nUtah’s Legislature took the ax to health insurance for poor people on Medicaid this summer. A new study shows the picture isn’t much brighter for those lucky enough to have health insurance at their job. According to the Families USA study, Utah health-insurance-premium costs have increased at five times the rate of income growth since 2000. The average worker now pays 90 percent more for coverage compared to seven years ago, and employers’ share of health-care costs has risen nearly as much. Workers are getting less health care for the money and state statistics indicate one in 10 Utahns have no insurance at all. Meanwhile, a legislative task force set up to tackle the problem shows little signs of getting anywhere.
nSalt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker recently launched a public discussion on the sticky topic of discrimination with a City Hall panel featuring diversity advocates, the Disability Law Center and the Utah Pride Center. Four additional events are planned in the discussion series coordinated by the city’s Office of Diversity and Human Rights. The meetings follow on a survey of city residents that examined whether Salt Lake City is currently a welcoming place and how far it still needs to go. Input will be used to inform future city initiatives, including potential anti-discrimination ordinances. With Utah’s diverse hub getting more diverse every day, it’s the right time for such an initiative. Particularly in light of new FBI statistics that show hate crimes growing dramatically in the Beehive State.
Above the Law
nThumbing its nose at nuclear-waste regulators, EnergySolutions continues about its business of slipping foreign waste into the United States through the backdoor. A coalition of radioactive-waste regulators in eight states known as The Northwest Interstate Compact has said “No” to the shipments in increasingly strident tones. But the operator of Utah’s low-level nuclear-waste dump isn’t bothered. EnergySolutions says its Utah landfill isn’t subject to regional regulation because it is not a regional dump. That despite EnergySolutions’ habit of shipping in waste from overseas to its Tennessee reprocessing plant, relabeling it as U.S. waste, then sending it to Utah for burial. The issue is due to be decided in court.