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More Gun Fun 

Ranking & Switching, Inland Port 'Virus' Spread

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More Gun Fun
We're going to train the dogs, but not the gun nuts. And we're going to require that women watch some video about abortion, but not require a short video for concealed-weapon holders. If anything, Utah legislators know who butters their bread. It's not the dogs—or the women. West Valley City Republican Sen. Daniel Thatcher's SB38 K-9 policy requirements made it through the Legislature, requiring police dogs to be certified and trained—you know, because they can bite. You might think this means that police reform is on the table. Not necessarily. Languishing are two other bills, one that creates an oversight commission and another that would require timely releases of body-cam images. And because lawmakers don't trust women to make informed decisions, a bill will require an online course about abortion procedures. Not the case for anyone who wants to hide a weapon on their person. They don't need any training at all.


Ranking & Switching
Voting in Utah: So many ask, "Why bother?" because the Rs have it. Still, there are some competitive races in municipalities, and one bill on the table could help candidates find a majority mandate while, in the past, voters often got someone who won by a simple plurality. In fact, there are two bills afloat proposing ranked-choice voting, a concept that's catching on throughout the country. The one likely to pass allows municipalities to opt in to a pilot program that lets voters rank candidates they like best-to-less. Meanwhile, Rep. Jordan Teuscher, R-West Jordan, wants to make it harder for voters to switch parties before a primary because that's what many did before the latest gubernatorial election. Teuscher might be surprised some are even talking about making them vote R in the general.


Inland Port 'Virus' Spread
Like a virus, the Inland Port continues to grow, even though port authorities pinky-swore it wouldn't happen. Now, they are seeking to build a second rail yard. "Our tax money shouldn't go to increasing our air pollution, and further victimizing communities that already suffer from the worst air pollution on the Wasatch Front," wrote the Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment. The idea, floated by SITLA leader David Ure in a Salt Lake Tribune story, would be to clean up an old landfill for a rail line. This at the same time that HB297 proposes creating a new water authority board "in the same mold as the Port Authority Board, that would boost the chances of forcing all Utah taxpayers to fund the wasteful, absurd idea of the Lake Powell Pipeline,' UPHE says. If the inevitable pollution isn't enough to make you choke, the secrecy of these boards "governing in the dark" should be.

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About The Author

Katharine Biele

Katharine Biele

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.

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