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Familiar issues: Public lands, immigration and Medicaid

Published September 18, 2013 2:00 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A few recent opinion pieces on debates in other states, debates that may sound all-too-familiar to Utahns:

As in Utah, there are a lot of folks in Idaho who would like the state to have control over the significant amount of federal land within the state. Idaho Gov. Butch Otter has suggested giving the state a try-out, on a limited amount of land, rather than everyone just taking it on faith that the state can do a better job:

Otter's Land Plan Worth a Look — Twin Falls Times News EditorialGov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's proposal for state management of a swath of federal lands is a reasoned approach amid the backdrop of meaningless showboating by dozens of his peers.Otter told the Times-News editorial board last week that he's pitched a 10-year agreement to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack that would see Idaho manage, but not own, 2.5 million acres of federal lands.Otter's proposal stands in stark contrast to the calls from several state executives, and many in the state Legislature, for an unworkable, and frankly illegal state takeover of federal lands throughout the American West. ...

In Arizona and California, they are tussling over which, if any, people who are here without benefit of immigration papers should be given drivers licenses:

Federal action needed to end states' piecemeal approach to immigration reform — Los Angeles Daily News EditorialBy coming around to supporting the controversial state bill that allows undocumented immigrants to apply for driver's licenses, California leaders have made a big statement about their federal counterparts' continued failure on the issue of immigration.Gov. Jerry Brown made the statement more explicit late last week when he explained why he has changed his mind about driver's licenses and plans to sign Assembly Bill 60, which passed the Legislature on Thursday after years of stalling. Brown, who opposed the idea when he was campaigning for governor in 2010, attributed his new thinking to "the foot-dragging on the part of Congress and not creating immigration reform." According to The Sacramento Bee, Brown went on to say that members of Congress "need a good push, and I think that's what (AB 60) does." ...

Governing by spite — E.J. Montini | The Arizona RepublicSpite and fear are not public policy… except in Arizona.Spite and fear appear to have caused Gov. Jan Brewer to expand her policy of denying driver's licenses beyond the young "dreamers" who were granted deferred action from deportation by President Obama to include all people in Arizona with deferred status. ...

In Missouri, as in Utah, state leaders are dragging their feet on making a decision whether to participate in the expansion of Medicaid:

Border states expanding Medicaid while Missouri bleeds jobs — St. Louis Post Dispatch EditorialMore often than not, when Missouri Republicans want to say no to something — no to taxes, no to the federal government — two issues dominate their arguments.First is states' rights. Second is competition with other states, particularly Missouri's eight border states.Given those arguments, here's a number that ought to give those Republicans some pause:As of Monday, 26 states — one more than half the states in the nation — are pursuing Medicaid expansion. ...... The latest tally shows that five of the eight states bordering Missouri are pursuing the billions of federal dollars that go with bringing federal health insurance to the working poor.Those five states are saying to people who are trying to make ends meet in a tough economic environment that it's good public policy to take the federal money being offered to pay 100 percent of the cost for the first three years of providing health insurance to their families. ...