Sonja Hutson

Sonja Hutson is a politics and government reporter at KUER. She’s been reporting on politics ever since the 10th grade, when she went to so many school board meetings the district set up a press table for her. Before coming to Utah, Sonja spent four years at KQED in San Francisco where she covered everything from wildfires to the tech industry. When she’s not working, you can find her skiing, camping, or deeply invested in a 1000 piece puzzle.

On any given day, half a dozen cranes tower over the "Silicon Slopes" region just south of Salt Lake City erecting glassy office buildings to make more room for Utah's steadily growing tech industry. Companies and the state want that growth to continue, but industry leaders argue that to do so, Utah's image needs some work.

That's why tech lobbyists such as Sunny Washington are pushing for more socially inclusive legislation at the state Capitol. Washington works for the industry's advocacy organization, also called Silicon Slopes.

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It happens at the beginning of every year: elected officials, legislative staff, lobbyists, journalists and the public gather in large numbers in state capitol buildings around the country for a relentless few weeks — or months — of lawmaking.

In 2020, official business had wrapped in many states by mid-March when lockdowns began. In others, the spread of COVID-19 sent lawmakers home early.

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This story is part of an NPR nationwide analysis of states' revenue and budgets during the pandemic.

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In Utah, when a Republican county primary came down to an exact tie, there was no recount or runoff. Instead, the outcome was decided by chance. Sonja Hutson from member station KUER reports.

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