In the heat of the summer season, Utah lawmakers don't want to take the heat. Important matters will simply have to wait. San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman got his sentencing delayed two months by hiring new lawyers. Lucky for him, the governor and others gave him plenty of money for his legal team. Meanwhile, those same folks said they'll miss the July 31 deadline for compromising people's health with a Medicaid-expansion plan. Never mind that people's lives hang in the balance. Finally, a decision on the unpopular prison relocation is also expected to be put off until October. Get ready for a really depressing fall.
More Greens for Less Green
Utahns Against Hunger has come up with a great way to feed impoverished people while shoring up the local produce market. Fox 13 reported on Double Up Food Bucks, a program taking off at farmers' markets around the state: Utahns Against Hunger will match up to $10 when someone uses a SNAP card at a farmers market, said executive director Gina Cornia. Those matched dollars can only be used for Utah-grown produce. Food banks often rely on the increased shelf life of canned goods, so this program provides low-income Utahns a break with fresh produce. A grant of $53,000 will start the program in 19 locations.
The Real Threat
Not only have the courts declined to prosecute the Utah hunter who killed "Echo," the first gray wolf seen in the Grand Canyon for 70 years—but now gray wolves are in danger of losing all federal protection. Indeed, the hunter seemed to have mistaken the wolf for a coyote, but advocates say the message should be clear: Know what you're shooting. To make matters worse, federal wildlife officials rejected a petition to reclassify the gray wolf as "threatened," a less-protective designation than "endangered." The idea was to pre-empt Congress from removing protections altogether. But the plan failed. The feds said the claims of threat weren't backed up. And the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has proposed an end to protection under the Endangered Species Act. The sage grouse may not fare any better. The state hired an anti-wolf activist to fight the designation, a Salt Lake Tribune story noted. Apparently, you have to wait until a species dies off completely before trying to save it.