I live in Utah, first by choice, and now by court order. So please do not tell me to move. Utah is a beautiful place to live, full of recreational opportunities and incredibly beautiful and singular scenery. Salt Lake City has grown up since I first moved here 25 years ago, and now has all the big-city advantages without all of the disadvantages.
The Utah legislature has a super-majority in the House and Senate. Utah has been consistently ignored on the national stage since the 50-state strategy went away (thanks Rahm). When you leave these extreme people in the corner they get crazy. We've had voterID for years. No one made a peep about our civil rights. Heck, the legislature tried to criminalize miscarriage and that eventually got some attention around the world. My OBG's office graciously agreed not to tell the legislature if I had a miscarriage.
The crazy is strong this year too, and here's a roundup of what's on the tables. It's hard to know what order to put the items in, as they all have their own flavor of crazy.
And I keep hoping that the national Dems or the Justice department will find that my civil rights are being violated and that I am essentially unrepresented outside of the county limits. And I give thanks that the legislative session is limited to 45 days.
Utah Senate passes required daily pledge. An Osmond family nephew, brand new in the legislature, is worried about our junior high and high school youth. Because our youth are not patriotic enough. So to fix that patriotism defect, he recommends frequent and regular pledging. One of his more experienced colleagues chimed in with "students should be reminded once per year that reciting the pledge is voluntary and leading it is an honor." I am not sure that Mr. Osmond understands the voluntary part.
This is the same Aaron Osmond who recently dropped work on the Personhood Bill after the bill became unpopular outside of one of Mr. Osmonds's supporters.
The legislative seat he occupies was formerly held by Chris Buttars, who was in league with the Eagle Forum in Utah. Which is somewhat more extreme than the Eagle Forum in the rest of the country.
A committee considered a license plate honoring Martin Luther King, Jr., but got confused with abortion in a twist and turn I cannot begin to comprehend. Another lege was concerned that people might have the right to avoid hunger. Apparently, MLK, Jr., is a symbol for human rights, and we just don't want those rights to go too far. Or something.
A bunch of people who don't drink alcohol are fiddling with liquor laws. Although one Dem tried to add an amendment that the commission for the bureau of alcohol have 2-3 drinkers on it. And that thought was entertaining.
The Sagebrush Rebellion is alive and well in a series of bills requiring the Federal government to return 2/3 of Utah's land to the Utah state government. Theoretically, the legislature wants to use the drilling and mining leases to fund public education, since they have decided to nearly stop funding it anyway. However, the legal fees in defending this legislation will certainly exceed any benefit the schools ever gain.
The legislature, in addition to making sex ed optional, is reaffirming that abstinence-only is the only option. I find this amazing in a country where one-THIRD of teens with unplanned pregnancies THOUGHT THEY WERE STERILE! Is this the new teen pickup line? "Hey baby, just relax. I'm sterile. You won't get pregnant." oops. Radio interview proving not everyone in the legislature is a crazy white man.
After the groundbreaking and controversial immigration laws last year, there are NO new immigration bills this year. None. Zip. Nada. Zero. The Speaker of the House said so, and the real reason is yet to be revealed. One legislator allegedly tried to introduce a bill while the Speaker was out of the room, but he was caught and corrected. I heard. ;-)
Just like other states, there's a bill to ban the photography of farm animals. Even if the owner is in another country and you're on a backcountry trail in southeast utah. This one seems like ALEC boilerplate.
The big one getting no attention is on health care. As in not only repealing the ACA aka Obamacare, but "opting out" of federal Medicaid and Medicare programs. So the programs can be closer to the people. Or else closer to the legislator's business colleagues.
Here in the non-coastal west, the legislature needs to comment on guns regularly. This year, it's promoting open carry.
On women's health care, the only thing I can find is a 3x longer 72-hour waiting period for abortion. Which is apparently still legal and available, with strings. But not probes. Yet.
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