Silencing the Public | Hits & Misses | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Silencing the Public 

Local citizen initiatives aren't doing much better than the statewide ones. The Legislature had a heavy abortion-related theme this year. Plus, Utah reiterates its support for immigrant communities.

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Silencing the Public
Forget the three statewide initiatives that legislators eviscerated. Local initiatives are faring no better. Here comes Rep. Brad Daw, R-Orem, with his HB119—his reborn anti-initiative law—according to the Deseret News. He started last year with a failed attempt to silence opponents of the Provo-Orem rapid transit project. Since then, there's been the Cottonwood Mall development fight and before that, the successful Sevier County coal-fired plant initiative. Those damned citizens are just trying to stop development, and you know what that means to a legislator's pocketbook. Whatever, the bill passed to "clarify" the law with 2,368 lines of gobbledygook. If anything, it will make it more difficult and likely much more expensive to pass a local citizen initiative.

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For the Kids
Utah continues to believe that we have to save unborn babies from their murderous mothers. After all, given half a chance, mothers will kill their babies in the most heinous and unfeeling way—because, of course, killing something in one's womb is just easy-peezy. No harm, no foul. Women don't think twice, certainly don't understand the implications, and someone—mostly men in charge—have to save them from themselves. So a big thanks goes out to Gov. Gary Herbert for signing into law a ban on aborting Down syndrome babies, like that's a thing. It's probably unconstitutional and won't go into effect until the court rules, according to KSL Channel 5. The other bill set legal abortions back from about 20 to 18 weeks, but at press time, it was unclear what Herbert would do. His decision is a lot easier than that of a pregnant woman.

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Feeling Neighborly
While the nation awaits any real immigration reform from Congress, instead, each state must decide how to respond to the human tragedies of refugees and undocumented immigrants seeking respite in the United States. "[P]olitics overshadow important policy decisions," Salt Lake Chamber President and CEO Derek Miller told The Salt Lake Tribune. So, it's significant that Utah has renewed its support of the Utah Compact, a document signed by faith, business, elected, education and community leaders to support immigrant populations in the state. No, the Latter-day Saints didn't exactly sign on, but said they support it—whatever that means. Comments on the Trib site questioned why the LDS church was so ambivalent, and whether it was fear of President Donald Trump. The real question is whether other states will adopt the compact, with or without LDS support.

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