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…

Herbert starts the race for 2016 with a commanding lead over Johnson

Perhaps one of the more interesting races coming up this next election cycle is for the nomination for Governor of Utah. Utah Democrats don’t have a chance of winning state-wide office anytime in the near future. Neither Sean Reyes, John Dougall, or Richard Ellis (Utah’s AG, Auditor, and Treasurer, respectively) look like they have serious in-party challengers (or challengers at all). That leaves only Gary Herbert, governor since 2009, has a rival for the Republican Party’s nomination. That rival–Overstock.com chairman Jonathan Johnson–has his work cut out for him. It will pit Herbert’s “gut conservative” style…

Planned Parenthood can clean up its image with this one simple step

Governor Gary Herbert did the right thing in telling Utah agencies not to pass through federal grant money to Planned Parenthood. Sure, Pro Choice activists will mock, in strongly worded Facebook posts, that Herbert’s action was mostly ineffectual since most of Planned Parenthood’s money comes directly though the federal government. Further, what money does pass through state agencies is primarily for sex ed and STD prevention. In fact, perhaps the best defense that Planned Parenthood has put up is that they provide women with other services in addition to abortion (does abortion even qualify as…

Rick Larsen: Term Limits – Not a Pitfall, but a Pinnacle

Elected officials and self-identified politicos often lament the apathy of the public and yet, in the case of term limits, are quick to discount resounding public support with the condescending attitude that “the public doesn’t know what’s good for them”. An astonishingly high 79% of Utah voters statewide would beg to differ, as they express strong support of term limits. In fact, only 5% of those surveyed strongly oppose term limits. The public couldn’t possibly make a stronger statement as to their opinion on this issue Not so long ago,…

State Auditor Asks: Should State of Utah as an Employer Comply with the Affordable Care Act?

While lawmakers on Utah’s Capitol Hill debate to what extent to expand Medicaid (Healthy Utah, Frail/Feeble Utah, or Middle of the Road Utah), state government has begun to comply with the employer mandate provisions of Obamacare, raising questions for some about the intrusion of federal law. Raising issues of federalism, on Wednesday, Utah State Auditor John Dougall asked a simple question: “Should the State of Utah as an employer comply with the “employer mandate” found in the Federal Affordable Care Act (“ACA”)?” I called Utah Human Resources and confirmed that the state is…

It’s Time to Cease the “Tail Wagging” by the Anti-Common Core Crowd

(Note: In this post, Kim Burningham speaks in his own behalf. The point of view expressed in this blog does not necessarily represent any organization of which he is or has been a part.) A uniquely American phrase—the tail wagging the dog—can be traced to the late 1800s. In 2015, I note a modern application in Utah.   Some strident fringe groups have been shouting so loud about their fears of the common core that the whole education system has been shaken. This is unfortunate, and it time for such distortion…

Utah AG Reyes Talks About El Cid, the Great Puhi, Bushido Warriors and Speaking Truth to Power in His Second Inauguration

Attorney General Sean Reyes began his second year in office and his first since facing voters in November. His inauguration speech set a tone of inclusiveness  and cross-cultural depth, as well as a willingness to fight even tough battles when the cause is just. It’s hard to make politics interesting to the average American. Let’s be honest: the only thing less interesting than listening to a politician drone on about taxes, budgets, treaties, and any number of other public policies is the dying art of watching paint dry. Somehow, Attorney General Sean Reyes managed…

Here’s Why Judge Waddoups Put Another Candidate Back On The Ballot

If it wasn’t official before, it is now.  The Utah State School Board (“USBE”) nomination and election process is an absolute mess. After Judge Waddoups ruled last week to allow two candidates for the USBE back on the ballot, a third–Joel David Wright–asked the court to do the same for him and successfully got himself a place on voters’ ballots. At this point, the Utah Legislature has failed at multiple attempts to reform a board of education selection process that no one really likes, a federal court has struck down that process,…

LG Spencer Cox Busts Out Vanilla Ice at Open West

Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox knows his Vanilla Ice. Recently, asked to make a presentation at Open West on “Utah’s priorities and areas of technology growth,” Cox found himself on the stage in front of a bunch of tech gurus (also know, variously, as developers, nerds, or engineers). Then, magic happened. Start the video below at 8:29 (Cox’s presentation starts at 3:07, if you’re interested in the whole thing). Related articles Utah Politico Summer Reading: Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox (publiusonline.com) Meet Spencer Cox, Utah’s new Lt. Governor (hollyonthehill.com) Herbert announces new…

Utah Politico Summer Reading: Auditor John Dougall

It’s not too late to start a new book, and if you’re Utah State Auditor John “Frugal” Dougall, you’ve started at least three in the time it takes to read this post. If you need a reading suggestion or two, here are a few that Utah’s politicos are reading. This is the twelfth in a series on what Utah’s politicians have on their summer reading lists. Utah State Auditor John Dougall lives in Highland, Utah and getting his summer reading list up was a constantly moving target. Where most politicians shared what they intend to…