Real liquor reform is moving in Utah’s Legislature. The House Business and Labor Committee passed a private-club reform bill out for debate with most of the goofiness removed. Gone for the most part is the idea of a computerized database of drinkers. House Bill 347 would allow Utah bars to get rid of the private-club moniker. In exchange, bars would agree to scan IDs of any patrons who appear to be less than 30 years old. Information from the scans would be erased after one week—without being uploaded to a state database.
Some Utah lawmakers want to study the economic impact of immigration before jumping off the cliff of a wide-scale migrant crackdown. The study, proposed in the House, would contrast the cost of state services to immigrants with taxes and fees paid by immigrant workers. While the study goes forward, the Legislature should postpone implementation of an omnibus anti-immigrant law, as suggested in a separate Senate bill. If it goes into effect as scheduled July 1, SB 81, with its new regulations on Utah business and extra police duties, could prove immigration’s costliest impact on Utah’s economy.
Fresh from endorsing gay civil unions, Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. gave an interview to Politico telling the Virginia-based magazine that the Republican Party won’t be relevant again until the GOP catches up with the youth of America on the environment and gay rights. “I liken it a bit to the transformation of the Tory Party in the U.K.” Huntsman said. “They were a very narrow party of angry people. And they started branching out.” Maybe Huntsman is running for president, but right now, he’s the antidote Utah needs to offset Sen. Chris Buttars on the national stage.
A few months after Utahns broke open their piggy banks for him, Mitt Romney is selling his palatial spread in Deer Valley. It may be another sign of the bad economy, or it could signal something else. Romney’s Free and Strong America PAC just mailed $1,000 checks to 12 congressional Republicans in support of their “courageous” votes against the federal stimulus bill. So begins the battle between the two faces of Mormon Republicanism vying for 2012.