Little Jason Chaffetz has set off a firestorm of reaction to his resignation, and it says a lot about Utah politics. Chaffetz' self-immolation aside, the rush to fill his seat is nothing less than stunning. Without Chaffetz to denounce, the Democratic candidate has been all but lost in the madding crowd. But of more interest is immediate the fight to take over the fight. Gov. Gary Herbert—and maybe the electorate—won, a Deseret News report says. But legislators were not happy, because of course, they like the power that our "representative" government gives them. You know, they're smarter than everyone else. So they're hinting at suing Herbert (maybe not now) and continuing to whine that they can't be in charge. Yes, the timeline is tight, certainly if you're a Republican who needs to gather signatures to get on the ballot. But a general election ASAP will at least give citizens a voice. A little voice—but a voice nonetheless.
It's lonely being a Democrat in Utah. Ask Michelle Weeks, the sole Dem on the Draper City Council. Now the rest of her colleagues want to hire outside counsel to see if she's violated any ethics rules or laws by using a city employee to proofread emails unrelated to her official duties, according to The Salt Lake Tribune. Hey, couldn't they just ask her? But then Democrats and emails have sparked a lot of issues in the past year. Weeks is just a little fish on this one, but, oh, the emails! Weeks ran unsuccessfully against Sen. Howard Stephenson in 2014 and took on the nonpartisan election that she won, despite a lot of backbiting. She's since hired Mark Shurtleff for her defense. Jason Chaffetz will soon be free. Maybe the council should hire him to review those emails.
Yea, science! You know, we're talking about that discipline the Trump administration thinks is unnecessary and obstructionist. But first, the news: University of Utah scientists have developed a biodegradable hygiene product, also called a sanitary pad. In case you're a man and perhaps a legislator who doesn't like to think of these things, that is something to keep women from bleeding all over the place. And it's a boon to women in developing countries like Guatemala where there's no public sanitation system, the Deseret News reports. A 2016 Harvard Business School report says that about 20 billion sanitary pads, tampons and applicators are dumped into North American landfills every year, and it takes centuries for them to biodegrade inside plastic bags. Good for the U, and here's hope for the future of research.