You can’t get better entertainment than this: Cartoonist Pat Bagley and Rep. Ken Ivory of the Tea Party duking it out on Twitter over states’ rights. It all started with Ivory’s intense desire to educate those of lesser intellect than he. You know, judges and state lawyers—the stupid people. Ivory, R-West Jordan, is running a bill to offer an online course developed by the Commission on Federalism to teach about the 10th Amendment. What started as a tweet from The Left Show—“brain trust behind public lands bills wants to lecture us on the Constitution? That’s rich!”—caught Bagley’s attention: “Since been at Trib 35yrs, States Rights is code for developers getting hands on public lands for private profit.” Bagley said Ivory’s costing the taxpayers millions on the federal-lands argument. But Ivory thinks Bagley just hasn’t kept up with what the Supreme Court says about states checking federal power. Still, Ivory wasn’t willing to make a bet with Bagley. That would be unethical.
Given all the politically correct attention to education this legislative session, it will be interesting to see just how that attention translates into resources. Presumptive gubernatorial candidate Becky Lockhart wants a ton of money—$200 million—to go to electronic learning, and some suspect it’s a step toward getting rid of those pesky teachers. That would certainly save some money, wouldn’t it? Meanwhile, an important bill to further fund at-risk preschools is wending through the Legislature. There’s no doubt that catching kids early is the key to better education and fewer funds needed for remediation later on. Legislators should consider the measly $3 million bill from Rep. Aaron Osmond, R-South Jordan, before plugging students into more technology. Oh, and let’s not forget the governor’s 2.5 percent per-pupil spending hike.
On to resolutions about moving the Draper prison. There’s never been a real debate about whether to move it; the thinking’s been done, as they say. That’s because the charge of the prison-relocation committee—despite a study that showed a $372 million negative impact on taxpayers—was to establish “a process … to issue a request for proposals for a new prison development project ... and make a recommendation to the Legislature and governor.” But two resolutions say, hey, the move is in the state’s best interest. In the end, it’s all about developers and their influence on the Hill. We’ll think about prison reform later—much later.