Utah

Otto Kitsinger / Associated Press

Idaho continues to try and keep invasive mussels out of its waterways with a new agreement with Utah.

Idaho has been trying to keep quagga and zebra mussels out of lakes and reservoirs since 2009. The state operates inspection stations along its borders to track down boats that may be contaminated with the invasive species and keep them out of Idaho waters.

hospital, medical, nurse
Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

Idaho continues to experience pockets of severe nursing shortages while better paying jobs in surrounding states are attracting Idaho's nursing graduates, according to a recently released report from the Idaho Department of Labor.

Idaho Bureau of Land Management

A new legal analysis from a group of Western attorneys general casts doubt on many of the arguments Utah has put forward in its push to gain control of millions of acres of federal land.

With 70 percent of its land owned by the federal government, the Great Basin is known as America’s last frontier. It’s home to ghost towns, endless sagebrush and secretive government test sites. Paradoxically, the Great Basin also is the fastest growing urban region in the United States, thanks to the cities of Boise, Salt Lake City, Reno and Las Vegas that perch on its rim.

Prairie Dog, wildlife
Matthew Paulson / Flickr Creative Commons

Government attorneys are defending federal protections for Utah prairie dogs after 10 states stepped into the case in favor of a ruling that animal activists say could undermine the Endangered Species Act.

Federal lawyers are asking an appeals court to overturn an unusual ruling striking down prairie dog protections near the Utah town of Cedar City.

Residents say the animals are taking over their town, though animal activists countered Thursday that those concerns are overblown.

Eastern Idaho authorities on Monday searched for the body of a 38-year-old Utah man who was one of four people in a fishing boat that overturned in the Snake River.

Sgt. Jeff Edwards of the Bonneville County Sheriff's Office says three of the four people made it to shore when the boat struck a partially submerged cottonwood tree at about 8 p.m. Sunday.

Edwards says Steve Ryan Woods of Ogden, Utah, was last seen as the boat overturned.

Search and rescue teams searched the river Sunday evening until it became too dark.

Frank Swift / Flickr Creative Commons

After a failed attempt to pass what's known as Idaho's "Add the Words" bill earlier this session, some people are looking to a neighboring state for guidance.

Last week, Utah's Republican-led Legislature passed what's being touted as a landmark gay rights law that has the support of the Mormon Church.

Utah's governor says he would veto a resurrected bill that would allow anyone over 21 to carry an unloaded, concealed gun without a permit.

Republican Gov. Gary Herbert told reporters Tuesday afternoon that he thinks Utah's gun laws work well as they are.

A Senate committee voted 4-1 on Tuesday morning to approve the proposal, which now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

It mirrors a similar one introduced by a House Republican earlier this year.

That lawmaker, Rep. Curtis Oda, agreed to withdraw his proposal as part of a deal with Herbert.

Utah's GOP-controlled House of Representatives narrowly approved a proposal to bring back the state's use of firing squads for executions, but the measure faces an uncertain reception in the Senate.

The 39-34 vote Friday came as missing lawmakers were rounded up to break a deadlock. The firing squad was discontinued in 2004.

The Associated Press says leaders in the Republican-controlled Senate won't say whether they will support the measure and Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, also a Republican, has not said if he will sign it.

Mormon church, temple square, salt lake city
Doug Kerr / Flickr Creative Commons

Mormon church leaders are making a national appeal for a "balanced approach" in the clash between gay rights and religious freedom.

The church is promising to support some housing and job protections for gays and lesbians in exchange for legal protections for believers who object to the behavior of others.

It's not clear how much common ground the Mormons will find with this new campaign. The church insists it is making no changes in doctrine, and still believes it's against the law of God to have sex outside marriage between a man and a woman.

For the ninth year in a row, Utah residents are number one, in terms of volunteering their time.

Utah ranks number one on the annual, “Volunteering and Civic Life in America Report,” put out by the federal government. Close to 45 percent of Utahns volunteer, and they contribute about 155 million hours of service.

Dixie National Forest, Utah, public lands
Jeff Turner / Flickr Creative Commons

A report released Monday shows Utah could afford to manage more than 30 million acres of public land within its borders if the state somehow took control of those acres from federal agencies.

State officials requested the economic study as part of a push to gain control of land in federal hands.

Utah's Republican governor and legislators argue local officials would be better land managers. They passed a 2012 law demanding the federal government hand over the land by 2015.

At the Utah State Capitol, a mural of Brigham Young and the first Mormon pioneers brings some color to the building's spartan rotunda. Beneath it is a more modern sculpture — a woman walking forward with her son, who's holding a globe.

Underneath the statue are the words "Immigration and Settlement." The symbolism isn't lost on state House Speaker Becky Lockhart.

"Utah is a place that understands the value of immigration, the value of peoples coming to find a better life," she says, pointing up at the sculpture.

Utah will begin issuing registration cards Tuesday for its limited medical marijuana program targeting adults and children with severe epilepsy.

A new state law doesn't allow medical marijuana production or distribution but permits those meeting certain requirements to possess a marijuana extract oil.

The oil is believed to help with severe seizures.

The extract's Colorado-based producer has a long waiting list, so many families are expected to apply for their Utah registration cards later this year when there will be more supply of the oil.

Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are cracking down on members who openly dispute the doctrine of the faith. Earlier this week, a Mormon feminist was excommunicated for pursing membership in the all-male priesthood of the church. Now another member, John Dehlin, is facing the same fate — for questioning scripture and speaking out on behalf of gay Mormons.

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