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Idle No More 

A possible win in the air-pollution fight. Yet again, another way to elect state Board of Education members. Plus, the old majority is feeling disenfranchised in San Juan County.

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Idle No More
Utah is a curious state, and we're not even talking about Medicaid expansion. Breathe deeply and think about the air, or rather what's in it. Studies, research, facts—none of that matters in a world where personal liberty trumps [sic] the general well-being. Only last year did the Legislature finally OK regulations on wood-burning stoves, which account for some 14 percent of fine-particulate pollution. Rep. Patrice Arent, D-Salt Lake City, has valiantly pushed forward her anti-idling bill, which failed once already be. Arent brought her legislation back, allowing for one warning instead of zero or the current three, which at least moves the bill forward. The Environmental Defense Fund estimates that for every 10 minutes your engine is off, you'll preventone poundof carbon dioxide from being released. That's not nothing.

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School Board Dodgeball
Here we go again! This time it's a freshman legislator who's proposing a "new and improved" way of selecting members to the state Board of Education. Quick, name your school board member. You probably can't. Sadly, many citizens can't name their local legislators. But that hasn't stopped Utah from electing 15 members of the Utah board. Past attempts have included eliminating the board and making elections partisan. Laws have played dodgeball with how members are elected—by a screening panel that recommends to the governor who appoints two to face off. How weird is that? Rep. Melissa Garff Ballard, R-North Salt Lake, wants to end elections and give the governor sole authority to appoint a smaller board, according to The Salt Lake Tribune. So, you don't know who they are; you don't know what they do. This is an undemocratic solution, but maybe it's inevitable.

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The Majority's Tyranny
With all the border-wall talk, Americans are beginning to understand fear, hatred and isolationism. So, it's not surprising that the Caucasians of San Juan County want to secede from what is not a Native American, or at least Democratic majority, rule. And guess who's liking the idea? Rep. Phil Lyman, R-Blanding. You know, some people just feel disenfranchised now and view themselves as hostages of the new majority, a Trib story reports. Boo-hoo, they don't like the tyranny of the majority. Proponents of the change say it feels like payback in a country of winners and losers where few are willing to listen to the other side. The backdrop in San Juan is the battle of Bears Ears National Monument. But this is not just about bad losers. It's about living in a silo and listening only to the sound of your own voice.

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About The Author

Katharine Biele

Katharine Biele

Bio:
A City Weekly contributor since 1992, Biele is the informed voice behind our Hits & Misses and Citizen Revolt columns. When not writing, you can catch her working to empower voters and defend democracy alongside the League of Women Voters.

More by Katharine Biele

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