This is a joke, right? A committee in Utah’s Legislature has OKed a bill requiring restaurants to erect 10-foot-high walls in front of all bar counters. (Impressionable children must be protected from drinks being mixed.) The proposal from Sen. John Valentine, R-Orem, additionally would make it a crime to appear to be drunk in a bar. Maybe Valentine was going for satire. Whatever the point, Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.’s attempt to “normalize” Utah liquor service appears in danger of backfiring. Lawmakers will debate Valentine’s bill alongside the governor’s plan, which calls for eliminating private clubs and shielding impressionable eyes by the simple step of banning minors from restaurant drink-mixing areas.
According to a new study out of Harvard Business School, Utahns consume more Internet porn than residents of any other state. The study examined credit card receipts provided by a company that runs dozens of adult Websites, then broke the receipts down by zip code. Utah averaged 5.5 adult-entertainment subscriptions for every 1,000 broadband-equipped homes—the highest in the country. The Utah statistic was consistent with the study’s overall finding that porn is favored most by residents of conservative and religious states. Eight of the Top 10 porn-consuming states went for John McCain in the presidential election while nonporn states voted Obama.
If it weren’t for a paperwork snafu, we might never have known about $175,000 the pharmaceutical industry gave to Sen. Orrin Hatch’s Utah Families Foundation. And that’s just the money we know about from an accidentally released 2007 tax filing; some drugmakers say they’ve donated to the Hatch-created charity for a decade. Drug companies have long been the largest campaign contributors for Hatch, who has helped the companies postpone making less expensive, generic versions of their drugs. The difference is that the size of the donations to Hatch’s charity are not limited by campaign finance laws—and, normally, they’re secret.