Short takes on the news
Pretty please • Salt Lake County officials are correct. The panel that is being appointed to look into the idea of closing the Utah State Prison in Draper to replace it with a more modern lock-up somewhere farther afield, should have someone on it to look out after the interests of the county that now hosts the facility. There remain a great many unanswered questions about whether moving the prison and selling the land will really be best for the state, Draper and whatever community the prison might be moved to. Gov. Gary Herbert has the job of filling six of the 11 seats on that committee, and one of them should go to someone who will look out for Salt Lake County.
Clear skies • Utah electric customers can feel good about the fact that Rocky Mountain Power offers what it calls its Blue Sky Program, which allows businesses and households to pay a little extra to be guaranteed that they are buying energy provided by nonpolluting, renewable sources of power. But they should be able to feel better still. HEAL Utah makes an excellent point when it challenges Rocky Mountain Power to increase the percentage of its power output and sales that comes from green sources. Now, the utility buys most of its renewable power from out of state and, while it has put some money into the backing of some small-scale renewable energy programs in Utah, the company apparently foresees no need to build any new generating capacity of any sort, leaving us with an unacceptably small if improved percentage of its juice that doesn't threaten to accelerate global climate change.
Big Brother, domestic worker • The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee this week is sifting through hundreds of proposed amendments to the bipartisan immigration reform bill. And each of Utah's two senators has offered at least one proposed alteration that, while they probably sound worse than they really are, illustrate just how petty this whole debate has become. Sen. Orrin Hatch wants every immigrant over the age of 18 who is trying to get right with immigration law to submit a DNA sample to be used in a criminal background check. Sen. Mike Lee has proposed a specific list of jobs basically as domestic servants such as chauffeurs and nannies that can be filled without requiring employers to submit that hire to the E-Verify system. So, even though Hatch generally supports the current path of reform, and Lee generally opposes it, each of them starts the debate with a proposal that has the effect of dehumanizing the very immigrants we should be trying to lift up and assimilate.