Theory vs. Theocracy
When did gravity start pulling up, and the sun start orbiting the Earth? When did science become the devil? The state School Board is now pulling back on new standards for teaching science. A Salt Lake Tribune story quoted science whizzes, such as a Lindon parent who served on the review committee. Somehow, putting Utah "values" into science curriculum seems like turning the clock back. Late in 2014, The Washington Post ran research on where science denial comes from. "When people deny science, they do it because they think it conflicts with their personal identity," it said. "But many elements go into each of our identities, with both politics and religion constituting vital components for many people." OK, we get it. Maybe consider homeschooling if that's the science you want.
The nation can thank Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, for keeping supplements available and affordable—even if they have no beneficial value. Worse yet, a recent New York State investigation found that many supplements didn't contain what their labels said, sometimes having disastrous consequences. A New York Times article pointed out that some "ginseng" pills sold at Walgreens contained only powdered garlic and rice. GNC's pills had unlisted ingredients that could be hazardous to health. The New York State attorney general called on GNC, Target, Walgreens and Walmart to remove the mislabeled products. Hatch's '94 law exempts supplements from FDA scrutiny, and the senator successfully fought against a 2012 amendment for tougher rules. The following year, a hepatitis outbreak traced to a tainted supplement hit 72 people. Three had liver transplants, and one died. At least Utah's supplement industry is thriving.
The Longest 45 Days
The best thing about the 2015 legislative session is that, mercifully, it only lasts 45 days. Besides the burning issues of designating a state domestic animal and a commemorative assault rifle, there's the suggestion by Rep. Curt Oda, R-Clearfield, that anyone can carry an unloaded concealed weapon because it makes bystanders feel better. Medicaid expansion continues to be a hot button issue among legislators with Cadillac health plans, and nondiscrimination laws could happen, if we allow certain discrimination, anyway. The session is always a good time to reassess why your vote doesn't count.