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State of the Debate
George Pyle
George Pyle has been a newspaper writer in Kansas, Utah, Upstate New York, and now Utah again, for more than 30 years - most of it as an editorial writer and columnist. Now on his second tour of duty on The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board, he has also done a stretch as a talk radio host, published a book on the ongoing flaws of U.S.agricultural policy and, in 1998, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. His most active bookmarks are Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Hitchens and Tina Brown. And he still thinks the Internet can be used for intelligent conversation and uplifting ideas.

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Editorials: For the Utah Legislature's to-do, and not-to-do, list ...

Above: Utah's drinking problem is not your normal substance abuse. It's more like this guy's.

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- Drinking problem: Utah liquor laws make no sense - Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

Utah has a drinking problem. But not the kind that can be addressed by Alcoholics Anonymous.

Legitimate entrepreneurs with sound business plans are held back by arbitrary state regulations that, were they impeding the progress of any other business, would be roundly criticized by many Utah lawmakers as nanny-state big-brotherism. But, because the limits are halting plans to open restaurants and taverns in growing areas along the Wasatch Front, the frustration only builds. ...

... But the limits on the number of taverns and, more importantly, full-service restaurants that can serve liquor is arbitrary, bad for business, bad for the state’s image and amounts to our own government holding its own adult citizens in contempt, mistrusting their ability to govern themselves.

Lawmakers are delving into apparent mismanagement at the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, as they should. But they should also examine their own mismanagement of the state’s permit system, and make some changes. Soon.

Also today:

- Legal meddling: Let A.G. defend immigration law - Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

A few legislators got it into their heads to try an end run around Attorney General Mark Shurtleff the other day. They apparently don’t think Shurtleff will provide a vigorous enough defense of the state’s new immigration enforcement law, so they wanted to be named as defendants and hire their own attorney. Shurtleff told them to back off, and they did, fortunately. ...

...We suspect that legislators who want special counsel on the immigration enforcement law don’t trust Shurtleff because he has supported the Utah Compact, a package of policies that includes not only tougher enforcement but a guest-worker law, among other measures. Enforcement-only zealots tend to view anything else as soft on illegal immigration. Shurtleff also accused the legislators, led by Rep. Curtis Oda, R-Clearfield, of a political stunt, because their chosen lawyer, Sean Reyes, who would provide his services free of charge, is a candidate to succeed Shurtleff.

But Shurtleff’s duty is to defend the state’s new laws, regardless of his personal political convictions. Lawyers are professional advocates with a duty to their clients.

We would hope that legislators might learn that historical lesson from previous fights between lawmakers and attorneys general. But, apparently, that hope is misplaced.

- Unintended Consequences - Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser Editorial

If the Law of Unintended Consequences was a real criminal law, not just an adage, the Alabama Legislature should go to prison for passing the illegal immigration bill. ...

- Those immigration myths - Huntsville (Ala.) Times Editorial

Alabama lawmakers who plan to debate the pros and cons of revising Alabama's ill-conceived immigration law in the Legislature next year might want to look at a pamphlet put out by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, "Immigration Myths and Facts."...

- Seeking clarity on immigration - Denver Post Editorial

A Supreme Court ruling against Arizona's 2010 law would signal to other states that the issue must left to the federal government.

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