Plane Air 

Also: Automatic Failure, Wage Wars

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Plane Air
We're not saying stop the airport expansion, but Sen. David Hinkins, R-Orangeville, makes a good point about pollution. Why hasn't anyone mentioned the possible ill effects of expansion on the air and, for that matter, the kind of air pollution the airport already creates? Hinkins even made a comment about pushing medical-waste company Stericycle from North Salt Lake while ignoring airport pollution. Comments on the Deseret News article about it were even more compelling. For instance, new businesses have to meet requirements from the Environmental Protection Agency before starting up, and commercial vehicles seem to be able to avoid penalties for their emissions. Driving in the valley is unrestricted, even on high-pollution days, and Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker prefers talk of restricting fireworks to any substantive solution. While taxes are a dirty word in Republican-run Utah—especially for businesses—they could also be effective in curbing large air polluters.

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Wage Wars
Utah's all about women these days—at least in theory. A recent study by the National Women's Law Center shows that 1 in 5 working mothers of young children are paid less than $10.10 an hour. The study has a seven-point recommendation, including raising the minimum wage, making affordable health-care accessible and enforcing employment anti-discrimination laws. Lucky gals, the Legislature's Women in the Economy Commission met for the first time to "increase public awareness of women's impact on the state economy." Utah needs more than a little awareness.

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Automatic Failure
Oooh, boy! Some Utahns are so opposed to the Common Core that they're willing to go back to the failed No Child Left Behind model—yes, NCLB, former President George W. Bush's brainchild that sought to improve schools through ultimately unattainable benchmarks. The state school board will decide whether to continue asking for a waiver Aug. 8, and at least one member—Kim Burningham—wants to go for it. That's because NCLB requires achievement in 40 different areas, requires all schools to reach 100 percent attainment by, ahem, this year, and would thus assure that all schools fail. Also, Utah schools would have to redirect Title I funds at a cost of $23 million. It's interesting how a bad idea can morph into a good one through political machinations—and fear of the feds.

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More by Katharine Biele

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    A group called Our Schools Now is stumping on the legislative preview circuit for an income tax increase to help fund education. But Senate President Wayne Niederhauser and maybe the Legislature in general seem to think this will open the gateway to hell.
    • Jan 18, 2017
  • DUGWAY OUTDOOR TESTING, Trump Protest, Clean Air Rally

    While it's not exactly the Downwinders issue, outdoor testing surely affects the air you breathe. But let's give it a try. The public has a chance to hear all about the U.S. Army Dugway Proving Ground plans to conduct outdoor testing of small quantities of pharmaceuticals, "which pose an emerging threat to U.S. citizens and the Armed Forces," the public notice says.
    • Jan 18, 2017
  • Hearing Protection, Sex Ed, Public Lands

    We certainly don't want our hunters hassled, especially in the rain, and that is good reason to loosen Utah's already liberal gun laws.
    • Jan 11, 2017
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