Citizen Initiatives, Library Fines & Alcohol Shipping | Hits & Misses | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Citizen Initiatives, Library Fines & Alcohol Shipping 

Pin It

Blank Ballots
Citizen initiatives will not be on the ballot in this year’s general election. All of the circulated petitions—including one that created an independent ethics commission and another that would have removed elected officials from the redistricting process—failed to meet the K2-like thresholds for initiatives, including 95,000 required signatures statewide and 10 percent of the voters in 26 of the 29 state senate districts. Regardless of the initiatives’ purposes, the fact that none made it on the ballot emphasizes how effectively the voice of the citizenry has been muzzled by the Legislature. Pure and simple, it is almost impossible to get an initiative onto the ballot. Utah Republicans love to talk about their government—and yes, it is their government, not the people’s—as a republic, but these latest failed initiatives prove that Utah is closer to a fiefdom.

Reading Fines
A few dollars owed for an overdue library book could sour young readers on one of the great public resources. To avoid that discouragement, Salt Lake City libraries are now allowing children to pay those fines by reading, with a $1 credit toward their fines given for every 10 minutes of supervised reading in the library. Children are not the only beneficiary of the reinvention of library fines, as fines may soon be waived for adults who ride their bikes instead of driving around the city. Reading while biking, however, will not earn extra credit.

In the name of protecting children (apparently, from ordering expensive wine from boutique vineyards), U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, unveiled a bill on April 16 that could make it much more difficult for wineries to ship their product directly to customers. The bill would make it almost impossible for federal laws to trump state laws regulating alcohol sales, even if the state law violates the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution—you know, that thing politicians like Chaffetz dry hump daily. Already, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that states that allow in-state shipments of wine cannot prohibit out-ofstate shipments, a ruling this bill openly defies. Not coincidentally, the bill was reportedly authored primarily by lobbyists for the beer wholesalers, who are almost as threatened by the loss of their monopoly as Utah Republicans.

Josh Loftin:

Pin It

Speaking of...

About The Author

Josh Loftin

Josh Loftin: Twitter | Facebook | News Blog

More by Josh Loftin

Latest in Hits & Misses

  • Remote Work

    Well, there's always Twitter.
    • Nov 22, 2017
  • Pot Heads

    The Deseret News asks a good question:
    • Nov 15, 2017
  • Shrug

    We'll see where this goes after the less-than-enthusiastic response to the state's Medicaid waiver was finally approved.
    • Nov 8, 2017
  • More »


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment


Readers also liked…

  • Details, Please

    And Barring Bars
    • Jun 1, 2016
  • Balk the Vote

    Nonprofit sets sights on re-energizing young voters.
    • Oct 5, 2016

© 2017 Salt Lake City Weekly

Website powered by Foundation