Capturing rainwater is an easy “green” renovation for homeowners. It’s also illegal in Utah, something Senate Majority Leader Scott Jenkins, R-Plain City, wants to change. On Feb. 1, the Senate approved his bill with a 25-2 vote, which would allow property owners to collect up to 2,500 gallons of rainwater on their property for use on that same property. Senate Bill 32 now moves to the House, where Rep. Ben Ferry, R-Corrinne, a farmer, has said he wants to amend it to require people collecting rainwater to register with the state. However, this is an important issue for Jenkins, whose clout as majority leader will likely trump objections from so-called small-government conservatives like Ferry.
Sen. Chris Buttars, R-Pluto (er, West Jordan), has apparently decided that education—at least, the senior year of high school—is wasted on the youth. In Buttars mind, the 12th grade is just one big party and should be canceled so that those ne’er-do-well seniors can do something useful with their time. (Exactly what Buttars thinks 17- and 18-year-olds would do with more free time isn’t clear.) Buttars actually suggested this informally prior to the start of the 2010 Legislature, but at the time it seemed so outlandish that seasoned political observers (read: me) assumed that Buttars had said it after (accidentally, of course) living life more elevated than the Mormon Word of Wisdom allows. During a Feb. 1 budget subcommittee, however, Buttars expanded on his idea and promised a bill to accomplish it. Cutting the 12th grade would save the state $102 million, which, if passed, would mean that no other state funds education as piss-poorly as Utah.
John Weis might not be the next congressman from Utah’s 2nd District, currently held by a kinda-Democrat, Rep. Jim Matheson. But he will be a challenger within the Democratic Party to Matheson, who is typically anointed as the candidate without question. Weis was selected as the “Citizen’s Candidate” by a panel of liberal political activists on Jan. 30 at the Salt Lake City Main Library after responding to a Craigslist ad. Weis, an immunology professor and researcher at the U of U, describes himself as a married father of two who is a gay marriage supporter, outdoor enthusiast and “logical” thinker. In response to the challenge, Matheson organized another conference call with people who love and adore him.