on Friday. The road has had only one lane open in the area. Courtesy Photo)   | Utah Department of Transportation Landslide near Bryce Canyon limiting SR-12 to single lane
    Landslide damage near Bryce Canyon National Park will cost an estimated $3 million to fix, and will keep State Road 12 — one of Utah’s most popular sc...
    Updated Mar 20 2017 05:55 pm   |     |   Share
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  • (Al Hartmann  |  Tribune file photo)   Orange barrels aplenty are coming to Utah freeways and roads in coming months. The Legislature authorized $1 billion in borrowing to accelerate highway projects. Utah leaders learn $1B in highway money attracts a lot of friends
    The Utah Transportation Commission found Friday that it has many new friends, now that the Legislature authorized borrowing $1 billion to accelerate h...
    Updated Mar 20 2017 12:08 pm   |     |   Share
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  • Salt Lake has fewer jobless than other big cities
    The Salt Lake City metropolitan area still has the country’s lowest unemployment rate among the 51 cities nationally with populations of 1 million or ...
    Updated Mar 17 2017 11:52 am   |     |   Share
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  • (Rick Egan  |   Tribune file photo)    With 30 minutes left to vote, there are still long lines outside the West Valley City Hall, Tuesday, November 8, 2016. Utah leaders hailed voter turnout in election. Actually, we were among the worst in the nation
    After last year’s wild elections, Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox — the state’s top election official — proudly reported that more Utahns voted than ever, and th...
    Updated Mar 16 2017 11:47 pm   |     |   Share
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  • (Leah Hogsten  |   Tribune file photo)   Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Terry Buck gives a suspected impaired driver a sobriety test October 31, 2014. Protest against lower blood alcohol limit planned for St. Patrick's Day in Salt Lake
    Restaurants and alcohol marketers are uncorking pressure on Gov. Gary Herbert to veto a bill that would make Utah the first state in the country to lo...
    Updated Mar 25 2017 05:55 pm   |     |   Share
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  • (Steve Griffin  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)   Construction on the new terminal at the Salt Lake City International Airport in Salt Lake City Wednesday March 15, 2017. $2.9B SLC airport rebuild could be too small just 5 years after it opens
    The massive $2.9 billion project to rebuild Salt Lake City International Airport may handle projected air traffic for as little as five years after co...
    Updated Mar 16 2017 09:44 am   |     |   Share
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  • (Leah Hogsten  |  Tribune file photo)   Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Terry Buck investigates the scene of a DUI where a near empty bottle of vodka was found in the vehicle, October 31, 2014. The driver was given a intoxilyzer test to determine her blood alcohol content that showed she was twice the legal limit at .166. Interlocks stopped 2,573 attempts by Utah DUI convicts to drive after drinking last year
    Ignition interlock devices — a small “in-car breathalyzer” — prevented 2,573 convicted drunken drivers in Utah from starting their cars after detectin...
    Updated Mar 15 2017 11:42 am   |     |   Share
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  • (Francisco Kjolseth |  Tribune file photo)   Rep. Mike Winder, R-West Valley City, holds a 20-pound rabbit named Kenny Rogers as members of Wheeler Farm participate in Museum Day at the State Capitol in Salt Lake City Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017. Mike Winder accused of manipulating Wikipedia page with multiple accounts in violation of ethics policy
    State Rep. Mike Winder, who got into hot water as West Valley City’s mayor by using a fake name to write positive newspaper stories about the municipa...
    Updated Mar 14 2017 11:21 pm   |     |   Share
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  • (Rick Egan  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)    A UTA Ski bus heads up Big Cottonwood Canyon, Monday, March 13, 2017. Redesigned UTA ski bus service drawing bigger crowds
    The Utah Transit Authority says a redesign of its ski bus service in Big Cottonwood and Little Cottonwood canyons — plus plentiful snow this season — ...
    Updated Mar 21 2017 11:34 am   |     |   Share
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  • Winder at center of conservative infighting over online tax
    In a rollicking political battle over whether to better collect sales tax owed for online purchases, some hard-slugging tactics by conservatives again...
    Updated Mar 14 2017 05:13 pm   |     |   Share
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  • (Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune)   Speaker of the House Greg Hughes, R-Draper, closes out the legislative session on Thursday night,  March 9, 2017. Big issues at Legislature often handled out of public sight
    The 2017 Utah Legislature, which adjourned late Thursday, might be remembered for playing peekaboo on the biggest, toughest items it faced, including ...
    Updated Mar 10 2017 02:51 pm   |     |   Share
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  • (Chris Detrick  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)   Senate President Wayne L. Niederhauser presides over the Senate Floor Time at the Utah State Capitol Thursday March 9, 2017. Utah’s $16B budget boosts school spending, state worker wages, Medicaid growth
    Utah received a bit of a windfall during the 2017 Legislature — projections that it would receive $100 million in extra revenue beyond earlier estimat...
    Updated Mar 10 2017 02:50 pm   |     |   Share
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  • (Francisco Kjolseth  |  Tribune file photo)   Legislation passed this year will mean the first increase in state gas taxes in 18 years. Tax reform fireworks produce smoke, no flames
    Tax reform became a big issue this year — before fizzling out in the end. Intense Capitol negotiations to overhaul the sales and income tax took place...
    Updated Mar 10 2017 02:52 pm   |     |   Share
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  • (Francisco Kjosleth  |  Tribune File Photo)    Charles Hardy of the Gun Owners of Utah, who has a concealed-weapons permit but choses to carry a gun openly, spends time at the Utah Capitol for the last day of the 2007 legislative session, contacting his representatives about gun rights. The Legislature passed SB251, which modifies provisions related to the posession and carrying of concealed firearms at institutions of higher education. Gun law tweaks allow young adults to get a concealed carry permit
    Several shootouts over gun bills ricocheted through the Legislature this year. A bill to allow young adults, age 18 and older, to get concealed-carry ...
    Updated Mar 10 2017 02:51 pm   |     |   Share
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  • (Steve Griffin  |  Tribune file photo)   Attendees file in to to the Outdoor Retailer event at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City Tuesday January 10, 2017. Lawmakers dangle $1 million to woo back outdoor retailers
    Utah leaders hope their divorce from the big annual Outdoor Retailer show is only a temporary separation. Legislative budget writers decided Wednesday...
    Updated Mar 08 2017 09:53 pm   |     |   Share
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  • (Al Hartmann  |  Tribune file photo)   Drivers line up for gas at Costco at 1800 S. 300 West in Salt Lake City. Cities complain they are not getting their fair share of the last gas-tax increase, prompting some to raise property taxes. Utah guv will have final say on kick-starting automatic gasoline tax hikes
    A bill to kick-start automatic increases in the state’s gasoline tax — which otherwise may not have begun for another decade — won final approval Wedn...
    Updated Mar 08 2017 09:55 pm   |     |   Share
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  • Downtown Salt Lake City can be seen in the background of this photo of the Tesoro refinery near 400 West and 900 North in Salt Lake City. Griffin/photo 07/15/04 Utah lawmakers pass tax incentive for refineries to produce cleaner gas
    A tax break designed to entice Utah refineries to produce cleaner-burning gasoline more quickly is on its way to Gov. Gary Herbert. The House voted 72...
    Updated Mar 09 2017 10:37 am   |     |   Share
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  • Bill to allow suing porn distributors for harm to minors advances
    Utah could become the first state to allow lawsuits against pornographers for damage to minors — including seeking reimbursement for any therapy expen...
    Updated Mar 08 2017 03:52 pm   |     |   Share
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  • Utah lawmakers send marijuana-research bill to guv to sign
    Research into medical marijuana could become legal in Utah, if not medical pot itself. The House unanimously concurred Wednesday to earlier Senate am...
    Updated Mar 10 2017 02:52 pm   |     |   Share
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  • (Steve Griffin  |  Tribune file photo)    The Utah Transit Authority board in a meeting in 2014. Watered-down UTA reform bill advances
    The House approved Tuesday a watered-down bill that initially had sought to reform how the Utah Transit Authority is governed. The House voted 74-0 to...
    Updated Mar 09 2017 02:41 pm   |     |   Share
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  • (Leah Hogsten  |  Tribune file photo)   Utah Gov. Gary Herbert. Governor: Utah tax reform delayed, not dead
    Gov. Gary Herbert put a positive spin Tuesday on the death of several tax reform initiatives in the Legislature in recent days — including an attempt ...
    Updated Mar 08 2017 05:12 pm   |     |   Share
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