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Trib Talk

“Trib Talk,” hosted by reporter Benjamin Wood, features Salt Lake Tribune reporters and invited guests discussing the latest news and diving into topics that affect Utahns.

A Utah man is deemed factually innocent after serving time for child sexual abuse | Episode 72

In 2006, David Hawkins was convicted of sexually abusing two of his sons. His name was added to the sex offender registry, and he went on to serve more than seven years in prison for a crime he said he did not commit.Now, after his children recanted their testimonies against him and worked for six years to clear his name, State of Utah has deemed Hawkins to be factually innocent and has expunged his record.On this week’s episode of the “Trib Talk” podcast, Hawkins joins host Benjamin Wood and Tribune legal affairs reporter Jessica Miller to share his experience of being wrongly convicted and ultimately vindicated in the eyes of the law.Click here to listen now. Listeners can also subscribe to “Trib Talk” on SoundCloud, iTunes and Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify and other major podcast platforms.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.

September 06, 2019

Cleaning Salt Lake City’s air starts in the home | Episode 71

Salt Lake City’s air quality is among the worst in the nation and by 2024, homes and businesses will be the primary source of air pollution in the state, surpassing cars, factories and power plants, according to projections by the Utah Division of Air Quality.Those trends are prompting homebuilders and business owners to consider energy-efficient upgrades, like airtight construction, electric appliances and solar panels. But most of those features come with added upfront costs, and the current pace of new zero-emission construction will take years to offset the pollution seeping out of older buildings in the Salt Lake Valley.On today’s episode of “Trib Talk,” freelance journalist Heater May joins host Benjamin Wood to discuss her three-part series for the Tribune examining the role that homes and businesses play in both contributing to Utah’s dirty air, and potentially cleaning it.Listeners can also subscribe to “Trib Talk” on SoundCloud, iTunes and Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify and other major podcast platforms.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.

August 28, 2019

The many murals of Salt Lake City | Episode 70

Dozens of murals are popping up in and around Salt Lake City as part of a concerted effort by artists, property owners and community groups to enliven, beautify and bring attention to public spaces.The Tribune is working to catalogue these diverse works of urban and pop art. And on this week’s episode, movie critic and culture reporter Sean Means takes Trib Talk host Benjamin Wood on a walking tour of the The Gateway — where several murals are concentrated — to discuss the artists behind the movement, its impact on the community, and the unique qualities of the mural as an art form.Listeners can also subscribe to “Trib Talk” on SoundCloud, iTunes and Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify and other major podcast platforms.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.

August 21, 2019

A legislative task force tours Utah to host town hall meetings on tax reform | Episode 69

A legislative task force has spent much of the summer touring the state and hosting town hall meetings on tax reform.Now that this so-called listening tour has wrapped up the lawmakers enter phase two, where they’re going to try to come up with some proposals in time for January’s session.On today’s episode of “Trib Talk," Tribune government editor Dan Harrie and government reporter Bethany Rodgers interview Sen. Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, and Rep. Francis Gibson, R-Mapleton, about the next steps for the tax reform task force, and the broader conversation around tax reform at the Utah Legislature. Listeners can also subscribe to “Trib Talk” on SoundCloud, iTunes and Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify and other major podcast platforms.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.

August 14, 2019

Westside SLC voters weigh in on the city’s mayoral primary | Episode 68

Next week, the field of candidates vying to be the next mayor of Salt Lake City will be trimmed from eight to two as voters cast their ballots in the city’s primary election.Recent polling by The Salt Lake Tribune and Hinckley Institute of Politics showed a significant number of voters had not yet decided who to support. And the presumed frontrunner, former state Sen. Jim Dabakis, held a relatively narrow lead ahead of a still-competitive slate of hopefuls looking to secure a spot on the general election ballot.On today’s episode of “Trib Talk," host Benjamin Wood chats with government reporter Taylor Stevens about the state of the mayor’s race ahead of Tuesday’s primary, and visits a neighborhood party on the city’s west side to see what voters are thinking about the candidates and their campaigns.Listeners can also subscribe to “Trib Talk” on SoundCloud, iTunes and Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify and other major podcast platforms.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.. Listeners can also subscribe to “Trib Talk” on SoundCloud, iTunes and Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify and other major podcast platforms.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.

August 07, 2019

A closed charter school leaves unpaid debts and unanswered questions in its wake | Episode 67

The recent closure of the American International School of Utah — a public-private hybrid charter — has displaced more than 1,300 students and left potentially millions of dollars in unpaid debts, including hundreds of thousands of allegedly misspent special education funds owed to, but unlikely to be repaid to, the state of Utah.A new board has been established to oversee the nitty-gritty of shutting down the AISU organization. But it says there’s little hope of recovering taxpayer dollars, and it’s unclear who, if anyone, will face consequences from the situation, as virtually no one with direct involvement in the public school was an elected official.

July 30, 2019

Salt Lake City elects a mayor while Utah braces for 2020 | Episode 66

This year’s hottest political contest is the Salt Lake City mayor’s race, with eight hopefuls competing to fill an open seat and lead Utah’s capital city.But elsewhere in the state, 2020 is rapidly approaching as candidates, campaigns and activists position themselves ahead of elections for president, Congress, governor, the Legislature, ballot initiatives and a potential shakeup in the government of Utah’s second-largest county.On this week’s episode of “Trib Talk,” Tribune government reporters Benjamin Wood, Bethany Rodgers and Taylor Stevens, joined by Tribune columnist Robert Gehrke, sort through the different political questions facing Utah voters in 2019 and beyond.Listeners can also subscribe to “Trib Talk” on SoundCloud, iTunes and Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify and other major podcast platforms.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments, questions and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.

July 23, 2019

Marijuana could be a cash crop for the few Utah farmers who win a license to grow it | Episode 65

Eighty-one farmers have applied to receive one of 10 state licenses to legally grow cannabis and supply the state’s nascent medical marijuana program, giving each applicant roughly 1 in 8 odds of cultivating crops to meet the state’s demand.But exactly how significant that demand will be is unknown, as Utah’s law restricts legal marijuana use to a smaller pool of qualifying patients than a ballot initiative approved by voters last year, and as many Utahns are culturally and ideologically skeptical of what is still an illegal drug under federal law.On this week’s episode of Trib Talk, Moon Lake Farms co-founder Troy Young, cannabis law attorney J.D. Lauritzen and Tribune government reporter Bethany Rodgers join Benjamin Wood to discuss the selection process for Utah’s marijuana farmers and the status of the state’s medical cannabis program.Listeners can also subscribe to “Trib Talk” on SoundCloud, iTunes and Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify and other major podcast platforms.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.

July 17, 2019

A big, toxic mess needs cleaning up in Ogden | Episode 64

The Environmental Protection Agency is currently coordinating the cleanup of a massive stockpile of toxic and hazardous waste inside and around a deteriorating former Ogden meatpacking plant.Ogden City purchased the property from the owner of Smith and Edwards, an iconic military surplus retailer, with plans to revitalize the site as a mixed-use manufacturing and outdoor recreation destination. But as the full scope of the chemical and material hazards on site becomes known, questions remain about the buildings potential environmental and financial impact on residents and taxpayers.On this week’s episode of Trib Talk, Leia Larsen, a journalist with the Utah Investigative Journalism Project and Brandon Cooper, Ogden City’s deputy director of community and economic development, join Tribune reporter Benjamin Wood to discuss the ongoing cleanup of hazardous waste at the Swift Building and whether city officials were adequately and appropriately aware of the property’s contents at the time of its purchase.Listeners can also subscribe to “Trib Talk” on SoundCloud, iTunes and Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify and other major podcast platforms.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.

July 10, 2019

On the road with Utah’s tax reform task force | Episode 63

Utah lawmakers say the time has come for tax reform, and have created a special task force to tour the state, hear feedback from residents and, eventually, draft recommendations for how to update the tax code.That task force recently completed a swing through southern Utah, holding town hall meetings in Richfield and St. George. Those meetings, like others in Salt Lake County and Box Elder County, were well-attended, with residents voicing a range of concerns about whether, and how, to update the state’s tax code without hurting rural economies, small businesses, taxpayers and Utah’s public schools.On this week’s “Trib Talk," reporter Benjamin Wood follows the state’s Tax Restructuring and Equalization Task Force to St. George to hear directly from the Utahns who are watching, and concerned about, the reform process.Listeners can also subscribe to “Trib Talk” on SoundCloud, iTunes and Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify and other major podcast platforms.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.

July 03, 2019

A campaign begins to end abortion in Utah | Episode 62

Last week, Abortion-Free Utah launched a campaign to end elective abortion in the state, which includes an upcoming piece of legislation banning the procedure by Riverton Republican Sen. Dan McCay, who said he does not yet know whether his bill will allow exceptions in instances of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is at risk.The bill, which would conflict with longstanding court precedents, follows similar legislation in other states and recent anti-abortion resolutions in Utah cities and counties, as well as twin laws approved by the Utah Legislature earlier this year that have been put on hold pending the outcome of litigation.On this week’s “Trib Talk," McCay and Abortion-Free Utah chairwoman Merrilee Boyack join reporter Benjamin Wood to discuss their plans to end abortion in the state.Listeners can also subscribe to “Trib Talk” on SoundCloud, iTunes and Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify and other major podcast platforms.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.

June 26, 2019

Climate change, air quality and carbon taxing, oh my! | Episode 61

Included in this year’s state budget is $200,000 for a study on how climate change impacts Utah.Lawmakers say the research is needed to understand and better respond to issues like air quality and pollution. But the Utah Legislature has also shown reluctance to acknowledge climate change, and a campaign to enact a carbon tax is preparing to gather signatures, which could leapfrog lawmakers and put the issue directly before voters.On this week’s episode of “Trib Talk,” Tribune reporter Bethany Rodgers, Bountiful Republican Rep. Ray Ward, and Clean the Darn Air co-founder Yoram Bauman join reporter Benjamin Wood to discuss different strategies in the state for addressing air quality and carbon emissions.Listeners can also subscribe to “Trib Talk” on SoundCloud, iTunes and Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify and other major podcast platforms.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.

June 18, 2019

Will Utah be ready for the census? | Episode 60

The United States will conduct its once-every-decade census next year, generating critical data that affects government funding, electoral representation and planning for population growth and demographic trends.But while it’s crucial that each and every Utahn be counted, many areas of the state present challenges to a full and accurate census. And state lawmakers decided earlier this year to make no investment toward helping the count — a decision now characterized as a mistake by Republican leaders that could prompt a special legislative session.On this week’s episode of “Trib Talk,” Tribune reporter Lee Davidson, Murray Democratic Rep. Karen Kwan, and Salt Lake County Office of New Americans director Ze Min Xiao join reporter Benjamin Wood to discuss the preparations, problems and proposals surrounding the 2020 census.Listeners can also subscribe to “Trib Talk” on SoundCloud, iTunes and Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify and other major podcast platforms.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.

June 12, 2019

Trib Talk: Utah's first openly gay GOP elected official talks about coming out | Episode 59

Utah's first openly gay elected Republican is Utah County Commissioner Nathan Ivie, who says he came out to help support other gay Utahns who may be considerating self-harm.

June 05, 2019

System glitches impede year-end testing at Utah’s public schools | Episode 58

In August of 2017, Missouri’s commissioner of education announced that statewide high school exams were so unreliable, their results would be discarded. One month later, the Utah Board of Education hired the same company Missouri did to create its new year-end assessment system, RISE, for all public school children in grades three through eight.The launch of RISE this spring was marked by widespread glitches as half-completed tests were lost to frozen computer screens and whole school districts were locked out of the system. Those issues follow years of frustration with standardized testing in Utah, and have prompted questions on why the state school board chose a company with such a troubled history.On this week’s episode of “Trib Talk,” State Superintendent Sydnee Dickson and Tribune reporter Courtney Tanner join Benjamin Wood to discuss the problems with RISE and what it means for year-end testing in Utah.Listeners can also subscribe to “Trib Talk” on SoundCloud, iTunes and Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify and other major podcast platforms.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.

May 29, 2019

Tribune editor Jennifer Napier-Pearce answers questions about a nonprofit newspaper | Episode 57

The Salt Lake Tribune is currently seeking approval from the IRS to move to a nonprofit model, supported by donations and a separate foundation focused on local journalism.The move is intended to stabilize and sustain the Tribune’s operations after years of declining revenue, staff layoffs and turbulent ownership changes. But the paper’s plans are also largely unprecedented, prompting questions about structure, content and editorial tone from readers and observers both inside and outside the state.On this week’s episode of “Trib Talk,” Tribune editor Jennifer Napier-Pearce joins Benjamin Wood to discuss the future of the Salt Lake Tribune and journalism in Utah.Listeners can also subscribe to “Trib Talk” on SoundCloud, iTunes and Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify and other major podcast platforms.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.

May 14, 2019

Why is Utah home to so many Ponzi schemes? | Episode 56

The sentencing of convicted fraudster Rick Koerber was delayed — again — this week, adding another chapter to a 10-year legal saga for one of Utah’s most notable Ponzi schemes.But while the Koerber case is unique for its circuitous route to justice, Koerber’s underlying crimes and use of religion to target victims, are relatively common in The Beehive State, according to national statistics and the experience of local attorneys.On this week’s episode of “Trib Talk” Tribune legal affairs reporter Jessica Miller and Salt Lake City attorney Mark Pugsley join Benjamin Wood to discuss Utah’s high rate of Ponzi schemes and why the state’s residents are particularly vulnerable to affinity fraud.Listeners can also subscribe to “Trib Talk” on SoundCloud, iTunes and Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify and other major podcast platforms.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.

May 07, 2019

What’s the point of political parties? | Episode 55

Both the Utah Republican and Democratic parties will elect new leaders in the coming weeks, which many voters and elected officials hope will usher in new chapters for the state’s primary political organizations after years of infighting, debts and dysfunction.But the growing participation of unaffiliated voters, pressure from smaller parties, and changes to state law democratizing the candidate nomination process have raised questions about the shifting relevancy and roles of political parties in modern elections.On this week’s episode of “Trib Talk,” Tribune reporter Taylor Stevens, United Utah Party chairman Richard Davis and Huntsville Republican Rep. Steve Waldrip join Benjamin Wood to discuss the state of party affiliation in 2019.Click here to listen now. Listeners can also subscribe to “Trib Talk” on SoundCloud, iTunes and Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify and other major podcast platforms.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.

May 01, 2019

A review of ‘Avengers: Endgame’ and the most anticipated films of summer 2019 | Episode 54

After 11 years and 22 movies, an unprecedented cinematic experiment in interconnected storytelling reaches its culmination this weekend with the release of Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Endgame."Tribune movie critic Sean Means saw the film earlier this week, calling it a four-star finish to a decade of spectacular superhero movies.On this week’s episode of “Trib Talk,” Tribune movie critic Sean Means joins Benjamin Wood to discuss the latest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, what it represents for Hollywood, and the films he’s most looking forward to during the 2019 summer movie season.Click here to listen now. Listeners can also subscribe to “Trib Talk” on SoundCloud, iTunes and Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify and other major podcast platforms.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.

April 24, 2019

Planned Parenthood of Utah fights a state abortion ban and a federal gag order | Episode 53

Planned Parenthood and the ACLU of Utah are suing the state over a new law prohibiting elective abortions after 18 weeks of fetal development.The law — which challenges longstanding Supreme Court precedents — comes at a time when organizations like Planned Parenthood are being told by the Trump Administration to either cease abortion referrals, or walk away from millions of dollars in federal funding.On this week’s episode of “Trib Talk,” Tribune reporter Bethany Rodgers and Heather Stringfellow, vice president of public policy for Planned Parenthood of Utah, join Benjamin Wood to discuss new state laws and federal rules limiting access to elective abortion procedures.Click here to listen now. Listeners can also subscribe to “Trib Talk” on SoundCloud, iTunes and Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify and other major podcast platforms.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.

April 17, 2019

Student and alumni stories question the ‘honor’ of BYU’s conduct code enforcement | Episode 52

Hundreds of anonymous stories of accusation, intimidation and interrogation at Brigham Young University have been posted to an Instagram account boasting 34,000 followers and calling into question the private school’s enforcement of its honor code.The stories paint a combined portrait of current and former students living in fear and anxiety under the threat of expulsion and eviction due to alleged offenses ranging from extramarital sexual activity, to drug and alcohol use, to breaking curfew.On this week’s episode of “Trib Talk,” Sidney Draughon, a BYU alumna and creator of the HonorCodeStories Instagram account, and Tribune reporters Jessica Miller and Erin Alberty join Benjamin Wood to discuss calls for reform at the provo school, and a perceived culture of peer-to-peer spying stemming from strict enforcement of moral and behavioral standards.Click here to listen now. Listeners can also subscribe to “Trib Talk” on SoundCloud, iTunes and Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify and other major podcast platforms.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.

April 10, 2019

It's illegal to put a tracker on someone’s car, unless you’re a private investigator | Episode 51

Traditionally, Utah state law has allowed anyone, for any reason, to place a tracking device on another person’s car. That’s about to change after the Legislature passed a bill criminalizing the use of trackers without a car owner’s permission, or unless the tracker is placed by a licensed private investigator.Supporters say the change respects privacy and property rights. But the bill generated an at-times heated debate at the Capitol, with some lawmakers questioning whether the exemption for private investigators creates a loophole for Utahns to legally spy on each other.On this week’s episode of “Trib Talk,” Tribune reporter Bethany Rodgers, Rep. Marie Poulson, D-Cottonwood Heights, and Michelle Palmer, vice president of the Private Investigators Association of Utah, join Benjamin Wood to discuss Utah’s new vehicle tracking law and the ongoing debate over when, and whether, private investigators should be allowed to trace a person’s movement.Click here to listen now. Listeners can also subscribe to “Trib Talk” on SoundCloud, iTunes and Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify and other major podcast platforms.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.

April 03, 2019

The latest tweak to Utah liquor laws divides the state’s brewing community | Episode 50

On Tuesday, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signed SB132 into law, lifting the state’s cap on grocery and convenience store beer from 3.2 percent to 4 percent alcohol by weight.The change, made in response to the declining availability of 3.2 beer in the market, maintains Utah’s position as having one of the lowest alcohol content limits in the nation. And its incremental approach divided the state’s brewing community, leading to a boycott of a prominent local beer maker by several bars.On this week’s episode of “Trib Talk," Tribune reporter Kathy Stephenson joins Benjamin Wood to discuss the latest change to Utah’s liquor laws, and the industry fallout it prompted in the state.Click here to listen now. Listeners can also subscribe to “Trib Talk” on SoundCloud, iTunes and Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify and other major podcast platforms.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.

March 27, 2019

Documenting hate in Utah | Episode 49

After years of debate, the Utah Legislature this month approved a new hate crimes law that could add penalty enhancements to crimes based on a victim's race, religion, sexual orientation and other characteristics. The update to Utah's criminal code coincides with an ongoing project by The Salt Lake Tribune and ProPublica to track and analyze hate crimes, with the aim of improving what is currently unreliable and incomplete data around the nature and scope of hate in the state and the nation. On this week's episode of "Trib Talk," Tribune editor Jennifer Napier-Pearce moderates a panel discussion on hate crimes that includes Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill, Salt Lake City Democratic Rep. Sandra Hollins and Tribune reporter Paighton Harkins. "Trib Talk" is produced by Sara Weber. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.

March 21, 2019

What happened at the Utah Legislature? | Episode 48

Utah’s 2019 legislative session adjourned Thursday evening, capping off 45-days off debate on hundreds of new laws that included the replacement of a voter-approved Medicaid expansion initiative, controversial abortion restrictions, hate crimes enhancements and a failed attempt to overhaul the state’s sales tax.On this week’s episode of “Trib Talk,” Tribune reporters Benjamin Wood, Bethany Rodgers and Taylor Stevens and Tribune columnist Robert Gehrke discuss all the action at the state Capitol and the political loose ends that will continue into the summer.Click here to listen now. Listeners can also subscribe to “Trib Talk” on SoundCloud, iTunes and Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify and other major podcast platforms.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.

March 15, 2019

Explosive growth, traffic jams and a possible secession roil Salt Lake County | Episode 47

Southwestern Salt Lake County has big problems. Call them growing pains.Because most of the available land in other parts of the county has already been developed, the southwestern county is left to absorb tremendous population growth. And it’s coming fast.Too fast.Local leaders are struggling to keep up with the demands of the ever-swelling number of residents — and the say they are not getting the support they need and deserve from the county and the state. So they’re banding together to demand action.On this week’s episode of “Trib Talk,” Riverton City Mayor Trent Staggs and Salt Lake Tribune reporters Tony Semerad and Taylor Stevens join Dan Harrie to discuss the frustration and challenges in Riverton and neighboring communities.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @danattrib or @tribtalk on Twitter.

March 06, 2019

The NAACP is celebrating 100 years in Utah, but it’s history is just now being written | Episode 46

The NAACP is celebrating its 100th anniversary in Utah and an amazing — at times horrifying — journey it’s been.The civil-rights organization that aims to transform and unite communities began in the state in response to an act of violence.On this week’s episode of “Trib Talk,” Jeanetta Williams, longtime leader of the Salt Lake Chapter of the NAACP, Salt Lake Tribune reporter Courtney Tanner and Tribune director of photography Jeremy Harmon join Dan Harrie to explore the group’s fascinating history and continuing crucial role in our community,Listeners can also subscribe to “Trib Talk” on SoundCloud, iTunes and Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify and other major podcast platforms.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @danattrib or @tribtalk on Twitter.

February 27, 2019

Sandy City looks for answers after a water contamination crisis | Episode 45

Sandy residents are asking for answers after a malfunction flooded the city’s water system with fluoride, eroding pipes and pushing unsafe levels of minerals and contamination into people’s homes.The incident has raised accusations of negligence and mismanagement, and reignited a debate over the value of mandatory fluoridation.On this week’s episode of “Trib Talk,” Sandy City Deputy Mayor Evelyn Everton and Tribune government reporter Taylor Stevens join Benjamin Wood to discuss the cause of the contamination, the city’s response, and its potential impact on water-treatment debates in Salt Lake County.Click here to listen now. Listeners can also subscribe to “Trib Talk” on SoundCloud, iTunes and Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify and other major podcast platforms.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.

February 20, 2019

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert wants a big tax cut, and bigger tax reform | Episode 44

During his State of the State Address, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said his number-one priority for the 2019 legislative session would be the development of a more equitable, simple and sustainable tax system.Now, after more than two weeks of debate dominated by Medicaid expansion, legislators say they’re ready to turn their attention toward tax reform and a potential tax cut of more than $200 million. But they’ve also expressed skepticism toward some pieces of the governor’s proposal.On this week’s episode of “Trib Talk,” Governor Herbert, his deputy chief of staff Paul Edwards and Kristen Cox, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget, join Benjamin Wood to discuss potential reforms to the state’s sales tax.Listeners can also subscribe to “Trib Talk” on SoundCloud, iTunes and Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify and other major podcast platforms.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.

February 13, 2019

Tribune editor Jennifer Napier-Pearce on the importance and role of the free press | Episode 43

The free press, included in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, is among the foundational principals of American democracy.But recent years have seen trying times for journalists, as newsrooms across the country contract under market pressures and the media is derided as ‘fake news’ and ‘the enemy of the people’ by readers, viewers and individuals in the highest levels of the government.On this week’s episode of “Trib Talk,” Salt Lake Tribune editor Jennifer Napier-Pearce speaks about the role of a free press in free society, and why journalism matters.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.Listeners can also subscribe to “Trib Talk” on SoundCloud, iTunes and Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify and other major podcast platforms.

February 06, 2019

Utah Republican and Democratic leaders discuss their priorities for the 2019 session | Episode 42

The 2019 legislative session began on Monday, kicking off 45 days of debate on hundreds of proposed pieces of legislation. Legislative leaders cite a familiar list of priorities, including funding for education and efforts to improve air quality, health care costs and transportation.But the session comes on the heels of a controversial move by lawmakers to replace a medical marijuana law, approved by popular vote, with a plan of their own making. And with two other ballot initiative successfully added to the state code, supporters worry that Medicaid expansion and an independent redistricting commission could be the next to go.On this week’s episode of “Trib Talk," House Speaker Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, Sen. Stuart Adams, R-Layton, Rep. Angela Romero, D-Salt Lake City, and Sen. Karen Mayne, D-West Valley, join Benjamin Wood to discuss their hopes and expectations for this year’s legislative session.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.Listeners can also subscribe to “Trib Talk” on SoundCloud, iTunes and Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify and other major podcast platforms.

January 30, 2019

Here's how Torrey Green's guilty verdict could change Utah's criminal justice system | Episode 41

On Friday, former Utah State University football player Torrey Green was convicted on eight counts of rape, sexual assault and sexual battery. Six women testified, painting similar pictures of Green, a star USU linebacker at the time, using the pretense of watching a movie on a first date to force himself on them without their consent.While Green was a student, several women reported their allegations to campus and law enforcement authorities. No disciplinary actions were taken, and no charges were filed. That changed after reporting by The Salt Lake Tribune in 2016 illustrated the similarities between the women’s stories, and the procedural failures that allowed a serial perpetrator to slip through the cracks.On this week’s episode of “Trib Talk” Tribune reporter Jessica Miller and Houston Chronicle reporter Alex Stuckey — formerly of The Tribune — join Benjamin Wood to discuss the Torrey Green case, including the initial reporting that broke the story, it’s impact on the state’s approach to campus sexual assault and the courtroom testimony as Green’s victims and Green, himself, took the stand.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.Listeners can also subscribe to “Trib Talk” on SoundCloud, iTunes and Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify and other major podcast platforms.“Trib Talk” is seeking community sponsors to help sustain the podcast. Interested parties can send an email to tribtalk@sltrib.com to discuss sponsorship terms.

January 23, 2019

Film and TV producers say they’ll skip Utah without more incentives | Episode 40

Last year, taxpayer dollars were given to Disney Channel’s “Andi Mack” and “The A Girl,” BYUtv’s “Dwight in Shining Armor” and “Shoelaces for Christmas,” Paramount Network’s “Yellowstone” and several other film and television productions in return for filming in Utah. Now, producers say they’re looking elsewhere for shooting locations, citing less restrictive incentive programs in other states, and other countries.Industry representatives are asking Utah lawmakers to boost the state’s funding for film and TV productions, arguing that the investment helps the state economy. But similar incentive programs have been criticized for spending public money on private businessesOn this week’s episode of “Trib Talk," Tribune reporter and TV critic Scott Pierce, Utah Film Commission director Virginia Pearce and producer Amy Redford join Benjamin Wood to discuss the use of taxpayer dollars to promote film and television production.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.“Trib Talk” is seeking community sponsors to help sustain the podcast. Interested parties can send an email to tribtalk@sltrib.com to discuss sponsorship terms.

January 16, 2019

What's happening in San Juan County? A major shift in political power. | Episode 39

Despite a majority American Indian population, San Juan County politics have long been dominated by white Republicans. That changed Monday with the swearing in of two new commissioners, which form a Democratic and Navajo majority in San Juan’s three-member commission.Some residents fear the change, while others welcome increased representation for communities they say were neglected in the past. And the new commission has signaled its interest in reversing positions on public lands management, working more collaboratively with tribal governments and expanding services in the county’s most rural areas, where many of the county’s American Indian residents live.On this week’s episode of “Trib Talk," government reporter Taylor Stevens joins Benjamin Wood to discuss the changing politics of San Juan County, and ongoing litigation surrounding the 2018 election.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.

January 09, 2019

Navigating Utah’s new 0.05 DUI law | Episode 38

On Sunday, Utah became the first state in the nation to lower its drunk-driving limit to a blood alcohol content level of 0.05 percent or higher.The change, endorsed by the National Transportation Safety Board, is intended to discourage drunk driving at any level of intoxication. But critics argue the strict law targets responsible drinkers while doing little to prevent DUI fatalities, most of which are the result of drivers who are well in excess of the previous 0.08 limit.On this week’s “Trib Talk," Tribune reporter Kathy Stephenson and Salt Lake City defense attorney Jason Schatz join Benjamin Wood to discuss Utah’s new DUI law and the rights of Utahns’s suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.

January 02, 2019

The Trib Caucus reviews a year of Utah political news | Episode 37

Occasionally, The Salt Lake Tribune’s political reporters and columnists chat about the hottest topics of the week. With the end of the year rapidly approaching, the caucus convened for a special episode of The Tribune’s “Trib Talk” podcast to review the political news of 2018, which included the legalization of medical marijuana, the election of Mitt Romney to the U.S. Senate, Democrat Ben McAdams' narrow victory over Republican Rep. Mia Love and much, much more.The discussion is moderated by “Trib Talk” host Benjamin Wood, joined by reporters Taylor Stevens and Bethany Rodgers, and columnist Robert Gehrke.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.

December 26, 2018

Neighbors push back against a hospice and medical care center for the homeless | Episode 36

The INN Between moved to Salt Lake City’s east side in May, with a mission to provide hospice and medical care to individuals with nowhere else to go. But over the last six months, a cool reception from some neighbors has escalated into threats of litigation, no-trespass orders and an organized effort to stop the INN Between’s expansion and move it away from homes.Critics say the INN Between’s indigent clientele bring crime to the neighborhood, while the people who run the medical center say their patients, who are homeless, are being unfairly judged and stereotyped.On this week’s episode of Trib Talk, Tribune reporter Taylor Stevens, Sugar House community advocates Sophia Anderson and Tammy Castleforte, and INN Between directors Kim Correa ad Matilda Lindgren join Benjamin Wood to discuss the controversy around medical care for the homeless.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.Listeners can also subscribe to “Trib Talk” on SoundCloud, iTunes and Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify and other major podcast platforms.

December 19, 2018

Republicans are overrepresented in Utah, but gerrymandering might not be the cause | Episode 35

Utah’s state Legislature is more Republican than the state’s voters. That will continue to be true over the next two years, as one-third of all votes cast for the Utah House in 2018 were for Democratic candidates, but the party won only one-fifth of House seats.The cause of the disparity is open to interpretation, and is affected by the individual candidates who run for election, the trends that drive voters to the polls, the areas where people choose to live and the arbitrary maps that intentionally or coincidentally group constituents together. And while the popular vote can be an interesting peek at the electorate, it’s effectively meaningless in U.S. elections where you can win by a lot or win by a little, but the loser still loses.On this week’s episode “Trib Talk,” House Minority Leader Brian King, D-Salt Lake City, and Jeremy Roberts, a former member of the Salt Lake County Republican Party’s executive committee, join Benjamin Wood to discuss Utah’s election results and it’s potential impact on an upcoming round of redistricting in the state.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.

December 12, 2018

Utah’s 20-year-old hate crimes law has never been successfully prosecuted | Episode 34

“I’m here to kill a Mexican" — That, and other racially-charged language, is what a man allegedly screamed before beating a tire shop owner and his 18-year-old son with a metal bar last week.A suspect was ultimately apprehended and charged with aggravated assault and other drug and weapons-related crimes. But the charges do not include a hate crime enhancement, despite the crime appearing to be racially motivated, adding to frustrations around a state law that some prosecutors and legislators say is effectively unenforceable.On this week’s episode of “Trib Talk,” Tribune reporter Courtney Tanner and state Sen. Dan Thatcher, R-West Valley, join Benjamin Wood to discuss proposed updates to the state’s hate crime statute.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.

December 05, 2018

Opioid manufacturers spend a lot of money on Utah doctors who prescribe their drugs | Episode 33

Some Utah physicians receive tens of thousands of dollars in free meals, speaking fees and other incentives from opioid manufacturers, as pharmaceutical representatives work to build lucrative relationships with the doctors who prescribe medicine to their patients.It’s a dynamic that is illuminated by new federal disclosure rules, and one that has come under fire as communities in Utah and around the country grapple with an opioid epidemicthat puts patients on a path to addiction and, in some cases, death.On this week’s episode of “Trib Talk,” journalist Luke Ramseth and Jennifer Plumb, a physician and health advocate, join Tribune reporter Benjamin Wood to discuss the relationship between opioid manufacturers and Utah doctors and what role those relationships play in the state’s opioid overdose rate.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.

November 28, 2018

Representative-elect Ben McAdams prepares for Congress after a roller-coaster election | Episode 32

After two long weeks of counting votes, and counting more votes, and counting even more votes, election results were finalized by Utah’s counties on Tuesday and the competitive 4th District race was called for Democrat Ben McAdams. The result bookended an unpredictable and at-times heated campaign between McAdams and Republican Rep. Mia Love, with polling and early vote totals ping-ponging back and forth between the two candidates.With McAdams' election, Utah will have a Democratic representative in Washington for the first time in four years. But his election depended on a bipartisan base of support, an unpopular president, and a medical marijuana initiative that brought new voters to the polls. And given the pull of partisan, national politics, McAdams' hold on the seat in two years is far from a sure thing.On this week’s episode of “Trib Talk,” Representative-elect McAdams joins Tribune report Benjamin Wood to discuss his experiences on the campaign trail, describe his role in the new Democratic majority in Congress, and play a lightning-round policy game of “Support or Oppose.”“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.

November 21, 2018

Why was a Utah woman charged with a crime after reporting a sexual assault? | Episode 31

Relatively few incidents of rape and sexual assault are reported to law enforcement authorities. And of those that are, fewer still result in criminal charges and conviction.But one Utah woman’s report did lead to charges being filed — against her. The case was ultimately dropped, resulting in the state’s various law enforcement agencies pointing fingers at each other and struggling to answer how an alleged victim came under fire.On this week’s episode of “Trib Talk,” Tribune reporter Jessica Miller joins Benjamin Wood to discuss perceived flaws in the state’s process for testing and evaluating evidence of sexual assault.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.

November 13, 2018

Here's what you missed on Election Day | Episode 30

Election night saw Democrats regain control of the U.S. House, while falling short of regaining the U.S. Senate.In Utah, a large turnout led to presumed victories for medical marijuana legalization, medicaid expansion and Mitt Romney for U.S. Senate. But other races, like an anti-gerrymandering initiative and the closely-watched Mia Love/Ben McAdams race, remain too close to call.On this week’s episode of “Trib Talk,” Tribune reporters Taylor Stevens and Bethany Rodgers and columnist Robert Gehrke join Benjamin Wood to discuss the results of the 2018 vote.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.

November 07, 2018

Salt Lake Tribune owner Paul Huntsman explains who the paper endorses and why | Episode 29

Political endorsements are among the oldest, most controversial and least understood traditions of the newspaper industry, with ongoing debates inside and outside U.S. newsrooms on whether, why, and how to choose sides in partisan races.The Salt Lake Tribune has taken a position on each of Utah’s four Congressional races, its statewide Senate race and the various questions, propositions and amendments on this year’s ballot. But what do the paper’s stated positions mean for the reporters assigned to objectively cover those topics? How does the paper decide what to support? And exactly whose voice do the endorsements represent?On this week’s episode of “Trib Talk,” Tribune owner Paul Huntsman joins reporter Benjamin Wood to discuss the process behind the paper’s political positions, and the backlash from readers who disagree with those choices.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.“Trib Talk" also invites its listeners to submit their predictions for Utah’s 2018 election. The entry with the most accurate guesses will win a Salt Lake Tribune reporters' notebook. Click here to enter, or visit @TribTalk on Twitter for more information.

October 31, 2018

The LDS Church is ready to legalize medical marijuana in Utah, even if Prop 2 fails | Episode 28

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been atypically public in its advocacy for a tightly-controlled and strictly-enforced medical marijuana program in Utah. After joining a coalition effort to oppose Proposition 2 — which would legalize medical cannabis in the state — church leaders joined with some of the initiative’s backers and Utah lawmakers to embrace a negotiated deal expected to be debated and potentially adopted by the Legislature in November.But the announcement of a tentative compromise appeared to be based in the assumption that Proposition 2 would pass, and that critics of the initiative would be forced to weigh what they saw as the lesser of two evils. If Prop 2 fails, what leverage do proponents of legalization have, and will church leaders still advocate for a legislative compromise if the alternative is the status quo?On this week’s episode of “Trib Talk," LDS Church lobbyist Marty Stephens, Utah Patients Coalition director DJ Schanz and Christine Stenquist, executive director of TRUCE, join reporter Benjamin Wood to discuss the new dividing lines in the Prop 2 debate and what voters should expect to happen to medical marijuana laws after the November election.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.

October 24, 2018

Mystery and missing evidence haunt the decades-old murder of a black, gay, socialist | Episode 27

Over the last 40 years, the brutal murder of Anthony Adams has been described as a hate crime, a political assassination and a robbery gone bad. But one thing it has never been described as, is “solved.”The cold case is one of many being re-examined by the Salt Lake City Police Department. And Adams’ murder is notable not only for its enduring mystery, but also for the evidence that has allegedly gone missing as the city has spent decades trying, and failing, to find his killer.On this week’s episode of “Trib Talk,” Eric Peterson, founder and director of The Utah Investigative Journalism Project, joins Tribune reporter Benjamin Wood to discus the ongoing investigation into Adams' death. The case includes old history, new leads and a breakdown in evidence handling before and after the creation of a state crime lab.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.

October 17, 2018

Should Medicaid cover most, many or some low-income Utahns? | Episode 26

Since passage of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, Utah lawmakers have taken incremental steps toward expanding Medicaid and providing health care coverage to low-income Utahns.The state’s newest plan requires approval from the federal government and imposes work requirements on Medicaid beneficiaries. In the meantime, advocates for full expansion have succeeded in placing a Medicaid initiative on the November ballot, meaning Utah voters, not lawmakers, will decide how and whether to move forward.On this week’s episode of “Trib Talk,” Proposition 3 campaign director RyLee Curtis, Americans For Prosperity Utah chapter director Heather Williamson, and Rep. Robert Spendlove, R-Sandy, join Tribune reporter Benjamin Wood to discuss the arguments for and against full Medicaid expansion in the state.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.Listeners can also subscribe to “Trib Talk” on SoundCloud, iTunes and Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher and other major podcast platforms.

October 10, 2018

Utah’s senators will almost certainly vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh. Here's why. | Episode 25

Last week, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee heard dramatic testimony from judge Brett Kavanaugh, a nominee to the United States Supreme Court, and Christine Blasey Ford, a psychology professor who says Kavanaugh assaulted her when they were both teenagers.The narrowly divided Senate is expected to vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation this week, following a supplemental investigation into Kavanaugh’s background by the FBI. And there is little doubt that Utah’s Senators will ultimately support Kavanaugh’s appointment, with Sen. Mike Lee criticizing his democratic colleagues for the way Ford’s allegations came forward, and Sen. Orrin Hatch calling the hearings a “national disgrace.”On this week’s episode of “Trib Talk,” Salt Lake Tribune Washington bureau chief Thomas Burr joins reporter Benjamin Wood to discuss last week’s hearings, the ongoing FBI investigation and the looming vote on the Senate floor.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Audio clips used in this week’s episode were provided, with permission, by C-SPAN. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribktalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.

October 03, 2018

Utah lawmakers want you to give them more power | Episode 24

In Utah, lawmakers have 45 days each year to vote on new laws and manage the affairs of state. Beyond that, a special session of the Legislature can be convened only when called by the governor, with debate limited to an agenda the governor controls.But a proposed amendment to the state’s constitution would change that, giving the Legislature the power to convene itself. If approved by voters in November, the amendment would allow a two-thirds majority of the Utah House and Senate to call a special session at almost any time, to debate and potentially enact law on almost any subject.On this week’s episode of “Trib Talk,” Utah Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox and House Majority Leader Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, join reporter Benjamin Wood to discuss the arguments for and against Constitutional Amendment C, which could alter the checks and balances between the state’s legislative and executive branches.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.

September 26, 2018

A Utah detective's work highlights the fine line between investigation and entrapment | Episode 23

The vernal police department has made a priority of investigating sex solicitation cases, typically involving adult men looking to pay for casual sex with adult women. And the department’s approach relies on an undercover detective engaging in sometimes lengthy online conversations with alleged perpetrators.But critics say Vernal’s investigative tactics may be stepping into the realm of entrapment, and prompting men to commit a crime when they otherwise would not. Those critics say that for the accused, pleading guilty and paying a fine may be easier, and less public, than challenging the grounds of their arrest.On this week’s episode of “Trib Talk," Tribune reporter Jessica Miller and defense attorney Susanne Gustin join Benjamin Wood to discuss the makings of an entrapment claim, and why some question whether the Vernal Police Department takes solicitation stings too far."Trib Talk is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@slrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.

September 18, 2018

Is Utah gerrymandered? | Episode 22

Salt Lake County is represented in the U.S. House of Representatives by three different congresspersons, none of whom live in Salt Lake County.Utah’s voting maps, which divide the state’s most populous county — and home to its capital city — into three congressional districts, boosting the voice of rural and suburban conservatives over that of the urban, and predominately liberal voters in Salt Lake City and the east bench.To critics, Utah’s maps are a clear-cut example of gerrymandering, making a red state redder by drawing voters who favor Democrats into inescapable corners. But to others, the maps are a fair distribution of the state’s growing population, and allegations of gerrymandering are actually a veiled reaction to the failure of Democrats to win at the polls.On this week’s episode of “Trib Talk,” Tribune reporter Benjamin Wood discusses gerrymandering and a Utah ballot initiative to create an independent redistricting commission with Jeff Wright, co-chairman of Better Boundaries, and Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.

September 12, 2018

Fixing Salt Lake City’s terrible flag | Episode 21

Without looking it up, can you describe the flag of your city? For most people, the answer is probably “no;” and if you live in Salt Lake City, it probably should be “no.”Adopted in 2006 by the Salt Lake City Council, the flag features a central logo of a black city skyline in front of green, snow-topped mountains and a blue sky, with the words “Salt Lake City” printed in white. Two wide bars of a darker green and blue split the background in half horizontally.In some cities, like Chicago or Washington, D.C., the flag is a source of civic pride, hung from homes and business and emblazoned on clothing and merchandise. But Salt Lake City’s flag is largely unknown to the general public, and some designers and flag experts say the time is ripe for a redo.On this week’s episode of “Trib Talk,” former Tribune reporter Taylor Anderson and Utah graphic designer Jorrien Peterson join Benjamin Wood to discuss the importance and power of a well-designed city flag and what can be done to improve Salt Lake City’s municipal imagery.And as a special addition to this week’s episode, “Trib Talk” is hosting a flag-design contest for its listeners. Email your idea for a better Salt Lake City flag to tribtalk@sltrib.com with “flag contest” in the subject line by Friday, September 14. Finalists will be selected by the “Trib Talk” team and voted on by our followers and friends on twitter.The creator of the winning design will receive a Salt Lake Tribune coffee mug, will be featured as the background image of the @TribTalk twitter account during the month of October and, who knows, may one day see their flag on top of the City and County Building in Salt Lake City.For more information on this topic, the “Trib Talk” team recommends the excellent 2015 TED talk on flag design by Roman Mars, host of the “99% Invisible” podcast.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.Click here to listen now. Listeners can also subscribe to “Trib Talk” for free on SoundCloud, iTunes and Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher and other major podcast platforms.

September 05, 2018

They failed to reach the ballot, then failed in court. What’s next for Count My Vote? | Episode 20

It’s been more than four years since Count My Vote launched its first direct primary election initiative, and Utahns haven’t stopped arguing about it since.SB54, the Count My Vote-inspired law that created Utah’s dual-track election method, has survived multiple repeal attempts and court challenges. But a new ballot initiative failed to reach the ballot this year, after petition signatures were peeled away by a targeted opposition campaign, and a last-ditch effort asking the Utah Supreme Court to intervene landed with a thud.Wounded by those losses, does Count My Vote still have the muscle to defend SB54? Or will it’s opponents, both inside and outside the Legislature, now have the footing they need to land a fatal blow?On this week’s “Trib Talk” podcast, Count My Vote executive co-chairman Rich McKeown and Keep My Voice executive director Phil Wright join Tribune reporter Benjamin Wood to discuss the future of their organization’s efforts to preserve, or repeal, Utah’s dual-track elections.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.Listeners can subscribe to “Trib Talk” for free on SoundCloud, iTunes and Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher and other major podcast platforms.

August 29, 2018

The unilateral power of Mormon bishops to expel students from BYU | Episode 19

Two students in the Brigham Young University system are facing removal from school, not because they violated campus policies, but because their Mormon bishop has revoked — or is threatening to revoke — their ecclesiastical endorsements, a requirement to attend schools owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.It’s a unique, and some say troubling, aspect of LDS higher education, in which Mormon bishops with no professional ties to the universities have the power to issue de facto expulsions at any time, and at their individual discretion, with relatively little recourse for students.At BYU-Idaho, a student who reported a sexual assault has already been removed from school despite an amnesty policy meant to protect victims. And at BYU in Provo, a transgender student says their bishop has threatened to pull their endorsement if they go forward with a planned surgery to remove their breasts.On this week’s “Trib Talk” podcast, Tribune reporters Erin Alberty, Courtney Tanner and Benjamin Wood discuss the role that ecclesiastical endorsements play at BYU campuses, and the ability of lay religious leaders level academic punishment for violations of church standards.

August 22, 2018

Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes looks back, and forward, on Operation Rio Grande | Episode 18

In August 2017, a major law enforcement initiative known as “Operation Rio Grande” was launched in Salt Lake City, aimed at curbing a concentration of crime, homelessness and drug use.Now, the area around Pioneer Park and The Road Home has transformed, with a sustained police presence cutting down on transient camps and a new drug court allowing addicts to gain access to treatment in lieu of prosecution. But what was a concentrated problem has been dispersed into neighboring areas of the city and county. And after one year, and tens of millions of dollars, there is a question of whether Operation Rio Grande is working to reduce drug use and homelessness, or whether it has simply relocated it.On this week’s “Trib Talk” podcast, Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes, R-Draper, and Tribune reporter Benjamin Wood discuss the one-year anniversary of the operation, it’s successes and ongoing challenges.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.Listeners can subscribe to “Trib Talk” for free on SoundCloud, iTunes and Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher and other major podcast platforms.

August 14, 2018

How young is too young to get married in Utah? | Episode 17

In Utah, it is legal to marry at age 15 with the permission of a judge, or 16 with a parent’s consent. But one Utah lawmaker is trying to change that by raising the minimum marriage age to 18.It’s a change that could be particularly felt by one of Utah’s polygamous groups, in which teenage girls often marry before reaching legal adulthood, due to pressure from their parents and religious leaders, or as a means of escaping their living situations and avoiding assignment into a plural marriage.On this week’s “Trib Talk” podcast, state Rep. Angela Romero, D-Salt Lake City, and Tribune reporter Nate Carlisle join Benjamin Wood discuss the factors behind teenage marriages in Utah and the arguments for and against raising the legal age of marriage.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.Listeners can subscribe to “Trib Talk” for free on SoundCloud, iTunes and Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher and other major podcast platforms.

August 08, 2018

LoveLoud is being called a success by some, but unsafe by others. Can it adapt? | Episode 16

In its second year, the LoveLoud Festival saw a larger crowd packed into a larger venue for its event celebrating and supporting LGBTQ youth.But LoveLoud’s growth also came with growing pains. Some LGBTQ support organizations left the event early, or issued critical statements, over the festival’s treatment of transgender individuals.The disappointment felt by many stood in stark contrast to LoveLoud’s celebratory and inclusive theme. But will the controversy damage the reach of future LoveLoud events?On this week’s “Trib Talk” podcast, Provo Pride spokeswoman Brianna Cluck, Utah Pride Center executive director Rob Moolman, and Jordan Sgro, chief program officer of Encircle, join reporter Benjamin Wood to discuss LoveLoud’s impact, successes, missteps, and future.

August 01, 2018

Are fireworks worth the risks? | Episode 15

Last summer, Independence Day fireworks combined with hot and dry conditions to set off dozens of fires throughout Salt Lake County.In response, one city banned fireworks for Pioneer Day, despite warnings that it lacked the authority to do so. And pressure mounted for state lawmakers to shrink Utah’s legal firework season.So far this year has seen fewer blazes, but the dangers remain. And beyond fires, the noisy, decorative bombs are a frequent source of complaint for some residents, who cite the impact on children, pets and veterans as reasons for their prohibition.On this week’s episode of “Trib Talk,” Rep. Jim Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville, and former Cottonwood Heights mayor Kelvyn Cullimore join reporter Benjamin Wood to discuss the pros and cons of fireworks, and whether the state Legislature or individual city governments are best positioned to regulate pyrotechnic displays.

July 25, 2018

Do BYU police have to follow the same rules as other local cops? | Episode 14

BYU plans to appeal a court decision that found the university’s police department to be a government entity, subject to the state’s open-records laws.The ruling, in a lawsuit filed by The Salt Lake Tribune, relates to BYU’s handling of sexual assault and the role of law enforcement in campus disciplinary proceedings. If it stands, BYU Police would be required to comply with the government records access management act, or GRAMA, and have its operations subject to the same public scrutiny, transparency and accountability as other law enforcement agencies in the state.But BYU contends that because the university is private, so too is its police department, and that GRAMA and Utah’s transparency rules do not apply.On this week’s episode of “Trib Talk," Holly Richardson, a member of the Utah State Records Committee and a former state lawmaker, joins reporters Benjamin Wood and Jessica Miller to discuss the ruling and what it means for law enforcement transparency in Utah County.

July 18, 2018

What does Trump’s SCOTUS pick mean for abortion and same-sex marriage rights in Utah? | Episode 13

On this week’s episode of “Trib Talk,” reporter Benjamin Wood discusses the nomination of Brett Kavanuagh to the U.S. Supreme Court with Jason Perry, director of the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics, and Michelle Quist, an attorney and candidate for the Salt Lake County Council.

July 11, 2018

Did Our Schools Now cut a bad deal for education funding? | Episode 12

On this week’s episode of “Trib Talk,” Tribune reporter Benjamin Wood chats with Austin Cox, campaign manager for Our Schools Now, about November’s non-binding public vote on a 10-cent gas tax increase to support Utah’s public education system.

July 03, 2018

Winners and losers of Utah's 2018 primary election | Episode 11

On today’s episode of “Trib Talk,” Tribune reporters Benjamin Wood, Taylor Anderson, Taylor Stevens and columnist Robert Gehrke discuss the results of Tuesday’s primary election.

June 27, 2018

Is family separation the best way to handle immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border? | Episode 10

On today’s episode of “Trib Talk,” Tribune reporter Benjamin Wood discusses border security and the separation of migrant families with Arturo Morales-LLan, a member of the Utah Republican Party’s State Central Committee, and Luis Garza, executive director of Comunidades Unidas.

June 20, 2018

Utah restaurant horror stories from the Tribune’s food reporter | Episode 9

On today’s episode of “Trib Talk,” Tribune reporters Benjamin Wood and Kathy Stephenson discuss Utah’s restaurant industry and the health code violations that can force a business to shut down.

June 13, 2018

Can atheist bakers refuse to serve Mormons? | Episode 8

In this week’s episode of “Trib Talk,” Tribune reporter Benjamin Wood discusses this week’s Supreme Court decision in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case with John Mejia, legal director for the ACLU of Utah, and Bill Duncan, director of The Sutherland Institute’s Center for Family and Society.

June 06, 2018

Making sense of Josh Holt’s arrest, imprisonment and release | Episode 7

On the latest edition of “Trib Talk,” The Tribune's Washington, D.C., Bureau Chief Thomas Burr and Jacob Olidart, Sen. Orrin Hatch's foreign policy advisor, join Tribune reporter Benjamin Wood to discuss the arrest, imprisonment and release of Utahn Josh Holt from a Venezuelan prison.

May 30, 2018

Live: Utah’s first responders describe how they cope with PTSD

In a bonus episode of ‘Trib Talk,’ Salt Lake Tribune editor Jennifer Napier-Pearce moderates a panel discussion on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder among Utah’s first responders.Panelists include: Rep. Lee Perry, a Utah Highway Patrol lieutenant; Sgt. Lisa Pascadlo, peer-support coordinator at the Salt Lake City Police Department; Shante Johnson, spokeswoman for the Utah State Lodge Fop (Fraternal Order of Police); and Salt Lake City Fire Capt. Mike Stevens, an advocate for better mental health care for firefighters.

May 25, 2018

How to build a bulletproof school | Episode 6

On today’s episode of “Trib Talk,” Tribune reporter Benjamin Wood chats with Canyons School District teacher Katie Bullock and Utah School Superintendents Association executive director Terry Shoemaker about how student safety is helped or hurt by modern school design trends.

May 23, 2018

The five things to know about Utah, according to Paul Rolly | Episode 5

On today’s episode of “Trib Talk,” Tribune reporter Benjamin Wood chats with recently-retired columnist Paul Rolly about his view of Utah politics after a long media career, and the recent staff cuts at The Salt Lake Tribune.

May 16, 2018

Hugging co-workers can be problematic. But banning it won’t stop sexual misconduct. | Episode 4

In this week’s episode of “Trib Talk,” Benjamin Wood, Tribune reporter Taylor Stevens, and employment attorney Jonathan Driggs discuss hugging in the workplace, and how unwanted physical contact can become problematic for employers and employees.

May 09, 2018

A Utah police officer seeks help for himself, and others, after years of trauma | Episode 3

In this week’s episode of “Trib Talk,” reporter Benjamin Wood, Tribune deputy managing editor Matt Canham and Brent Jex, president of the Utah’s Fraternal Order of Police, discuss the need for, and stigma surrounding, mental health services within the law enforcement community.

May 02, 2018

What does Mitt Romney's primary election say about the Utah Republican Party? | Episode 2

In this week’s episode of “Trib Talk,” Tribune reporters Benjamin Wood and Courtney Tanner and columnist Robert Gehrke discuss last weekend’s Utah Republican Convention and the upcoming primary elections for Senate candidate Mitt Romney and incumbent Congressman John Curtis.

April 25, 2018

Will Utah voters go against the Mormon church on medical marijuana? | Episode 1

In this episode of “Trib Talk,” Tribune reporters Taylor Anderson and Benjamin Wood and Tribune editorial writer Michelle Quist discuss a ballot initiative to legalize medical marijuana that appears likely to qualify for the November ballot.

April 18, 2018