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News » Hits & Misses

Vaccine Lawsuits

Death Penalty Revisited, Climate Defeatists

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Vaccine Lawsuits
It's stunning to see Draper Republican Sen. Kirk Cullimore so concerned about the pandemic, suggesting that businesses with vaccine mandates should be liable for their side effects. But Senator, let's expand this idea. You have a fine thought here, so how about holding businesses liable—if they do not require vaccines or masks—for hospital costs or—oh yeah—funeral expenses. Lest we forget, Cullimore is a master at squeezing blood from a turnip. He told the Deseret News that his law firm is responsible for roughly 70% of evictions in the state—even during the pandemic. And a Salt Lake Tribune report from February detailed how Cullimore's firm worked evictions to his financial benefit, looking at 390 cases in which the firm sought to add damages to old evictions. His motto could be "sue them 'til it hurts," as he plans this new law to allow workers to claim injury from a vaccine, but not from the lack of one. It looks like this is less about helping injured parties and more about helping lawyers.

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Death Penalty Revisited
The United States might be a mean and punitive nation, but maybe not so much Utah anymore. Two Republican legislators—Rep. Lowry Snow, R-Santa Clara, and Sen. Dan McCay, R-Riverton—are crafting a bill to do away with the death penalty, KSL reports. While there's little evidence that the death penalty deters murderers, there's plenty to show it's a huge waste of money and time, prolonging anxiety for victims' families. Utah County Attorney David Leavitt buys into that rationale, telling The Salt Lake Tribune that the costs far outweigh the benefits to the community. For now, juries will have to decide whether to kill a defendant, although states around the country are seeking "humane" ways to do the deed. Humanity aside, there's still the question of guilt. The Death Penalty Information Center notes that at least 185 people were wrongly convicted to death rows since 1973. And you can't release a dead person.

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Climate Defeatists
You don't hear much from climate deniers anymore, and maybe that's the bad news. While air pollution has become an obvious and deadly result of climate change, the deniers of yesterday still hold fast to the belief that there's nothing they can do. The Deseret News ran an article with reasons why the air is so bad—the shrinking lake, tailpipes, wildfire smoke and ground-level ozone. But the solutions are either too long-term or simply silly. Regulating the type of hairspray you use might have a tiny effect. Tier 3 gasoline could help, especially since electric vehicles are only a fraction of what's on the road. But hard answers are unlikely to happen. Homes and apartments continue to be built without energy-saving features, and developments hold dear to the idea of a car or truck for every resident. Utah's ABC4 is looking into the effect of growth on air quality and again, the short-term answer is to change your habits—not the laws.