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This Mormon Moment 

Jeff Flake earns some credit, more red tape for beer retailers and was there any celebrating in Utah for National Public Lands Day?

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This Mormon Moment
If ever there was a Mormon moment, this is it. No, it wasn't when Mitt Romney ran for president or when Jon Huntsman Jr. was named ambassador to China (and Russia). While they both are Mormons, they did not hold in their palms the expression of moral righteousness broadcast by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. On the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, things are different. Four of the members are Mormon. That's almost one-fifth of the 21 members and more than a third of its Republicans, while only 2 percent of the U.S. population is LDS. Mormon Women for Ethical Government cheered Jeff Flake. Flake "is the only Mormon on the judiciary committee who professed the slightest concern for what issues like this mean to women," Rewire's Holly Welker writes. "[Mike] Crapo, [Mike] Lee and [Orrin] Hatch were concerned entirely with how these issuesharm men."

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Sudsy Sullies
By now, the world knows that Judge Brett Kavanaugh likes beer. He probably shouldn't come to Utah, where confusion reigns and he might just accidentally watch an R-rated movie with a cool glass of suds. But let's talk about how our Legislature wastes taxpayer dollars on such nonsense. Salt Lake's former mayor Rocky Anderson won nearly $500,000 for Brewvies Cinema Pub because lawmakers dissed the Constitution they purport to so love. The Salt Lake Tribune called it an "alcohol, sex and First Amendment case," in which the state decided it was important to keep people from drinking and watching movies or plays or whatever. The case might have cost taxpayers $1 million, Anderson estimated. And now, the Legislature has slapped expensive rules on retailers as to where and how they can display beer. Obviously, the public must be warned.

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Profit Over Land
We're not sure how much celebrating was going on in Utah during National Public Lands Day. Utah author Stephen Trimble had a few words in his Los Angeles Times op-ed "Utah's Mormon
Republican establishment is backing Trump's assault on public lands." Then, the Center for Biological Diversity mentioned that conservation groups have sued the Trump administration "for leasing more than 115,000 acres of public land in western Colorado and northern Utah for oil and gas development without adequate environmental protections."That comes after the administration auctioned off 200,000 acres of public lands for fossil fuel development. As Trimble notes, the motivation is profit. While the blame might be on Republicans, in Utah it's Mormons—their synonymous counterparts—who are feeling the heat.

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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.

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