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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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Editorial Legislature watch: Learning (to drive) and teaching (to teach) ...

- Driver training: Leave existing law alone - Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

Americans believe that driving a car is a birthright. Maybe that’s why the Legislature seems ready to eliminate the requirement that people over the age of 19 complete a driver training course before they can get a license. But this is not a good idea in a state where drivers regularly run into the sides of TRAX trains or kill themselves in equally incredible ways.

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Why would the Legislature consider less driver education? The answer, as is often the case on Capitol Hill, is an anecdote. ...

... Absent some evidence, other than the practices of other states, that the current Utah law is ineffective, the Legislature should leave it alone.

- Teacher mentors: Bill would encourage excellence - Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

Utah public schools have trouble keeping new teachers. Nearly half of all teachers just starting their careers leave the profession within the first five years.

That kind of turnover is expensive, and it hurts the quality of education schools are able to provide. Another alarming reality is that too many of the teachers who do stick with it are not effective or they become less effective as they continue teaching. Low pay in Utah is partly to blame for teachers quitting, but there are other reasons, too, including a feeling of isolation and lack of guidance to learn the craft and to continue improving skills throughout a career.

Thankfully, a bill making its way through the Legislature would go a long way toward addressing some of the most prevalent reasons for teachers leaving the classroom too soon and for the lack of professionalism among some who stay. ..

- Good results on GRAMA - Provo Daily Herald Editorial

On Tuesday -- with the introduction of the aptly named SB 177 -- Sen. Curt Bramble of Provo eased the intense controversy that surrounded last year's attack on Utah's open records law known as GRAMA and moved toward a positive conclusion. ...

- Victory for GRAMA - Deseret News Editorial

... Grandstanding transformed into listening, listening into understanding and understanding into problem solving. On some issues there were clear conceptual divides and members of the group could only agree to disagree. But most of the issues on the table proved tractable and the working group was able to present legislative leadership a set of consensus recommendations that helped to clarify and strengthen GRAMA. ...

- A popular vote push - Ogden Standard Examiner Editorial

We are amenable to changes in Utah's electoral college that would assign presidential electors based on the percentage of votes a candidate garnered. However, a legislative proposal from state Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, that pledges Utah's six electoral votes to the candidate who wins the national popular vote is a bad idea. ...

- End DUI checkpoints - Standard Examiner Editorial

The Utah Legislature is mulling over House Bill 140, which would prohibit law enforcement from setting up DUI checkpoints across the state. Pressure from law enforcement agencies and interest groups may stifle that effort, but it's the correct move. ...

- And now, to pass the time, a few distractions - Idaho Statesman Editorial

The Idaho Legislature entered its sixth week on the job — that theoretical midpoint in a session when lawmakers should start setting budgets and focusing on must-pass matters.

Instead, it appears lawmakers are getting ready for some unsettling election-year pandering. ...

- Lawmakers' proposals will weaken Arizona - Arizona Republic Editorial

The budget racing through the Legislature is great -- for Arizona's competitors. This is a plan that would shortchange education, chip away at basic services like law enforcement and ignore building blocks for the future. ...

- Welfare hurdle is costly and unfair - Denver Post Editorial

A bill to force applicants to pass a drug test (and pay if they fail) raises costs for no real benefit. ...

- Transparency is more than just a fancy word in Wyoming - Casper News-Tribune Editorial

You might have missed it Monday. In case you did, here’s what happened in Cheyenne: Lawmakers want to give government officials the right to lie to Wyoming citizens.

Even worse, they want to lie and then use the law to cover up. ...

- Bill to oversee groomers is worthy of the doghouse - Sacramento Bee Editorial

Regulation is clearly beneficial and even essential for some occupations. Physicians, nurses, dentists, accountants and attorneys, for example, should be strictly regulated and licensed. But there are other occupations for which the benefit of regulation is dubious, at best. ...

... If a few aggrieved pet owners have their way and more rational decision makers don't intervene, pet groomers may be added to that list. ...

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