Public Clubs, Dead Watchdog, Homebrew & Paved History 

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Public Clubs As City Weekly went to press, the Legislature was putting finishing touches on a deal to abolish private clubs once and for all. The breakthrough appears to have come when the LDS Church entered back-room negotiations, causing right-wing lawmakers to back down on plans for a Berlin Wall in front of bars and other inanities. Maybe this whole theocracy thing isn’t all bad.

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Dead Watchdog Get ready for higher heating, electric and phone bills. The utilities’ friends in the Legislature are speeding through a law change that would strip powers from Utah’s ratepayers’ advocacy organization, leaving utilities free to jack up prices unchallenged. Lawmakers have tried for years to neuter the meddlesome Committee of Consumer Services, the governor-appointed board that represents the interests of ratepayers when utilities ask for rate hikes. This time, lawmakers may have succeeded with a bill to make the committee “advisory.”

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Homebrew Is this a magical year on Capitol Hill or what? In addition to abolishing private clubs, the 2009 Legislature has passed a bill to legalize home brewing. Assuming Gov. Huntsman signs it, the legislation sponsored by Rep. Christine Johnson, D-Salt Lake City, will allow Utahns to make up to 100 gallons per year of beer or wine in their home, den or office for personal consumption—just like Brigham used to. Before the law change, home brewing was technically illegal in the Beehive State without an expensive manufacturers’ license.

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Paved History Lawmakers are clearing the way for a 3,000-yearold American Indian archeological site on the banks of the Jordan River to be paved over. The site, thought to be one of the oldest evidences of civilization in Utah, includes thousands of artifacts and two homes. It was set to be permanently protected this summer—until former-House Speakerturned-lobbyist Greg Curtis intervened. With the protection out of the way, the Legislature was free to open the site for development. In case you didn’t know, the most popular profession among Utah lawmakers is real-estate development.

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