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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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Western Newspaper Roundup: Protecting democracy ...

Above: Another interesting take on democracy and money.

- Changing the rules: Laws gut the people’s own power - Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

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The Utah Legislature seems determined to make a mockery of the provision in the state Constitution that enshrines the right of the people to propose, adopt and repeal laws. And, so far, the Utah courts are helping.

A few days ago, a state judge rejected a plea from Utahns for Ethical Government that its petition to place a new state ethics regime before the voters be judged by the criteria that existed in state law when the petition was circulated and filed, not by the tougher rules the Legislature passed later. ...

... The same Utah Constitution that grants the people the power to pass legislation also grants the Legislature the power to set the rules for the process.

But that is a power lawmakers have abused. The Utah Supreme Court should set them straight because, under the new petition rules, the people aren’t likely to have a chance.

- Initiatives should be debated, not derailed - [Phoenix] Arizona Republic Editorial

- Brewer, lawmakers show insecurity, contempt for voters - [Tucson] Arizona Daily Star Editorial

... The effort to confuse voters by placing a competing measure on the ballot - if neither garners 50 percent of the votes, they both fail - was derailed not because elected officials decided to respect the choice of Arizonans, but because they couldn't agree on a competing proposal. The will to obstruct voters was there, the details were not. ...

- More transparency, not necessarily less money, needed during elections - Casper Star-Tribune Editorial

... The issue isn’t one of money. People and corporations that have money will spend it on elections and the political process. That will always be the case. But disclosure — knowing who spends how much — is the great equalizer. If it appears that one candidate favors a certain company or an individual, there could be a paper (or money) trail that would link them. ...

- An overdue effort to shed light on dangerous 'dark money' - St. Louis Post-Dispatch Editorial

There is little doubt that plutocrats are trying to buy the November elections. Not just control of the White House, but control of the U.S. House and Senate, too. ...

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