While it’s no surprise that a survey done by the Libertas Institute finds Utah to be, well, conservative, some of the answers should give policymakers pause. In a random sample of 425 Utah voters, the institute found that 72 percent think the country’s going in the wrong direction, and 52 percent think Utah’s headed in the right direction. On social issues, Utahns were actually divided on lowering the blood alcohol level—48 percent were in favor; 44 percent were opposed. Sunday closings got a 53 percent thumbs down. And, whoa, 53 percent think you shouldn’t be jailed for simple possession of marijuana. Utahns are pretty confused about the Common Core State Standards Initiative, with 31 percent unsure what to do about it and 41 percent wanting to get rid of it—whatever it is.
Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield, is emerging as Utah’s consumer and ethics advocate on a number of levels, not the least of which is calling for the resignation of Attorney General John Swallow. Yes, he was the first among GOP lawmakers to step into the muck, and appears willing to step into more. He’s looking at the June 19 interim session of the Legislature to address the security issue at the Department of Motor Vehicles, where he thinks it’s likely that bad guys have planted employees to data-mine personal information. And he’s concerned about credit bureaus fooling the public with “educational scores” that allow some people to get loans they don’t qualify for. But Sen. Curtis Bramble, R-Provo, wouldn’t let Ray present his case in the last session. After all, it was big business versus the consumer, and the Legislature tends to favor the former.
Woe is Sen. Aaron Osmond, R-South Jordan, as he wades into the John Swallow debacle and tries to explain his past support. Osmond has been a media darling for his support of public education and transparency in government, but was outed recently as the largest contributor—$100,000—to Swallow’s campaign. Osmond is CEO of several companies that hoped to lobby against tighter federal regulations, and he says he believed Swallow was a champion of small business. On The Senate Site, Osmond gives his side of the controversy, saying his company was never involved in anything nefarious, and he did persuade others to donate, although without any promises of favors.