Utah’s Teen-Sex Mystery Good news. Teen sex is on the decline. In fact, the numbers have been going down since 1995, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, which just released 2009 figures. How about Utah teens? Well, we don’t really know. The state eliminates questions about sex on the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, administered by the Centers for Disease Control. And now, the state Board of Education, buckling under a handful of complaints, has decided to forego its maturation program, “Growing Up Comes First.” The program was created by Planned Parenthood, which is on the national chopping block anyway. The decline in premarital sex for teens is linked to abstinence education, but even the most effective of these programs offers information about contraception. That information appears to be the deal-breaker in Utah.
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Ever-Changing Story Utah Sen. Mike Lee, a beloved tea-party activist, is pretty sure that President Barack Obama deliberately and maliciously set a course to assure government shutdown. He made his case on the floor of the Senate, saying Obama had his big chance to pass a full budget right after the election and before the new Congress came in. Lee thinks that all the continuing resolutions—at least seven of them—were calculated to lead to shutdown. Either that, or Obama was just irresponsible, he said. That was the day before Congress reached a “historic” agreement on the budget. Oops. Now tea partiers like Michelle Bachmann are saying it wasn’t so much the budget as the debt ceiling that was the problem.
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Conflict Resolution Sen. Stephen Urquhart, R-St. George, has come up with a dandy recycled plan to let the governor appoint the attorney general. The last time this came up was during the Mike Leavitt reign when there was a similar legislative effort—targeting Attorney General Jan Graham, a Democrat. Then, ostensibly, it was about clarifying whom the AG represented. The thinking was she could not investigate state agencies and defend them simultaneously. Now, Urquhart wants to avoid the sticky issue of AGs getting campaign contributions from entities they may need to investigate. Isn’t it great that legislators are now so interested in avoiding conflicts of interest? But wouldn’t this just shove those conflicts farther from sight since the governor gets campaign contributions, too, and would be directing the AG’s work?