Sen. Sheldon Killpack, R-Syracuse, resigned his seat Jan. 16, one day after being arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence near 3300 South and 700 East. His resignation is a major shake-up in the Legislature, which starts Jan. 25, because Killpack was the majority leader in the Senate. There is little doubt among legislators that Killpack would have lost his leadership position, but losing him as a senator is disappointing. Killpack was generally seen as a more thoughtful legislator and, ironically—considering he was with former Rep. Mark Walker, who pleaded guilty in a bribery investigation—he was expected to be one of the leaders in ethics reform this year. Had he not resigned, his DUI would have been a distraction, but his public humiliation might have made him more compassionate in the long run. And if there is one thing the Senate Republicans need, it’s more compassion.
Whine & Dine
It’s no secret that Utah is currently out of bar liquor licenses, and one of the tightest crunches is for restaurant liquor licenses. To remedy the problem, Rep. Gage Froerer, R-Huntsville, is taking the common-sense approach and proposing to let the free market determine who can serve a martini with dinner. Through House Bill 223, he is attempting to eliminate the caps on restaurant licenses at the state level. He is doing this despite legislative leaders saying they are not planning to make any substantive changes to liquor laws this year, including addressing the license shortage. One can only hope that words like “free market” and “common sense” negate those vows.
The curbside muggings shall continue. So say almost all airlines, who have engaged in an orgy of fee hikes for checked luggage to cover slumping bottom lines. It started with Continental, which announced Jan. 12 that it was increasing fees. Within hours, Delta followed suit, and on Jan. 13, United Airlines also raised its fees. Finally, on Jan. 18, American bumped its fees. The fees went from the mid-teens for the first bag to $25 each way, with a second bag costing $35. Thankfully, the airlines are run by smart executives, so those increased fees will translate to improved customer service and fewer lost bags ... right? (Budget travelers should note that JetBlue and Southwest are the only two airlines not charging for the first checked bag. )