Alty News: Big Banks Profiting Off Inmates; China Blocks Major Internet Providers | Buzz Blog
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Alty News: Big Banks Profiting Off Inmates; China Blocks Major Internet Providers


Big banks won a "no bid contract" to provide to inmates debit cards that are often stacked with hidden fees and charges.

Top of the Alty World

"How Big Banks Turn Prisons into Profit Centers"—Marketplace

China is blocking major service providers that previously could feature censored content—ProPublica

A company's "robot journalists" have been generating thousands of news articles for the past six months.—The Verge

A study shows a gulf in opportunities to access after-school programs is becoming wider, further impacting opportunities for disadvantaged children.—The Atlantic

Top of Alty Utah

The LDS Church has issued a statement supporting legislation protecting religious liberties and the rights of LGBT Utahns to not be discriminated against.—Salt Lake City Weekly

Magazine's "Ask a Cop" column sparked outrage from readers who felt the anonymous columnist was insensitive to the issue of recent police shootings; activists have called for a boycott.—Salt Lake City Weekly

A clean air bill to replace polluting school buses advances.—Utah Political Capitol

A new poll shows a majority of Utahns trust their police officers.—Utah Policy


Utah Politico Hub takes Democrats and progressive nonprofit The Alliance for a Better Utah to task for supporting campaign contribution limits but opposing a campaign transparency bill in 2013.

During the 2013 session, Representative Greg Hughes, now the Speaker of the Utah House, sponsored a bill to end the flow of dark money flowing through shadowy organizations to influence elections. Though both King and Martindale are advocating for transparency now, they sang a different tune when it became clear that Hughes’ bill would require greater disclosure from organizations that included ABU.

Hughes’ bill, HB43 (the so-called “anti-Jason Powers” bill), required that non-profits that engage in political campaigns must disclose their donors, with exceptions for subscribers and members under a certain level. The law required from non-profits the a similar kind of specificity and transparency as required of individuals giving money to directly to candidates.

The response to the bill? Never have so many Utah Democrats opposed an increase in campaign finance regulations.—Utah Politico Hub

The Long View

Salt Lake City Weekly's legislative preview wants to encourage you to take part in the process and engage with your lawmakers this session.

If bodies and party affiliations are all that matter, defeats and victories are foregone conclusions. But politics should be a lot more like that other, much more popular, American pastime: football.

In football stadiums across the country—even in Utah—there is a belief that the crowd matters. In College Station, Texas, where the Texas A&M Aggies play, the student body is thought of as the "12th Man" (11 football players take the field in college and professional football). Same goes for the fans of the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks—the team's crowd, among the loudest in professional football—are called the 12th man.

During this legislative session, around 800 bills, or new laws and amendments to laws, will be put forth. Hundreds will be approved. All of them, one way or another, will impact how Utahns live their lives.

Thumbing a nose at this gathering is among the worst sorts of apathy. Lack of participation on citizens' behalf is little more than a surrender to the whims and wants of these elected leaders and whoever it is that happens to be twisting their ears—and you can be sure someone is twisting their ears.

But, in 2015, why shouldn't you be doing the ear-twisting?—Salt Lake City Weekly