38 reasons Utah won’t see Medicaid expansion this year

It might be 2016, or even 2017, before Utah sees legislative action on Medicaid expansion. A self-imposed July 31 deadline blew past without any compromise between House Leadership and the Governor, despite a loose framework for the compromise. At this rate, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to see Medicaid expansion this year. The 2016 campaign season has effectively begun and as the election approaches, campaign calculus means that the chances of a special session diminish. Forcing legislators into Medicaid during election year is suicide. While the Governor pushes to get a Medicaid expansion deal done, something…

Ten Bills That Someone Wants Governor Herbert to Veto

With almost every bill that passes the legislature to some acclaim, there’s a constituency out there that finds itself scratching its head, throwing its collective hands in the air, and declaiming the collective stupidity of the Utah Legislature. If they can’t win in the people’s House, they call the Governor’s office and ask him to veto it. And let’s be honest: we’ve all been there. For me, it’s the Zion Curtain (even though I really like John Valentine–no disrespect intended, but I just don’t think it is good public policy). For you,…

Are We Asking the Right Questions About the Board of Education?

Utah State Superintendent Finalists Announced: Backup Plan for Some? John Barge, Martin Bates, Rich Crandall, Brad Smith

A couple weeks back, contributors to the Utah Politico Hub examined the role of the State Board of Education in students learning. Does the Board have a duty to parents or to students? The response was impressive, with parents, activists, and even a couple members of the State Board of Education weighing in. You can find those posts here. As I’ve thought about the topic since, though, I’ve begun to wonder if perhaps we–the public–understand what the Board of Education does and how it works.

The Healthy Utah Poll: Pushing Public Opinion, not Finding It

Released on June 17th, a poll shows massive public support for Governor Gary Herbert’s Health Utah Medicaid expansion plan. In fact, if the poll numbers are to be trusted,  legislators with any kind of political self-interest should be scrambling to accept the Medicaid expansion. On a second look, though, the poll isn’t so helpful as it looks and may actually have methodology problems. Utah policy makers should be wary before accepting the results of the poll. Utahns have a lot still to learn about Medicaid expansion before a decision is made to accept…

Failed USBOE Candidate’s Viewpoint Discrimination Claim Fails the Ron Swanson Test

Breck England is complaining about viewpoint discrimination, and he is completely right…and totally wrong.   In the latest strange development in Utah’s political litigation industry, Breck England, an unsuccessful candidate for the Utah State Board of Education (USBOE), has sued the members of the USBOE nominating committee, Governor Herbert, and Lt. Governor Cox for allegedly engaging in discrimination in violation of his constitutional rights (a copy of the complaint is embedded below). The basis for England’s claim is that, during vetting process of state school board candidates, some candidates are favored…

Religion and Governmental Incompetence

In a recent column, I addressed the origin and importance of the American concept of religious freedom. Our American concept of religious freedom is different, in part, because our concept of government is different. We believe in a limited government — i.e., one that is not able to govern every aspect of our lives. The entire point of a constitution is to limit government, and we limit government in any number of ways, both menial and fundamental: (1) we limit the government’s ability to be led by a president younger…

Utah’s New Public School Complaint Department!

The last night of the session late in the night a bill squeezed through by one vote, and hackles were raised. S.B.257 Parent Review of Instructional Materials and Curriculum from Sen. Howard Stephenson sounds pretty innocuous.  It asks a parent review committee that already exists to look at complaints raised on materials and curriculum.  The bill also requires that the State Office of Education post on their website a report of the complaints they receive and the actions taken. What’s the big deal? First, the committee now tasked with reviewing complaints…

“On Point,” Jan 31, 2014

Senators Luz Robles and Deidre Henderson are joined by Michelle Mumford, assistant dean at BYU Law School, and Holly Richardson of the “Holly on the Hill” blog. The group discusses the tragic shooting of Sgt. Cory Wride and another officer; congratulates Sen. Robles on her engagement; discusses activity from the first week of the 2014 session; goes in depth on the Uintah Elementary school lunch scandal and Governor Herbert’s State of the State address.