UPH Election Day Live-Blog

It’s Election Day on this fine November 6, 2018. We’ll be updating this live blog throughout the day. [7:35pm] – Fox News called the House for the Democrats. I anticipate we’ll see a reverse of the Gingrich House of the 90s. Investigation after investigation after investigation. – Beau Sorensen [7:20pm] – I think the Senate results are showing that the Kavanaugh hearings backfired on Democrats and that from an electoral standpoint Republicans were right to push him through. It told Republicans they needed to get out and keep the Senate in GOP…

For the life of a very special child

State Representative Karianne Lisonbee and State Senator Curt Bramble have co-sponsored a bill protecting a baby from being aborted solely because it has or has been diagnosed with Down Syndrome (HB 205) – and it sounds altogether reasonable to me. Why should Down Syndrome be a death sentence? Or, if focusing solely on the feelings and rights of the mother, why does a personal preference outweigh the inherent dignity of a Down Syndrome child? For the bill’s pro-abortion opponents, the biggest excuse in opposing the bill is the law. Since…

It’s time for real ethics reform

With a part-time Legislature, Utah is prone to difficulties with ethics in at least two ways. First, there always is the possibility that legislators will legislate matters pertaining to their own business interests. Second, and the more serious concern, legislators may create business interests because of their political power. More often than not, the public debate over government ethics reforms centers on systemic issues. Time is the biggest one. It is both a blessing and a curse. When the Legislature is not in session it cannot do any harm. The…

Utah’s problem: finding a governor who will discourage theocracy but stay home

It’s funny – Mormon scripture commands for separation of church and state (Latter-day Saint Doctrine & Covenants 134:9 – “we do not believe it just to mingle religious influence with civil government”). It jives rather well with the religious freedom provision of the First Amendment that safeguards from theocracy. Amazing, the extent that supposed adherents of Mormonism have violated the holy text. In recent years, chiefly for fighting gay marriage, but it started when the United States owned territories in antebellum America. Mormons claimed they owned some because… God, if…

A better approach to the gender pay gap

This legislative session Senator Anderegg created a bill to try to address a pay gap that exists between men and women. This seems like a popular cause to get behind, though. Who could be against equal pay? But we me must make sure we are taking not only a data-driven approach but that we are gathering the right data. If we look at the wrong data we will come up will come up with the wrong approach that will have unintended consequences. We also need to be careful to listen…

Political accountability

As Donald Trump implodes, and (perhaps) takes the Republican Party with him, finger-pointing abounds. Why should I resist the temptation? I have written before in this space about my dismay that Republican Party officials signed on with Trump long before there was any need to. Whatever one may say about the need for party loyalty after Cleveland, Trump’s unacceptability to Utah Republicans was glaringly obvious when Utahns For Trump was organized, way back in February. Three elected party leaders were part of this effort, and my finger is now pointing…

Gary, it’s time

Watching the saga of Gary Ott unfold has been truly bizarre. From the uncertainty as to where he lives to the soap opera of who he is or isn’t in a relationship with to the rather incoherent responses to the few public interviews he’ll grant, it feels like I’m watching an episode of Parks and Recreation rather than reading the news. Unfortunately, this isn’t an excellent scripted comedy and running the Recorder’s office isn’t some trivial task. It requires someone who is in full control of their faculties. It requires…

Senator Dabakis silences hundreds of San Juan County citizens

Utah State Senator Jim Dabakis posted the following picture on his Facebook page on August 5, 2016. Dabakis states that US Senator Mike Lee conjured up this picture to scare his “MINIONS” in to demanding “NO MONUMENT”. Citizens of San Juan County who are being directly affected by the monument if designated began to reply to Dabakis post. As comments were posted opposing the National Monument or questioning Dabakis about the so-called “Lee” photo they were deleted and the person making the post was blocked from his page. For example…

Senator Jerry Stevenson: Please support IT Academy

During the Session we approved an appropriation for our IT Academy, which unfortunately was vetoed by the Governor. This is an excellent program that provides high school students the opportunity to graduate from high school certified in Microsoft and other software programs, which helps these students gain employment straight out of high school. I appreciate that this program offers these high school graduates the potential to support themselves through higher education as they find employment with their certification. I have attached a letter from the IT Academy and a PDF with more information…

Utah Senate: Senator Howard Stephenson veto override statement

Dear Colleagues, I write for the purpose of providing you with context and information related to the Governor’s veto of SB 2, Item 6 (found on lines 205-220). I strongly believe that we should exercise our Constitutional authority to override this veto. This veto significantly impacts funding for important educational programs in our state which we had carefully studied and vetted through the legislative process. In his veto letters, the Governor explains his reasoning for vetoing this item – but I don’t believe he had complete context, or accurate data,…