Rocky Mountain Haze
Even our neighbors are raising a stink about our dirty air. But Utah is all about coal, investing in a California port and believing that there really is such a thing as a "clean" version of it. More than 100 business leaders from Colorado called on the EPA to increase pollution restrictions on two Utah coal-fired power plants, according to a Salt Lake Tribune story. Colorado's really worried about messing up its $13.2 billion tourism and recreation industry. Hey, they might take a page from Utah's 2002 Olympics celebration amid major inversions. Now, that was embarrassing. The Deseret News reported that bad air days brought a spike in emergency room visits during 2014, and most people went in for respiratory illnesses. Suck it up, Utahns, literally. If you're lucky, the EPA will act. Your state government won't.
Easing Voters' Burden
Thank you, Utah Republican Party, for thinking of the little woman. You know her. She's the one who's "swamped with child care and work," Bryan Smith, executive director of the Utah GOP, told the Deseret News. For the first time ever, the GOP is experimenting with online voting in the caucus—to help those overworked women, missionaries and military workers. "She can hop online. She can go on Instagram, so she can also vote," he said. The goal, of course, is to increase voting, although the GOP is expecting 200,000, which would be down a third from the last non-incumbent presidential election. And the GOP caucuses are open only to the GOP faithful. But the real issue here is: Why the change? The GOP fought tooth and nail against Count My Vote, saying that the intimate little caucuses were so important. The Internet is not intimate—unless you go to Tinder.
Training for Cops
Good news, sort of, from the Utah Legislature: It approved a $320,000-a-year training center that will use a virtual reality simulator for police to practice dealing with high-pressure situations, an Associated Press report notes. Also going to the governor's desk is a bill to update rules on body-camera use, making most footage public and requiring activation in certain circumstances. Meanwhile, PoliceForum.org published the 30 Guiding Principles of police training and tactics. The New York Times wrote about the unveiling by 20 law-enforcement officers nationwide—principles that include "respect for sanctity of life," among others. Utah's not there yet, although Salt Lake City has been looking at ways to better train police in the face of several deadly encounters with civilians.