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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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On legislative watch (still): Lawyers, guns and money ...

The Utah Legislature is done for the year, at least in its regular session. But its results are still being reviewed and the fate of most bills is still up to Gov. Gary Herbert.

The root of evil: Seeing that money poisons politics — Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

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Utahns have not, so far, heard any of John Swallow’s fellow Republicans calling upon him to resign or take a leave of absence while state and federal officials continue their look into allegations of ethics and campaign law violations that have been laid at the attorney general’s doorstep. Even though he should.

What they have seen, though, is a stunning event, potentially a huge silver lining to go with the dark cloud of the Swallow scandals. And that is that it has apparently dawned on many legislators that money can poison politics. ...

Gov. Gary Herbert, veto HB76 concealed carry law — Deseret News Editorial

... The governor has said he is "skeptical" about whether the law is necessary. It isn't. The existing statute is one of the least-restrictive carry-conceal laws in the country. It balances the interests of gun-rights advocates as well as the majority of Utah residents who, polls show, support the current requirement of background checks before a person is granted a permit to carry a concealed weapon. ...

‘Culture of arrogance’ threatens state of Utah — Thad Box | The Logan Herald Journal

... Fortunately there are many good legislators who work long and hard to make our state better. They hammer out a balanced budget for essential state needs. But when so much effort is devoted to fighting federal laws and proposing nonsense there is little time to find needed funds for real priorities such as improving education and infrastructure. Like bullies in a classroom, "political leaders" use power to dominate good members. ...

In other Western states, legislatures are still in session. Some of the issues may sound familiar to followers of the Utah version:

Humane end for horses not really goal of slaughter legislation — Tulsa World Editorial

In Oklahoma, it appears, being connected to a family business can qualify a legislator as someone with special expertise to propose legislation that would benefit that business....

School Safety Bill Mired in Public Records Exemptions — Twin Falls (Idaho) Times-News Editorial

How does the government of Of the People, By the People and For the People become the government Despite the People? Slowly. One line at a time, inserted in a bill here or buried in a piece of legislation there. ...

Government gradually becoming less opaque — Orange County Register Editorial

Are four-year degrees at community colleges necessary? — Denver Post Editorial

Senate bill could help ensure high-quality online education — Sacramento Bee Editorial

Give online courses the old college try — Los Angeles Times Editorial

Academics and lawmakers collide, online — Los Angeles Daily News Editorial

Finding fairness: Lawmakers have to address the inequity in higher education funding — Las Vegas Sun Editorial

Restore higher ed funding — Everett Herald Editorial

Voter photo ID: A different approach to controversial issue — Las Vegas Review Journal Editorial

Missouri Senate declares class war against citizens — St. Louis Post-Dispatch Editorial

A session stampede — Santa Fe New Mexican Editorial

It is somewhat paradoxical that Gov. Susana Martinez, invited to Rome for today’s investiture of Pope Francis, will meet the pope for the poor just after she promised to veto an increase in the minimum wage for our state’s lowest-paid workers. ...

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