It’s been a bad week for Utah Democrats, although Republicans have had a few glitches, too. But Democrats, who seemingly can’t catch a break, were hit hard by the sudden death of their longtime and beloved state party director, Todd Taylor, and the resignations in tandem of House Minority Leader David Litvack and Senate Minority Whip Karen Morgan. From this godless minority came an intense desire to spend more time with family. Say what? Maybe they need the extra time to teach their kids about sex. Senate Minority Leader Ross Romero had already said he’s resigning to run for Salt Lake County mayor. Republicans will likely benefit from the Dems’ loss of seniority. Taylor had been executive director of the Democratic Party for longer than anyone in the country, so it’s going to be tough to fill his shoes.
Salt Lake City may have lost its ballsy mayor, Rocky Anderson, but can depend on Chris Burbank to fill any gaps in political candor. Burbank, the city’s police chief, has been outspoken on Utah’s version of immigration reform, foremost by refusing to enforce a law passed in 2011 to require law enforcement to ask about immigration status. The law was reviewed by a federal judge, who said he’s waiting for the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on an enforcement-only law from Arizona. Meanwhile, Burbank took off for Washington, D.C., where he testified before the House Judiciary Committee against the Scott Gardner Act. That law allows police to check federal databases for the immigration status of anyone stopped for drunken driving. Burbank says the law encourages racial profiling and will compromise the cops’ relationship with immigrant communities.
It’s hard to feel sorry for the plight of Gov. Gary Herbert as he ponders whether to veto the generally reviled Health Education Amendments, by right-wingers Rep. Bill Wright, Holden, and Sen. Margaret Dayton, Orem. You might know this best as the anti-sex-ed bill, but don’t try searching for “sex education” on the state legislative site—it’s not there; there are no bills with “sex” in their title. Perhaps to appease the ultra-conservative wing, legislators decided to pick on kids’ health, and passed the abstinence-only law by a veto-proof majority. So Herbert can just do nothing, and it will slip into law. No political will needed here.