You go, Girl … Scouts! That’s telling the male-dominated Legislature, although you have to tread lightly, what with being a nonprofit and all. In response to House Bill 145, Utah Girl Scouts contacted their senators to ask them to “speak up for girls.” If you’re wondering why, it’s because this House bill seeks to allow voluntary tax check-offs for donations to youth-development organizations with more than 180,000 members. Rep. Steve Eliason, R-Sandy, admits the bill is aimed at Boy Scouts. There are so many of them attached largely to LDS churches that they don’t need to lobby. But with only some 9,000 Girl Scouts in Utah, the bill wouldn’t begin to touch them. And, unlike the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts have no policies about sexual orientation. Maybe that makes them too liberal for the Legislature.
Nevermind the nuclear threat, we can feel good that water from the Green River will continue to flow without running through a reactor. The Senate voted not to consider Senate Bill 199, a bill that could have made Utah ratepayers foot the $16 billion bill to construct the state’s first nuclear facility. Aaron Tilton, former legislator and head of the Blue Castle nuclear plant, said the bill would just put nuclear on the same footing as other renewable energy sources. Nuclear isn’t renewable, although it is a zero-carbon emitter. What it might emit in an accident is a huge question. Suffice it to say that the effort to equate nuclear with other renewables hit a brick wall. Rocky Mountain Power wouldn’t support the bill because nuclear power isn’t in its long-term plans. Until big questions are answered, it shouldn’t be in Utah’s, either.
Why is it that the Legislature continues its jihad against citizen input by way of referenda? It’s already near impossible to garner enough signatures in all Utah counties to bring an issue to a vote, but now it looks like Senate Bill 66 wants to drive a stake through the heart of the law. Sen. Stuart Reid, R-Ogden, thinks a “handful of disgruntled people” can overturn a law—but in fact, it takes a lot more than a handful. Reid and others like to tell the people to vote out officials who make bad decisions, but that’s hard to tell when they make so many decisions—good and bad. It’s not as hard to tell a good law from a bad law. One of the worst requirements remains: that a petition be filed within five days of the law’s passage. In the Republic of Utah, fear of the people is paramount.