The Latest: Herbert: Rise in youth suicides ‘horrifies me’
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Latest on the Utah governor’s State of the State (all times local):
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert is again sounding the alarm about Utah’s rising rate of teen suicides.
The Republican governor used his annual State of the State speech Wednesday to speak of his newly-formed task force to try to determine why Utah’s youth are taking their lives.
Herbert said it horrifies him that suicide has become the leading cause of death among Utah’s young people and the fact that some of them feel such hopelessness and discouragement “is tragic beyond words.”
The new task force is expected compile a list of proposed solutions by Feb. 15.
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert is applauding the efforts of House Speaker Greg Hughes, Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox and others for tackling problems of crime and overcrowding around Salt Lake City’s downtown homeless shelter.
That effort called Operation Rio Grande included a focus on stepped-up policing, job training, drug treatment and health insurance for some of the poorest of the poor.
Herbert said in his annual State of the State speech Wednesday night that Utah officials “are not ready to declare victory,” on the effort but it has already disrupted drug trafficking and crime in the area and brought hope and opportunities for homeless people.
Gov. Gary Herbert says respect, responsibility and collaboration are more important than any laws Utah legislators might pass this year.
Herbert, who has long bristled at behaviors of President Donald Trump such as name-calling and tossing insults over Twitter, used part of his State of the State speech Wednesday to talk about the importance of civility and looking out for others.
The governor didn’t mention the president but said Utah’s culture of “rugged individualism,” and moral commitment to help those most in need is the most important thing.
The governor also spoke about a documentary that he watched last week at Utah’s Sundance Film Festival about Fred Rogers and his children’s program, “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” Herbert said Rogers spoke of a world “in which we need to share responsibility.”
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert referenced the #MeToo movement calling out sexual misconduct in his annual State of the State speech Wednesday night.
The movement sparked by allegations of assault and rape against movie producer Harvey Weinstein in October touched off an airing of similar allegations against powerful men in media, politics, business and other fields.
Herbert briefly spoke in his speech about his concerns for his own granddaughter, asking if when she returns from serving a mission abroad for the Mormon church, “Will she find a workplace that protects her from harassment and gives her equal opportunity for her equal potential?’”
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert is using his 9th annual State of the State speech to focus less on specific policies he’d like to see lawmakers tackle this year and instead giving them broad directives to take on big challenges.
Herbert used his speech before the Legislature Wednesday night to ask lawmakers to think about taking on Utah’s biggest challenges in a way that will serve the state well a year from now.
He also gave a soft warning to legislators about trying to pass too much legislation this year, noting that more than 1,200 bills are already in the works for Utah’s short, 45-day session.
The governor also spoke about a need to prioritize education, overhaul Utah’s tax laws, plan for Utah’s infrastructure needs in the decades to come and work to reduce pollution that builds up and settles over northern Utah’s valleys in the winter.