Hits & Misses | Kids with Guns, Utah Air & Utah Worker Reform 

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Shootin’ Students
Nothing says “higher learning” like goofballs walking around campus with six-shooters hanging from their belts—at least according to the Second Amendment Students of Utah. Not satisfied that Utah’s Legislature forced the U. to allow concealed weapons on campus, the Wild West types say they should be allowed to carry their guns unconcealed like Jesse James. They can’t, because of a deal the U. worked out in settling its antigun lawsuit, but some gun nuts want to renege. A second part of the U. gun deal also is unraveling. Students were supposed to be able to request nonpacking roommates—but Utah’s list of concealed-weapons permit holders is secret, and U. administrators decided including a gun question on residential-hall application forms might be bad PR.

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Air Clean-Up
Breathing air in some parts of Utah is like smoking five cigarettes a day. So warns a Utah physicians group pressing for antipollution action. And, with the inversion this year sneaking up Capitol Hill, there are signs policymakers might at last be paying attention. Gov. Huntsman has put air quality on top his budget priority list, calling for $10 million for air monitoring and additional money to test for deadly mercury in the air and water. It’s a change from summer when Utah lawmakers said they would prefer not to know and rejected additional air-monitoring equipment. Facing the physician’s group warning about 2,000 premature deaths per year from bad air, Utah pols might just do something to preserve Utah’s reputation for clean living.

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Workers’ Hell
Utah has scored an A-minus on a “national report card” from the good folks at the Alliance for Worker Freedom. Unfortunately, “freedom” to the anti-union Alliance means freedom to work for low wages, to get no say in your job and to have nothing to show for it when you retire. Utah scored points for laws that make it hard to organize a union, a state minimum wage no higher than the paltry federal minimum and few unionized workers. The report card notes Utah law makes it difficult for unions to raise lobbying money and that “employees do not have collective-bargaining rights.” The grade puts Utah in company with Mississippi, South Carolina and Idaho. The Beehive State could do with a little less of that kind of freedom.

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