Say "federal lands" in Utah, and you're likely to hear the boo-hiss of states'-rights advocates wanting to take them back. You know, people seem to think energy development and motorized recreation are more important than wild vistas and hiking into the sunset. Then there's Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, who actually wants the feds to take more land. Really. He'd like an amendment to the Defense Authorization Act to allow the Utah Test & Training Range to add a thousand square miles of Utah land. Oh, gee, that will save Hill Air Force Base from the chopping block. Activist Steve Erickson told KUER that it's ridiculous. While there's often talk of Hill being cut, it hasn't happened, and the base is pretty secure. Just a land grab, he says. Keep them honest, Erickson. Land shouldn't be so easily tossed around.
It looks like the Democrats in Utah are in for another lesson in humility. In a Utah Policy poll, Dan Jones & Associates recently put Republicans at 47 percent of the population, Democrats at a paltry 16 percent and independents at 31 percent. And for some reason, the Dems just can't capture the hearts of Hispanics, women and younger voters. Utah Policy's Bob Bernick makes the sad prediction that a Mia Love win will assure her re-election until the next gerrymandering, which will surely favor the GOP. Meanwhile, the Dems are really upset with retiring Sen. Pat Jones, D-Holladay, who's supporting the Republican opponent to Rep. Larry Wiley, D-West Valley City. Oh, and County Mayor Ben McAdams endorsed a GOP candidate, too. Well, if Randy Horiuchi could get away with it, why not everyone else?
Um, You Already Have That
Oh please. We understand that most Utahns can't stand the thought of gay marriage, but the idea of a religious-freedom bill is just ludicrous. The proposed bill by Rep. Jacob Anderegg, R-Lehi, would "clarify" that clergy don't have to perform weddings for gay or lesbian couples. How soon we forget the First Amendment. But there are some, like Sen. Orrin Hatch, who thinks there's this anti-religious sentiment in the United States, and had hoped the Religious Freedom Restoration Act would solve the problem. The Supreme Court said no. Establishment of religion is not an American ideal. We don't like it in other countries, and we shouldn't want it here. That said, we ought to allow clergy who will to marry gay couples.