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Robert Gehrke

Columnist, News

801-257-8730, gehrke@sltrib.com


  • (Tyler Cobb  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)    The Salt Lake Tribune)  ’s team of test drinkers prepare for an evening of drinking and field-sobriety exercises to test out Utah’s proposed 0.05 BAC limit. Gehrke: New DUI standard is an unworkable, unnecessary step for the state
    Hospitality and tourism groups are staging a frenzied push to try to persuade Gov. Gary Herbert to veto a bill on his desk that would drop Utah’s lega...
    Updated Mar 25 2017 08:29 pm   |     |   Share

  • In this Feb. 2, 2017, photo, President Donald Trump speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington. Trump is taking his first steps aimed at scaling back financial services regulations. The president will sign an executive order Friday that will direct the Treasury secretary to review the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial oversight law, which reshaped financial regulation after the 2008-09 financial crisis. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) Gehrke: Fake Tweets! What President Trump might have tweeted after damning FBI testimony
    In the aftermath of FBI Director James Comey’s bombshell testimony before the House Intelligence Committee on Monday, President Donald Trump’s Twitter...
    Updated Mar 22 2017 03:20 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Steve Griffin | Tribune file photo)    Former Rep. Brad Dee, newly minted Utah Communications Authority lobbyist, right, confers with UCA executive director David Edmunds, during a legislative budget committee, Feb. 2, 2017. Dee was sponsor of legislation banning lawmakers from immediately going to work as a lobbyist, but the law has a loophole that he used. Gehrke: Lawmaker-turned-lobbyist helped 911 agency sell $18 million hike
    As the state’s 911 services were lobbying for a new fee that would bring them millions of dollars, they had a face familiar at the Capitol by their si...
    Updated Mar 20 2017 12:25 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Leah Hogsten  |  Tribune file photo)   Parents Jennifer and Stan Summers and their son Talan Summers (center), Feb. 26, 2015. Talan Summers, then 23, has a rare disease called IGg4 systemic sclerosing disease, which is turning his tissues and organs hard inside. There is no cure, and the disease eventually will kill him. Stan Summers recently attended a White House event with President Trump that was touted as a panel of ’Obamacare victims.’ He blamed the Affordable Care Act for high costs for drugs and out-of-pocket expenses. Gehrke: Team Trump is using a tragic Utah story to gut a law helping millions
    Donald Trump is a salesman, and as the president set about trying to sell his idea of health care reform to the American people this week, he turned t...
    Updated Mar 17 2017 10:21 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Trent Nelson  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)   The Henry lever-action .45-.70 rifle is this year’s commemorative legislative firearm. Gehrke: This year Utah lawmakers are buying up ‘the gun that won the West’
    One thing is certain: Utah lawmakers really, really like their guns. So it’s not too surprising that, after a year hiatus, the Legislature is bringing...
    Updated Mar 17 2017 11:21 am   |     |   Share

  • Gehrke: McAdams’ whiff on transparency adds to odor of shelter selection
    To say that the rollout of Salt Lake’s new homeless shelters has suffered its share of setbacks would be a major understatement. From the closed-door ...
    Updated Mar 15 2017 11:43 am   |     |   Share

  • Gehrke: What Gov. Gary Herbert would have said if I were his speechwriter
    Editors note: On the final night of the legislative session, it is customary for the governor to thank lawmakers for their work during the session. Wh...
    Updated Mar 10 2017 05:00 am   |     |   Share

  • Gehrke: Utah lawmakers prioritize pet projects over people
    For a decade a rape kit in a Cache Valley attack went untested, gathering dust, one of hundreds of kits from similar crimes around the state. It wasn...
    Updated Mar 08 2017 01:43 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Al Hartmann  |  Tribune file photo)   Gov. Gary Herbert indicates he won’t stand in the way of a food sales tax hike being proposed by Republican lawmakers, as long as they come up with a way to help ease the extra burden on poor Utahns. The proposal -- still a work in progress -- would jump the state food tax from 1.75 percent to 4.75 -- the same as on other retail goods. Food-tax hike is dead in Utah’s Legislature
    The sales tax on food will not be raised, at least this year. With time running out on the legislative session that ends at midnight Thursday, Senate ...
    Updated Mar 08 2017 08:57 am   |     |   Share

  • Gehrke: Swallow acquittal doesn’t mean we should ignore corruption
    I got a text message Thursday night from a good source — the first person, in fact, to tip me off to what eventually evolved into the scandal that dro...
    Updated Mar 03 2017 11:43 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Francisco Kjolseth |  Tribune file photo)    Rep. Lee Perry, R-Perry, speaks in mid-February before the House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee to push for HB23, which would allow people to carry concealed guns in Utah without a permit. Gehrke: NRA went too far opposing domestic violence provisions of Utah gun bill — so its sponsors are killing it
    Utah gun lovers won’t get to carry a concealed firearm without a permit, and they can thank the National Rifle Association for the demise of the bill....
    Updated Mar 17 2017 06:32 pm   |     |   Share

  • Scott Sommerdorf   |   Tribune  file photo Sen. Deidre Henderson, R-Spanish Fork, listens to debate in the 2016 Legislature on HB107 - Hate Crimes - in the Utah Senate, Wednesday, March 2, 2016. The bill failed 11-17. Gehrke: Utah lawmakers squandered their chance to take a stand against rising tide of hate
    In January, about 300 people had to be evacuated from the I.J. and Jeanne Wagner Jewish Community Center because of a bomb threat — one of 90 such thr...
    Updated Mar 09 2017 05:51 pm   |     |   Share

  • Review: Alejandro Escovedo crackling with drive and energy in anticipated Salt Lake City return
    After more than four decades on the road, you might expect Alejandro Escovedo to phone in a Monday night in Salt Lake City. You’d be wrong. Escovedo’...
    Updated Feb 28 2017 03:12 pm   |     |   Share

  • Singer/guitarist Alejandro Escovedo & The Sensitive Boys perform at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in New Orleans on Friday, May 2, 2014. (Photo by Barry Brecheisen/Invision/AP) After the storm, Alejandro Escovedo ready to ‘Burn Something Beautiful’ in Salt Lake concert
    A lot has happened since we last saw Alejandro Escovedo around here. He got married, got healthy and quite literally cheated death and those themes of...
    Updated Feb 28 2017 03:11 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Tribune file photo)   A frosted glass curtain hides a portion of the bar at Brio Tuscan Grille at Fashion Place Mall. Gehrke: What’s bogging down Utah’s liquor law overhaul? Too many cocktail chefs behind the Zion Curtain
    The Jell-O shots that are Utah liquor policy are beginning to firm up some, but skepticism is growing that there will be enough time left in the legis...
    Updated Feb 23 2017 07:59 pm   |     |   Share

  • Gehrke: Rush to reform taxes has lawmakers hurtling toward bad policy
    With the 2017 Legislature thundering down the homestretch, Republican leaders are scrambling to cobble together a sweeping tax plan they can get to Go...
    Updated Mar 21 2017 09:21 pm   |     |   Share

  • Concert review: Down a wolf, Los Lobos lope through set in Salt Lake City
    Los Lobos was down a wolf Sunday night, but even with one stray, the band can light the place up. Cesar Rosas was a no-show for The State Room show, a...
    Updated Feb 20 2017 12:39 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Scott Sommerdorf   |  The Salt Lake Tribune)     From left to right: Thikra Thanon, Yaseen Salih, 11, Nouran Salih, 14, and Ihsan Hamoosh in their apartment in Salt Lake City, Sunday, February 12, 2017. The family was able to escape mosul Iraq, and avoid ISIS, but now fears for their status in America with new immigration restrictions. Gehrke: A family’s journey challenges our notion of who we are
    Ihsan Hamoosh feared for his life. Two of his friends had been snatched by militant Shia Muslims in Iraq and murdered and he wondered if he could be n...
    Updated Feb 19 2017 11:20 am   |     |   Share

  • (Steve Griffin / The Salt Lake Tribune)    Attendees file in to to the Outdoor Retailer event at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City Tuesday January 10, 2017. Gehrke: Stubborn ‘drill-baby-drill’ rhetoric, philosophy costs all of us — more than we knew
    It turns out that losing the Outdoor Retailer trade show is going to cost the state a lot more than anyone realized — with a half-billion dollars goin...
    Updated Feb 21 2017 11:41 am   |     |   Share

  • Gehrke: Legislature may exact a toll for Facebook failure, but the poor get stung again
    Revenge — The Big Payback, as James Brown called it — is a bit of a sport at Utah’s Capitol, as Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams is discovering. McA...
    Updated Feb 16 2017 11:04 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Steve Griffin | The Salt Lake Tribune)    Los Lobos, seen here performing at Red Butte Garden Amphitheatre in August as part of the Wheels of Soul 2016 Summer Tour, return to Salt Lake City for a concert Sunday at The State Room  in Salt Lake City. Los Lobos returns to Salt Lake City with songs more relevant than ever
    Last time Los Lobos came through Salt Lake, it was August. Things have changed since then. Now, listening again to their most recent release, the crit...
    Updated Feb 16 2017 06:55 pm   |     |   Share

  • Gehrke: More daylight is what’s needed to clear up cloud over canyons plan
    For more than three years, various stakeholders in the Wasatch canyons huddled to try to plan out a future for management of various resources and bal...
    Updated Feb 15 2017 09:19 am   |     |   Share

  • Gehrke: Just when you thought sanity had been restored to the Utah GOP ...
    The battle for the heart of the Utah Republican Party continues, even if it looks like the combatants already lost their minds. On Feb. 4, after years...
    Updated Feb 21 2017 11:41 am   |     |   Share

  • (Chris Detrick  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)   Teacher Chelsie Acosta asks a question during the town-hall meeting with U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, in Brighton High School Thursday February 9, 2017. Gehrke: Town hall anger didn’t singe Chaffetz, needs direction before it burns down the house
    As a former kicker at Brigham Young, Jason Chaffetz is used to people trying to rattle him. Sorry, Utes fans, you don’t compare to what he faced at a...
    Updated Feb 24 2017 05:20 pm   |     |   Share

  • Gehrke: Utah Republicans shooting themselves in the foot with latest move to disqualify candidates
    After two years of warfare in the courts over reforms to Utah’s nominating process, the Utah Republican Party has waved the white flag — or so it seem...
    Updated Feb 10 2017 08:00 pm   |     |   Share

  • FILE - This Jan. 7, 2013 file photo shows Utah Attorney General John Swallow, left, being sworn in by Chief Justice Matthew B. Durrant, right, at the Utah Sate Capitol Rotunda, in Salt Lake City.  (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File) Gehrke: After a twisted road, it’s time for the court to bring Swallow scandal to a close
    Forty-nine months ago, watching Utah Chief Justice Matthew Durrant administer the oath of office to newly minted Attorney General John Swallow, I reme...
    Updated Feb 06 2017 11:01 am   |     |   Share

  • (Steve Griffin / The Salt Lake Tribune)    Members of Utah’s Clean Air Caucus hold a press conference in the Hall of Governor’s at the State Capitol in Salt Lake City Thursday February 2, 2017. Both Democrats and Republicans form the membership of the caucus and all are pushing for new bills to help Utah’s air quality. Gehrke: Groundhog Day means lousy air and the Legislature all over again
    When Gov. Gary Herbert walked out on the steps of the Capitol on Thursday, he couldn’t see his shadow, which means we have five more weeks of the Legi...
    Updated Mar 19 2017 06:32 pm   |     |   Share

  • Gehrke: Perry bill takes solid steps on domestic violence, but trips on concealed-gun issue
    On Dec. 4, Sue Ann Sands joined a list of Utahns gunned down, victims of domestic violence. Her attacker, an ex-boyfriend named James Dean Smith, had...
    Updated Feb 01 2017 07:54 am   |     |   Share