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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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(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Gayle Ruzicka, head of the Utah Eagle Forum, finds her seat as Rep. Bill Wright, R-Holden, prepares to push HB363, outlawing public schools from teaching about contraception. The bill was amended to remove that prohibition, but it still allows school districts to drop sex education entirely. It narrowly passed committee on its way to the full House.
This weekend's column: Your ignorance is the Legislature's bliss ...

Your ignorance is the Legislature's bliss - George Pyle, The Salt Lake Tribune

Never let it be said that the leaders of the Utah Legislature do not learn from their mistakes.

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Last year about this time, lawmakers were trying to turn one of their core beliefs —that life is better when the people are ignorant — into a really horrible law.

HB477, you recall, was a move to tear the guts out of Utah’s Government Records Access and Management Act by making it much more difficult, and much more expensive, for reporters and citizens to have a look at most government documents.

But before the bill could actually take effect, an organized rebellion by the state’s media organizations, wonderfully augmented by some truly grass roots expressions of disgust, convinced Gov. Gary Herbert, House Speaker Becky Lockhart and others to reverse themselves. HB477 was repealed.

But we now see how our elected leaders have learned their lesson. This year, when they wanted to pass a law designed to keep some people in the dark about some very crucial information, they were smarter about it.They picked on a weaker group of people. ...

Related:

- Veto sex-ed bill - Carol Spackman Moss, for The Salt Lake Tribune

Silence equals death. Once a slogan for AIDS activists, today it articulates the stakes in a legislative battle over sex education in Utah’s public schools. HB363, Health Education Amendments , has passed the House and Senate. Gov. Gary Herbert should veto it. ...

- Petition to ask Gov. Herbert to veto HB363 - Signon.org

- Teens fight for comprehensive sex education in Utah - Amplify.com

There are 40,000 sexually active teens in Utah, and yet they still teach abstinence-only sex education, which censors information about condoms and contraception; makes moral on students who have already had sex; and discriminates against GLBTQ students by at best ignoring them and at worst promoting homophobia. ...

- Why Utah's Anti-Sex-Ed Bill May Backfire - Stephanie Pappas, LiveScienc

- Teen Sex Ed: Instead of Promoting Promiscuity, It Delays First Sex - Bonnie Rochman, Time



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