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

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








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...


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...


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...


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...


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,...


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...


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...


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...


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...


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...


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...


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,...


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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...