In the category of "this is news?" comes a Utah Auditor's report that we're not getting good teachers because we don't pay them enough. Wait, what? We need to pay teachers? KUTV blared the story and the Deseret News noted that education is among the worst-paid majors in terms of starting salaries. And, of course, teachers get no respect. Quite the opposite, as the Utah Legislature continues to strap them with mandates, tests and assessments because lawmakers know better. The auditor's report says Utah needs about $115 million to cover the 10,000 more students in public schools next year. Legislators have some fun ideas to make that work: reimbursing schools for students who graduate early and oh, eliminating rooftop solar tax credits because what's good for the environment needs to be weighed against what's good for education.
The Long Run
Now that Donald Trump is president-elect and House Speaker Paul Ryan is his buddy, term limits might be in the offing. Don't tell Sen. Orrin Hatch, though. He is seriously considering another run at the office he's held since 1977. And every single time he's run, opponents bring up the inconvenient fact that he first won election after criticizing Democrat Frank Moss for being in office too long—18 years. He has long since eclipsed that. The Salt Lake Tribune says he might run again in 2018, and there's a possibility Republican-turned-Independent Evan McMullan would run against him. They seem to have a mutual admiration society between the two of them, but uniting the GOP is at the forefront. McMullan doesn't quite fit in as one of those old, white male Republicans, but maybe he will by the time Hatch retires.
Considering the president-elect's affinity toward the carbon-based economy, it was heartening to hear the Salt Lake City Council had signed a joint resolution with the Utah League of Native American Voters supporting the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and its members in North Dakota. It was a symbolic gesture in support of the tribe's opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline project. Several hundred people gathered in downtown Salt Lake City to show support. KUER was there for the march and the resolution against an oil pipeline planned to go under the Missouri River. The Washington Times recently reported how easy it would be for the Trump administration to overturn President Obama's rejection of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. Standing up for the environment and the rights of Native Americans is more than symbolic.