Have a Little Faith
If you ever wondered about the Utah psyche, wonder no more—and listen to the House floor debate over SB138—Sex Change Amendments. Maybe you give props to Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, for even venturing into the social miasma of sex in Utah, but you really have to wonder why legislators can't have a little faith. That's faith that parents and those people seeking to change their gender are not making this decision lightly. What they sought in this bill was a change in status on their birth certificates. Weiler talked about his upbringing—in the Brady Bunch manner. He never thought about transgender people, never knew any, or so he thought. Weiler choked up talking about the vulnerability of a neighbor's child and the family's struggle. Then there was Sen. Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, who also worried about how he'd explain the trans world to his mother. That's the Utah mentality, and why the bill hasn't been a slam-dunk.
Yes, we know that lobbyists have long had a bad rep, especially since the Citizens United decision opened the money floodgates. But especially to the citizen legislature, lobbyists play an important part in explaining the details of an issue. Now, the horseman of the apocalypse Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, wants to gag lobbyists from local governments and universities if they want to speak about public lands issues. And Rep. Val Peterson, R-Orem, wants to prevent some state employees and agencies from "taking a public position on legislative action." Besides not wanting to be contradicted, these lawmakers are seeking to stifle public discourse, good information and of course, the First Amendment. Meanwhile, they want to take over the public lands.
It started out as a win for restaurants. The Legislature decided that most patrons apparently know when they're going into a restaurant, so those letter-sized signs announcing "This is a restaurant, not a bar" can go. Not so with bars, however. You just can't trust parents to leave their kids at home when they go out binge-drinking. But while some rejoice at the changes, KUTV Channel 2 found another perspective—this one from the Cliff Dining Pub in Draper. As a club, it could bring in 40 percent of its revenue from alcohol sales. Now, the Legislature says restaurants can't get more than 30 percent. Oh, and they probably will have to add a Zion "wall." You've got to love those clueless legislators and "the crazy alcohol-related bills that create these hurdles and really jeopardize our future," said Cliff co-owner Wendy Moler-Lewis.