Published: Sunday, Jan. 26 2014 12:00 a.m. MST
"Utah is one of only six states led by lawmakers who serve part-time with
limited salaries, meaning most of them retain full-time employment
elsewhere."And where is that elsewhere employment. Most are
realtors, land developers, or other related professions. The attraction to
serving as a part-time legislator is to pass laws that funnel money to their own
interests. That is why the prison move is so exciting for many of them.
Utah has low rates of DUIs and other alcohol-related issues because we have the
lowest number of alcohol drinkers- this has to do with the makeup of our
population and has nothing to do with liquor laws. Utah liquor laws need to be
changed not because they're "quirky," or restrictive, or anything
like that, but because they put an unnecessary burden on people in order to
accomplish nothing. If a "Zion Curtain" accomplishes anything at all,
I'd like to see the study that shows it. If a drop in DUIs can be traced
back to taking hard lemonades out of grocery stores, I'd like to see the
The DN list is very good but their rationale and suggestions often seem
misguided. Air pollution and education are issues that have been in the public
debate for years and very little has been done to address their core problems.
We continue to have legislators that nibble around the edges of these issues but
lack the drive or political courage to pass laws to improve the public lot. As
citizens we need to put people into office that are committed to solving the
core problems on these issues.
Since funding has no correlation to test scores, let's just dump a 100
first graders in a large auditorium with one teacher and see if that works.We also might note that when comparing to other states with similar
demographics for race, ethnicity and children in poverty, Utah does rather
I like the idea of a legislature in session only 45 days a year. As Mark Twain
explained: "No man's life, liberty, or property is safe while
the legislature is in session".
Corruption by dark money also cries out for legislation.
Interesting that the DesNews thinks everyone in a recession ought to pay a hefty
gas tax. Interesting that getting from point A to point B in this State
involves vehicles and yet all freeway lanes are not open during non-peak traffic
rush hours, unless you are willing to pay UDOT for their quirky lane charges
that were supposed to be revenue neutral but in fact are costing more than the
revenue that they are producing. But that's because it was merely copied
from California, not applied as needed to Utah.Want to reduce
pollution? Spend less time on the road (not more) and use natural gas to power
vehicles (not gasoline). Charge more for gas engines from the factory, not
natural gas ones. The solutions are there, we just won't embrace them.And our fog is nothing like the early 60's when you couldn't
drive anywhere for a week at the time. Mother nature (weather patterns) has
more to do with it than human behavior. A fresh breeze will clean the air in
the entire valley in just a few hours.NO MORE TAXES!!
Consider these ways to encourage change in people's car driving and buying
habits that need to change if a reduction in air pollution is a goal.Change registration fees away from the car's value, weight, and age - to
the car's epa fuel economy, the car's annual miles driven, and even
eliminate pre-1996 cars which don't have the modern obd2 emission controls.
This change could be made revenue neutral for the total number of cars
registered, but of course not individually revenue neutral. Not a general tax
increase, instead an individual tax increase or decrease based on contributions
to air pollution. Add registration fees to gov't cars. These
cars are a significant portion cars in operation and ought not to have a bye.
Managers would now have to budget for these fees per car and drive and purchase
cars accordingly. Like we all should, no special treatment for our civil
As a non-drinking mormon, I agree completely with jzorider. We have low numbers
of DUI, alcoholism, binge drinking etc because relatively few people drink. Why
do they not drink? Because they follow the LDS Church's health code which
proscribes drinking. Not because of the inane liquor laws in our state. I would
suspect those communities in parts of Idaho and Arizona with similar LDS
populations have the same low levels of alcohol abuse despite more liberal
Funny that the DNews ignores one of the most important issues affecting the
State of Utah and its citizens - that legislation be put into place to help stop
the blatant corruption that exists in the halls of our state capital. Will
another legislative session come and go without addressing the elephant in the
room? That elephant is none other than the influence peddling that occurs each
year by lobbying groups courting special consideration and favors on issues that
impact their viability to maximize company profits.When is the Utah
legislature going to enact controls on fundraising? Gerrymandering? Conflict of
interest? The will of the people is not being represented during legislative
sessions.....only the will of the elected. It's obvious that our elected
officials don't want to shape legislation that would hinder their ability
to become wealthy and relevant. They want no accountability. They only seek
protection for themselves by ignoring the glaring fact that Utah citizens want a
transparent government - and one that represents their interests, and not the
The most dangerous 45 days in Utah's year are the days the Legislature is
in session. They always pursue at least one clearly unconstitutional bill/issue
which will cost Utah a bunch of bucks. We don't have to wait for that this
year -- we already know what it is, and will continue to be. Since they've
got that out of their way early in the session, I hope they will use the rest of
the session to try to do what is good and right for all the residents of Utah.
Utah's legislature is charged with the responsibility to enact laws that
perform the duties assigned to the State of Utah by the Utah State Constitution.
Any legislation submitted must first address one of those duties. Instead of
using a "pie in the sky" approach to solving all of mankind's
ailments, why don't we start with the fundamental duties that we, the
people of Utah, have asked the State to handle using our personal resources to
fund those duties? Just as the Federal Government is limited in its
authority to perform all "good" things, so the State is also limited in
its authority to perform all "duties" forbidden to the Federal
Government. The PEOPLE have the responsibility to handle everything that they
can handle before looking for salvation from government. We must
never forget that a government strong enough to "solve" all problems is
a government that has the means to restrict all freedoms.Newspapers
have the duty to see that all levels of government restrict themselves to the
duties assigned to those levels by the people.
When you are a hammer everything starts looking like a nail. When you are a
legislature then all the problems appear to be solvable with yet another law. Geneva Steel had been blamed for all the Utah Valley pollution for years
and years, now its gone 10 years or more and the inversion still exists. Maybe
a little more study of the issue rather than more fees, penalties, and taxes to
solve what may be an unsolvable problem.
So, basically DN feels that all is well in Zion and not to do a thing! That
what I read...do nothing about buinesses polluting because it will harm profits,
so nothing about liquor laws because they somehow keep the locals morally
straight, don't fund schools becuase we're doing just fine...what a
joke. No wonder why my kid's asthma is crippling and she's ignored in
a classroom of 35 kids.
DN please cite your studies confirming that school choice makes a positive
difference in student achievement.
Adding variable tolls or any kind of tolls to major highways in Utah is a
horrible idea! Just the worst. In fact, that is one of the worst ideas I have
ever heard. I will actively enlist a small army and work to vote out any
lawmaker who in any way supports a plan to add tolls. Do you want Utah to be
I disagree with Agent Smith about charging highway user fees. Utah residents
like to tout themselves as uber-capitalists, but when it comes time to live by
capitalism, they start to squirm. This is true concerning the gas tax, mortgage
deductions, the child tax credit, and other progressive taxes policies that
redistribute wealth. The gas tax is becoming more and more
progressive as vehicles use less gas or don't even use it at all. Why
should people who drive electric cars not bear a burden for using the highways.
To replace the gas tax, you would have to charge around 1 cent per mile, not the
Chicago toll rates that Agent Smith is afraid of. I don't think it is
logistically easy to toll the state highways, but it certainly puts everyone on
an equal footing when it comes to maintaining our highways rather than allowing
some people to socialistically mooch off of others who pay the gas tax.
Pollution - just charge a tax on all fuels at the wellhead (or state border for
"imported" fuel). Just keep raising it until people change their habits
- use market mechanisms to account for the costs an activity imposes on others.
Make the use of any fuel equal to its true costs and people will use a lot less
of it, and our air quality will improve immensely. Education - we need to
spend more money, BUT also tie that expenditure to results. Incredibly
difficult to do in most cases, but one way is to allow parents allocate a
portion of a given school's budget among selected categories (don't
allow science to go to football for instance, but allow parents to reward
successful core programs with extra support). Voting/Reform - 1. Require
direct non-party primaries - candidates who can collect 1% of the previous vote
total for the position in question should be allowed on the primary ballot, the
top three candidates advance to the election regardless of party affiliation.
2. Limit the total amount of money allowed to be donated. 3. Every single
donation or gift (value and type) must be disclosed within 1 week via electronic
filing with the Lt. Governor's office.
BU52 said: Geneva Steel had been blamed for all the Utah Valley pollution for
years and years, now its gone 10 years or more and the inversion still exists.
Yes, but it's been replaced by cars as the population exploded
in the last 15 years.Some better public transportation would solve
As stated by others; I am curious as to what the legislature is going to do to
waste millions of dollars on as far as ethics and legislation that isn't
worth the paper it is written on. Perhaps if we had a different legislature we
would pass bills that stood up in the courts and would have better ethics among
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