Facing high suicide rates and a dying Great Salt Lake, Utah's next House speaker says his focus is transgender exclusion | Hits & Misses | Salt Lake City Weekly

Facing high suicide rates and a dying Great Salt Lake, Utah's next House speaker says his focus is transgender exclusion 

Hits & Misses

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The Harder They Fall
Did you hear about the "parenting influencer" accused of child abuse? Or how about the anti-sex trafficking warrior accused of sexual misconduct? It's been a rough couple of weeks for the Utah internet famous, and in the case of Tim Ballard, the recently ousted founder of Operation Underground Railroad (OUR), various allegations of impropriety led The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to issue a rare public condemnation. There's a tight overlap in the Venn diagram of OUR supporters and the LDS faithful, a tension Ballard attempted to use to his advantage by casting aspersions on the legitimacy of the church's statement against him. But while it took Vice to break the Ballard story, local church-owned Deseret News was among the outlets independently corroborating that the call did, in fact, come from inside Temple Square. But don't worry, Ballard will have ample opportunity to tell his side of things during an anticipated campaign for U.S. Senate.

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Stay on Target
Lawmakers had a busy trip to St. George recently, where they conducted interim meetings and were briefed on a troubling audit of "critical vulnerabilities" facing the state's long-term stability. Fox 13 reported on a list of challenges presented to legislative leaders, which included housing affordability, education funding, mental health and suicide and, of course, the declining Great Salt Lake and its corresponding dust storms filled with arsenic. But upon the news that Kaysville Republican and Utah House Speaker Brad Wilson is resigning to run for U.S. Senate and will most likely be succeeded on the dais by Hooper Republican Rep. Mike Schultz, Schultz was quick to relay his top priorities for the chamber to the Standard-Examiner: Further attacking transgender girls and women through sports, bathroom and health care bans. "Our kids and our grandkids, honestly, is what motivates me," Schultz said. Uh-huh, sure.

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Campus Security
Another major Utah school district has been slapped for failing to protect its students. First, Davis School District—the second largest in the state—was found to have dropped the ball on widespread and institutionalized racism that contributed to a child's death. Now, a federal review of Alpine School District—Utah's largest—suggests that personnel failed to properly investigate and respond to hundreds of student reports of sexual assault, and in some cases allowed accused teachers to quietly retire, The Salt Lake Tribune reports. Once upon a time, each of the big districts would have had their own beat reporter assigned from the statewide dailies to help keep an eye on things. Those days are long gone, and you can't help but wonder where administrative negligence will next be revealed by federal investigators.

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About The Author

Benjamin Wood

Benjamin Wood

Bio:
Lifelong Utahn Benjamin Wood has worn the mantle of City Weekly's news editor since 2021. He studied journalism at Utah State University and previously wrote for The Salt Lake Tribune, the Deseret News and Entertainment Weekly

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