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Liquor Lawmakers 

Get the Story Straight & Manning the Watershed

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Liquor Lawmakers
Actually, Utah legislators, it's not about the law so much. Research shows that parents are the key to teenage drinking. And isn't that what Republicans prefer anyway—to get government out of family business? But wait. Lawmakers continue to tinker with the state's liquor laws to universal ridicule. The Salt Lake Tribune enumerated many of the silly rules for tastings. Hey, it's just a tasting, guys! Now liquor manufacturers have to create distinct spaces for tastings so kids can't see. Sometimes that's a cramped hallway. And of course, you have to have "substantial food" and a tasting fee. The Hive Brewery, according to Fox News, thinks it all has to do with LDS Church influence. And it might. Mormons do stack the DABC board. There's no research to show that Zion curtains or other restrictions keep kids from drinking. It's the parents, stupid.

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Get the Story Straight
And on the passing-stupid-laws front, we should look at the story of sex trafficking in Utah. To Deseret News' credit, they have been running stories about research and legal cases involving sex trafficking. A recent study showed that most sex workers have no pimps, but rather turned to the trade because of family or friends. And we don't mean gentle urging. Take the story of Jose Balam Valencia, whose daughter testified about his rape and mistreatment. So what does the wrong story do to victims? It "leads to laws and solutions that do nothing for a person running away from an abusive group home, or LGBTQ youth with nowhere to stay," Johannah Westmacott, housing coordinator for a homeless youth service program in New York City, told the D-News.

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Manning the Watershed
Salt Lake City has a lot of collaborative relationships in their watershed management. Just ask them. But that's not the way that many who live and play in the Wasatch Front canyons see it. Salt Lake has been the only big city granted watershed regulation rights, a Deseret News story notes. But three other cities are due to join the ranks, and no one knows exactly what that will mean. As it is, dogs aren't allowed up in the canyons (deer are, of course), and swimming, wading and motorized boating are prohibited. That, notes one detractor, happens even though water comes from Jordanelle. A state committee is looking at Salt Lake's unusual powers—obviously because of population and development pressures. If the city plays nice, maybe the Legislature won't repeal its watershed oversight.

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