Category: Politics

Key US diplomats to testify in first public impeachment hearing

By Jeremy Herb and Manu Raju, CNN

The House is taking a historic step forward Wednesday in its impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, holding public hearings that Democrats hope will show the public that the President abused the power of his office to obtain dirt on a potential 2020 rival while withholding vital security aid from Ukraine.

The top US diplomat in Ukraine Bill Taylor and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent are testifying at 10 a.m. ET Wednesday in the first public hearing of the House Democrats’ impeachment investigation into Trump and Ukraine.

Taylor is one of the most important witnesses for the Democrats impeachment case. He testified behind closed doors last month that he was told Trump held up US security aid and denied a one-on-one meeting with the Ukrainian President unless Ukraine announced an investigation into his political rivals. Taylor said he was told by officials who spoke with the President that Trump wanted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to “go to a microphone” to announce the investigation.

And Kent told lawmakers in his closed-door deposition that the President’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani was part of a “campaign of lies” in Ukraine that led to the ouster of US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and then the push for investigations.

A Democratic aide said Taylor and Kent were paired together because they were able to provide the “full timeline” of the President’s actions in Ukraine.

Republicans are expected to use the hearing to try to undercut the Democrats’ impeachment arguments. They released an 18-page memo pushing back on the Democrats’ case, arguing that both Trump and Zelensky say there was no pressure and the aid money was released without any investigation. Republicans have also argued that Taylor’s charges against the President are only based on second- and third-hand information.

In his opening statement, House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff plans to explain the scope of the Democrats’ impeachment investigation, according to a Democratic aide. Schiff, who tends to write his own opening statements, plans to “lay out the stakes for the American people,” the aide said.

The public portion of the impeachment inquiry continues Friday with the testimony of former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. Schiff said more witnesses are expected to be announced later this week.

Salt Lake City proposes ordinance to regulate scooters that could put the brakes on some of them

SALT LAKE CITY — An ordinance regulating scooters within the downtown area and surrounding neighborhoods has finally been proposed.

More than a year after Bird, Lime and other scooter companies suddenly arrived in Salt Lake City, the proposed ordinance seeks to create rules for them to operate. They would be kicked off sidewalks in the downtown area — and the regulations may kick a couple of companies out of town.

“We want to do everything we can to make sure that people are safe and that we’re trying to regulate what we can,” said Salt Lake City Councilwoman Amy Fowler.

The proposed ordinance includes:

  • Treating scooters like bicycles in the downtown area, which includes prohibiting them on sidewalks.
  • Designated areas where the scooters ought to be parked.
  • Scooters can’t be left in parking spots, on TRAX or Frontrunner platforms.
  • Prohibiting scooters from being parked within 15-feet of building entrances or traffic poles, and 30-feet from ADA-accessible ramps.
  • Scooter companies must have a business license with the city, must enter into a contract with the city to operate and must share data with government officials.

Salt Lake City may cut back on how many companies can operate, allowing only one or two.

“It would feel like a little bit more like a partnership, be easier to manage and also competition’s a good thing,” said Jon Larsen, Salt Lake City’s Transportation Director.

Shortly after the scooters arrived in town, the city launched a pilot project to gauge public comment as well as set some ground rules for them to operate. FOX 13 at the time documented hundreds of complaints — and a few compliments.

“It’s kind of a polarizing thing. People either love scooters or they hate them,” said Larsen. “A lot of the feedback we get are from people who have a lot of, frankly, legitimate concerns about the scooters. Sidewalk riding.”

Scooter riders who silently zip around pedestrians has consistently been a top complaint to the city. So has scooters littering the sidewalks when dropped off after a ride. Designated areas may help that, Larsen said.

“Right now there isn’t official scooter parking and I think people would use it if it was there,” he told FOX 13.

By treating scooters the same as bicycles, the proposed ordinance would kick them off the sidewalks in the downtown area. Larsen said there would likely be some wiggle room for high-traffic areas where there is no designated bicycle lane like State Street.

Councilwoman Fowler said it also calls attention to the need for better protections for both bicycles and scooters.

“We do need to create a safer way to have them on the roads, same as we have a safer way to have bikes on the roads,” she said.

Violations of the proposed ordinance on the part of riders would be an infraction, or the equivalent of a traffic ticket.

A representative for Lime said the company was reviewing the proposed ordinance when contacted by FOX 13 on Tuesday. Spin signaled its support.

“We are thrilled the City is taking formalized steps towards creating a permanent scooter-share program. Enforcement has been a challenge for many cities, but we think Salt Lake is working to develop a program that rewards operators for playing by the rules,” a spokeswoman for the company said in an emailed statement.

The Salt Lake City Council is expected to discuss the proposed scooter ordinance next week. It could be adopted by February. Councilwoman Fowler has ridden the scooters and likes them, calling them a good option for people to get around the city.

“I think it’s important for our air quality. I think it’s important there are ways to get out of your vehicle and do something else, but it does need to be done within reason,” she said. “I think racing around and putting people in danger, putting people on sidewalks in danger is not anything we want with our mobility.”

Read the proposed ordinance here:

Reps. Stewart and Curtis absent from many impeachment hearings

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah had more than its share of access to depositions in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

2nd District Rep. Chris Stewart and 3rd District Rep. John Curtis sit on the House Intelligence and Foreign Affairs committees, respectively.

That said, out of a potential eight witnesses to testify, it appears Curtis and Stewart saw and heard from four, according to the transcripts released by the Intelligence Committee which include the names of Members of Congress in attendance at least at the beginning of the depositions.

FOX 13’s content partners at The Salt Lake Tribune first reported on the attendance of Curtis and Stewart and received some explanation from each of the Representatives’ offices. Click here to read the Tribune’s report.

Southern Utah University speeds up programs, offering a bachelor’s degree in three years

CEDAR CITY, Utah — Southern Utah University is launching a pilot project to accelerate the speed at which a student can graduate with a bachelor’s degree.

The project, funded by the Utah State Legislature, gives a student the option to graduate in three years instead of the usual four. In an interview with FOX 13, SUU President Scott Wyatt acknowledged it is a gamble.

“Universities are not the most change places. We’ve been going for a thousand years doing the same thing,” he said. “It’s really hard to do change. And there’s a whole culture that has to shift.”

With $3 million, the university will keep buildings open and operating in the summer and a majority of their faculty full time. Students will then have the option of taking a full range of classes during the summer.

“We’ll pay the faculty extra to teach in the summer and most of the faculty have decided to participate. For the students, again, it’s their choice and their call,” Wyatt said.

At universities across the state, buildings often sit idle as faculty are on break and students return home for the summer to work and earn more money for next year’s tuition. Wyatt said the tradeoff is students who are in Cedar City through the summer may earn less at a part-time job, but still have a full-time schedule and can graduate in three years and get a jumpstart on their careers.

The pilot project is in its infancy. Some professors may hold classes for just one student.

“This year, we’re just betting all and if just one student signs up for class, the class is going. Because we have to guarantee the student that she can graduate in three years,” Wyatt said.

Students FOX 13 spoke with were supportive of the idea.

“The quicker students can get out and go and be in their career, the better,” said Cynthia Hawk, a political science student.

Jeff Carr, SUU’s Student Body President said he liked the choice for students to accelerate, or take the traditional four-year approach.

“I think it gives students a lot more freedom so they can do more with their time,” he said.

The program will get going in January 2020 with about half of SUU’s degree programs being offered on the accelerated schedule.

“We’re going to lose money in the first couple of years. But once the culture shifts and students realize this is an awesome experience, we’re going to see a tremendous number of students take advantage of this,” Wyatt said.

Bolivian President Evo Morales steps down following accusations of election fraud

Bolivian President Evo Morales resigned Sunday amid growing opposition after an international audit found the results of last month’s election could not be validated because of “serious irregularities.”

Morales said he was stepping down “for the good of the country,” which has been roiled by protests in the days following the October 20 election. Three people have died in the protests and hundreds have been injured.

Calls for Morales’ resignation had grown over the weekend, and on Sunday, the head of the Bolivian Armed Forces, Cmdr. Williams Kaliman, asked Morales to step down in order to restore stability and peace.

Morales claimed he’d been forced out in a coup — a charge echoed by his allies in South America, but denied by the opposition movement, which said this was a fight for “democracy and peace.”

“I regret this deeply,” Morales said on national television. He will send his resignation letter to Congress in the next few hours, he said.

Demonstrators and the Bolivian opposition had accused electoral authorities of manipulating the vote count in favor of Morales, the country’s longtime socialist leader. Morales denied the allegations and declared himself the winner.

Morales was one of the longest-serving heads of state in Latin America. He served nearly 14 years and was Bolivia’s first indigenous president.

He won his first election with a campaign that promised a government focused on the needs of the country’s poor. But he was also accused of using the system to concentrate power.

“We have been in the government for 13 years, nine months and 18 days thanks to the unity and the will of the people,” Morales said in a statement posted to Twitter. “We are accused of dictatorship by those who lost to us in so many elections. Today Bolivia is a free country, a Bolivia with inclusion, dignity, sovereignty and economic strength.”

Celebrations broke out across the country as news of his resignation spread.

Who’s next in line

It was unclear Sunday evening who would be Bolivia’s next president. The officials next in the presidential line of succession all resigned Sunday.

Vice President Álvaro García Linera announced his resignation minutes after Morales stepped down.

President of the Senate Adriana Salvatierra Arriaza, 30, would have been next in line, according to the Bolivian Constitution. But she, too, announced her resignation Sunday evening.

The job would have passed to President of the Chamber of Deputies Víctor Borda, but he stepped down earlier Sunday.

Speaking to local media, the second vice president of Bolivia’s senate, Jeanine Añez, said that she is the next in line to assume the presidency, and is willing to do so.

Añez, an opposition lawmaker, said that she would assume the presidency with the objective of calling for new elections. But it remains unclear how the succession will unfold, or what role the military will play in the transition.

How we got here

Morales did not plan to leave the country, he said Sunday. “I don’t need to escape. I want the people of Bolivia to know that I have not robbed anyone, nothing. If someone thinks we are stealing, then tell me. Present the proof.”

Morales resigned just hours after he promised new elections would be held and the country’s electoral council replaced following a report by the Organization of American States (OAS).

A series of alleged irregularities — including failures in the chain of custody for ballots, alteration and forgery of electoral material, redirection of data to unauthorized servers and data manipulation — impacted the official vote count, the OAS said.

In the hours after polls closed, preliminary results showed Morales slightly ahead of his opponent, former President Carlos Mesa. The tight margin would have prompted a runoff vote in December.

But the opposition and international observers became suspicious after election officials stopped the count for about 24 hours without an explanation. When the count resumed, Morales’ lead had jumped significantly.

“The manipulations to the computer system (used in the elections) are of such magnitude that they must be deeply investigated by the Bolivian State to get to the bottom (of this issue),” the OAS said, in part.

The organization recommended new elections be held under the umbrella of “new electoral authorities in order to offer a reliable process.”

Saturday, various police units joined those calls, while Kaliman, the head of the Bolivian Armed Forces, said his units would not confront protesters.

A number of other government officials resigned Sunday, including the president and vice president of the electoral council, known as the Supreme Electoral Tribunal.

By Sunday night, both of them had been arrested for “electoral crimes,” according to Bolivia’s state-run ABI news agency.

The prosecutor’s office opened an investigation into allegations of falsifying documents, manipulating data and alternating results, among others, the news agency reported.

In her letter, Maria Eugenia Choque, president of the electoral tribunal, said she was resigning with the “firm conviction that I have not taken any actions to alter the sovereign will of the Bolivian people.”

The international community reacts

The US State Department is monitoring the “quickly unfolding events” in Bolivia, a US State Department spokesperson said. Earlier, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo commended the OAS audit and said the United States supported the new election and the installation of a new electoral council.

“In order to to restore credibility to the electoral process, all government officials and officials of any political organizations implicated in the flawed October 20 elections should step aside from the electoral process,” Pompeo said.

But others, including Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, condemned what they called a “coup” against Morales.

“We condemn the opposition’s coup strategy which has unleashed violence on Bolivia, has cost deaths, hundreds of injuries and condemnable expressions of racism towards the native people,” Díaz-Canel said on Twitter.

Twenty members of the Bolivian executive and legislative branches have sought refuge at the Mexican ambassador’s residence in La Paz, said Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard.

Mexico would grant Morales asylum if he requested it, Ebrard added.

Hong Kong police officer shoots protester with live round in early morning clashes

A 21-year-old protester was shot with a live round by a police officer in Hong Kong early Monday morning, as traffic stalled and clashes broke out across the city.

A traffic officer shot the protester in the torso and fired two more live rounds in Sai Wan Ho, on eastern Hong Kong Island, according to a police source.

In a video clip of the incident shared online, the officer can be seen grappling with a protester. A second protester, dressed in black and wearing a face mask, approaches the scuffle, and the officer raises his gun.

The second protester appears to try and wave or slap the gun away, and the officer shoots him at close range, to screams from the surrounding crowd of protesters and passersby.

Several more protesters then grapple with the officer, and two more live rounds are fired off-camera.

The injured protester is undergoing operation at a hospital and remains in a critical condition, according to the Hong Kong Hospital Authority.

In a statement, police confirmed that the officer had “discharged his service revolver,” and that officers in two other locations also drew their guns as they tried to disperse protesters.

The statement denied “online rumors” of reckless firearm use, and called the accusations “totally false and malicious.”

“Police (have) strict guidelines and orders regarding the use of firearms,” the statement said. “All police officers are required to justify their enforcement actions.”

Police officers have since cordoned off the area where the protester was shot, and fired tear gas to disperse protesters.

Protesters called for a general strike on Monday across the city, and caused traffic disruptions at several locations throughout Monday morning. Police said demonstrators set barricades and blocked roads in Sha Tin, Tseung Kwan O, Tuen Mun, and Hung Hom districts.

Several subway lines were experiencing minor to severe delays, with some routes partially suspended “due to an escalation of the situation in station,” according to the MTR subway operator.

In a statement, police said they were continuing to clear barricades and disperse the protesters.

Anti-government protests, which began in June in opposition to a now-withdrawn extradition bill, have dragged on for five months. Protesters have five major demands, including an independent inquiry into alleged police brutality and wider democratic reforms.

The protests have sent retail and tourism numbers plunging in the former British colony, which fell into recession in October. Demonstrations have also steadily escalated in violence, with increasing public hostility toward the city government and police force.

Police first used lethal force in October by firing a live shot and injuring a protester.

Tensions in the semi-autonomous Chinese city were further inflamed this weekend, with raging protests fueled by anger over the death of a 22-year-old student.

Chow Tsz-lok, a computer sciences student at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), died on Friday morning, days after falling and suffering a severe head injury in a parking garage close to the scene of protests.

Chow had been in a coma and on life support until Friday. There is no indication that Chow was involved in the nearby protest the night of his injury.

Protesters and fellow students mourned his death throughout the weekend, with a vigil on Friday night and a memorial on Sunday. HKUST students left flowers and messages on Post-it notes on campus, and vigil attendees laid flowers and lit candles.

Chow’s death also prompted an outpouring of anger from anti-government protesters, who claim that police actions on the night of the accident resulted in paramedics being temporarily unable to access him.

This anger spilled out during the weekend protests, with protesters on the streets shouting for “revenge.”

Police expressed “profound sadness” over Chow’s death, but have strenuously denied responsibility and maintained that at no point did officers obstruct ambulance or fire services from assisting him. A police statement released on November 5 described the allegations as “certainly false.”

According to police, ambulance crews arrived at the scene on November 4 approximately 19 minutes after being called. Hong Kong’s ambulances pledge to arrive at the scene of the incident within 12 minutes of a call.

It’s the biggest week of the House impeachment investigation yet. Here’s what you need to know

The most important week so far of the impeachment inquiry is here.

Democrats will take their case to the American people that President Donald Trump should be impeached and they’ll do it by introducing public testimony from career State Department employees, who will testify under oath to things they’ve already talked about in private.

CNN reporters read all 2,677 pages of private testimony that have been released so far. Here’s the rundown.

Still no word from the whistleblower

What Democrats say they won’t present is testimony from the whistleblower whose alarm uncovered Trump’s effort to use tax dollars and foreign aid as ransom for his own political benefit.

Seizing on that strand and betting that Americans won’t read too deeply into the mounting evidence against Trump, Republicans argued over the weekend that without the whistleblower, the case against the President falls apart.

“It’s impossible to bring this case forward in my view fairly without us knowing who the whistleblower is and having a chance to cross examine them about any biases they may have,” said Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham on Fox on Sunday.

Who needs the whistleblower, given everything else?

The head impeachment inquisitor, House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, argued Saturday that the whistleblower’s complaint has been corroborated, which makes testimony from the whistlebower “redundant.”

Bringing the whistleblower up to testify would only jeopardize the individual’s anonymity, which is guaranteed by law, but which Republicans continue to exploit as a tantalizing secret.

Some conspiracy theorists have made a game online of trying to identify the whistleblower, which has led to some cases of mistaken identity. CNN’s Brian Fung talked to one victim.

Will public hearings change minds?

Graham, the Senate Judiciary chairman, was already this weekend predicting acquittal in the Senate, which has the duty to conduct a trial and consider removing Trump from office if the House impeaches him.

“So if they don’t call the whistleblower in the House, this thing is dead on arrival in the Senate,” Graham said.

That may be the case anyway since despite the evidence against Trump and the incredibly consistent testimony of his pressure on Ukraine, there hasn’t been a crack in Republican support for him in the Senate.

Sen. Ron Johnson is a good exhibit of that. The Wisconsin Republican was concerned about the holdup of military aid and had discussions with Trump about it in real time in September, but he was defending Trump on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday.

Diverting back to the Bidens

Whether the public testimony of multiple career diplomats changes that is not clear.

But Republicans are focused on arguing that former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, should be called to testify — something Democrats will not allow since it would divert focus on Trump’s pressure on Ukraine back on the Bidens, who the President was trying to get investigated in the first place. (There is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Joe or Hunter Biden in Ukraine.)

Who we won’t hear from

Democrats are at present proceeding without testimony from key White House officials.

John Bolton, Trump’s former national security adviser, has said he has relevant information to the impeachment probe, but he wants clarity on whether he should listen to a House subpoena or stay silent under Trump’s claim of executive privilege.

And on Friday, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney asked for the same clarity from courts, saying that he can’t be the one to decide whether to listen to the House or listen to the President. Mulvaney is seeking to join a case already filed by Bolton’s former deputy Charles Kupperman and has been granted a hearing at 5 p.m. ET Monday in Washington, DC.

The long game: It could take weeks or months of court wrangling and Democrats are on a timetable to finish up impeachment so they can move on to kitchen table issues in 2020 — which means impeachment investigators might just move on without this.

The week ahead

Tuesday — The White House may release the transcript of an April call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Wednesday — Public testimony is scheduled from Bill Taylor, still the top State Department official in Ukraine, who raised concerns about the shadow foreign policy being pursued by Rudy Giuliani and who internally called out Trump’s political appointee for tying political investigations to security aid.

Taylor can talk about why Ukraine needs that aid.

Also Wednesday, there will be open testimony from George Kent, who will talk about Giuliani’s efforts to get former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch removed from her post.

Friday — Yovanovitch will testify publicly about her recall at Trump’s request.

Graham: Impeachment inquiry is ‘invalid’ without whistleblower’s testimony

Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham asserted Sunday that the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump is “invalid” unless the identity of the anonymous whistleblower whose complaint sparked House Democrats’ probe is revealed.

Graham, whose committee would be at the center of Trump’s trial in the Senate should the House approve articles of impeachment against the President, also said in his Sunday interview with Fox News that the process would be “dead on arrival” in the Republican-controlled chamber if the whistleblower doesn’t testify before Congress.

“I consider any impeachment in the House that doesn’t allow us to know who the whistleblower is to be invalid because without the whistleblower complaint, we wouldn’t be talking about any of this and I also see the need for Hunter Biden to be called to adequately defend the President and if you don’t do those two things it’s a complete joke,” Graham, a South Carolina Republican, said.

He continued: “It’s impossible to bring this case forward in my view fairly without us knowing who the whistleblower is and having a chance to cross examine them about any biases they may have. So if they don’t call the whistleblower in the House, this thing is dead on arrival in the Senate.”

CNN has reached out to Graham for clarification on what he means by “invalid.”

The comments from Graham come a day after House Republicans and Democrats sparred over whether the whistleblower would provide testimony as part of the impeachment inquiry, an aspect of the process that was seen as critical during the start of it, but was put to rest Saturday by House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff.

House Republicans had submitted to Democrats earlier Saturday a list of witnesses they’d like to testify as part of the chamber’s impeachment inquiry into Trump and Ukraine, seeking testimony from the whistleblower, former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden and former US special envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker, among others.

“As of right now, they are giving us no witnesses,” California Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, told Fox News Saturday night. Democrats have so far received testimony from 15 witnesses that they called before the committee.

But Schiff, in his letter to Nunes on Saturday, said the whistleblower’s testimony would be “redundant and unnecessary.”

“The impeachment inquiry, moreover, has gathered an ever-growing body of evidence — from witnesses and documents, including the President’s own words in his July 25 call record — that not only confirms, but far exceeds, the initial information in the whistleblower’s complaint. The whistleblower’s testimony is therefore redundant and unnecessary,” the letter, obtained by CNN Saturday night, read.

Schiff also argued in his letter that “in light of the President’s threats, the individual’s appearance before us would only place their personal safety at grave risk.”

The President has been encouraging media outlets to out the whistleblower, and he wrote in a September tweet that “Like every American, I deserve to meet my accuser.”

The whistleblower’s complaint at the heart of the House’s inquiry alleges that Trump pushed Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden, the former vice president’s son and the 2016 election in order to help the President politically and that the White House took steps to cover it up. Trump has denied doing anything improper.

Trump has pushed an unproven accusation that then-Vice President Biden improperly tried to help his son by pressuring the Ukrainian government to fire the country’s prosecutor general. Hunter Biden served on the board of the Ukrainian natural gas company at the time.

There is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Joe or Hunter Biden in Ukraine.

Asked during a Sunday interview on Fox News about the possibility that outing the person could send a “chilling message” to other government officials looking to file complaints, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said protecting whistleblowers is important but so is questioning their motivations.

“Whistleblower protections are important,” she said. “But you can’t just not question the motivations of this whistleblower.”

But at least one Republican lawmaker, Texas Rep. Will Hurd, has spoken out against revealing the identity of the whistleblower.

“I think we should be protecting the identity of the whistleblower, I’ve said that since the very beginning,” Hurd told Fox News in a Sunday interview, adding: “How we treat this whistleblower will impact whistleblowers in the future.”

Utah legislature to consider banning teens from tanning beds

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah State Legislature is being asked to consider banning teens from tanning beds.

“There is no compelling reason any more for a teen to be able to tan and there’s no reason to allow it,” Rep. Brad Daw, R-Orem, said in a recent interview with FOX 13.

Currently, Utah law requires parental permission for minors who go to a tanning salon. Rep. Daw said for a long time, he believed parental choice was appropriate. But he has since changed his mind as he learned more about the risks of skin cancer later in life.

“We as a state have a compelling health interest to prevent that kind of cancer outbreak later in life,” Rep. Daw said.

A ban is likely to draw some pushback from those who advocate for parental choice. An industry group representing tanning salons also said it would challenge any bill.

“Even though the lawmaker may be well-meaning, there’s unintended consequences to that approach,” said Joseph Levy with the American Suntanning Association.

Levy said a ban would likely push teens outdoors, where they are at greater risk for skin cancer and a sunburn — not the controlled environment of a tanning salon.

“It doesn’t decrease sun bed usage. It just drives people who want to use sun beds in a non-salon sun bed,” Levy said. “Why that’s important is that a salon has the ability to control your exposure time.”

The Utah State Legislature is expected to consider the proposal at its interim meetings later this month. Levy said he intended to reach out to Rep. Daw to talk to him about the legislation.

Any bill will not be considered until the 2020 legislative session in January, but Rep. Daw said he believes it’s past time to move forward with an all-out ban.

“Really, there is no good compelling reason to allow a teen to tan,” he said. “You’re basically putting them at severe risk.”

Rep. McAdams’ new bill aims to get money for suicide prevention

SALT LAKE CITY — In a downtown Salt Lake City news conference, a psychiatrist, a congressman and a state legislator announced a new effort to fund suicide prevention research.

Rep. Ben McAdams is sponsoring the Advancing Research to Prevent Suicide Act. The idea is to get money to researchers who are trying to understand an alarming increase in suicide rates, nationally and in Utah.

One of the most experienced researchers on the issue is psychiatrist Doug Gray, a professor at the University of Utah. Along with McAdams’ bill, Gray praised Gov. Gary Herbert’s youth suicide task force, the Safe UT app, and the Huntsman Family’s recent $150 million donation to fund the Mental Health Institute at the University of Utah.

“I am so pleased that in the last five years our work on suicide prevention in the state has doubled and tripled,” Gray said.

McAdams noted that suicide has become the leading cause of death among Utah youth.

“A youth suicide traumatizes the entire school system. People feel that so deeply, and they wonder, ‘What could I have done to prevent it?’” McAdams said.

Utah has the nation’s sixth-highest suicide rate, with more than eight suicides for every murder committed in the state.