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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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Keeping score: Tribune Editorial Board vs Utah Legislature ...

[Above: P.D.Q. Bach’s Conductor vs. Orchestra]

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We told them not to do this:

Refusing Medicaid expansion is a dreadful idea — Tribune Editorial, Feb. 27

"Gov. Gary Herbert’s proposed ‘Healthy Utah’ alternative to the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion is a dog’s dinner of denial, pipe dreams, contempt for the poor and lack of candor with the taxpayers of his state. ..."

They are doing it:

Senate to Herbert: Negotiate Utah Medicaid plansltrib.com, March 10

"Senators gave Gov. Gary Herbert the green light Monday to try to strike a deal with the Obama administration for a block grant that would bring more than $250 million in Medicaid funds to Utah without requiring the state to enroll low-income Utahns in the Medicaid program. ..."

We told them not to do this:

Expensive tech is not what Utah schools need — Tribune Editorial, March 7

" ... Lockhart is wrong if she believes, as she has said, that technology will "transform the system" by itself. If she wants to be the education candidate for governor, she should offer a way to boost revenue, not only for iPads but for early-childhood education, better teacher pay and all the other items Utah schools so desperately need. ..."

It looks like they won’t do it:

Budget talks: No money for Lockhart’s Utah ed-tech plansltrib.com, March 9

"House Speaker Becky Lockhart came away empty-handed in her bid to revolutionize Utah education, leaving the negotiating table over the weekend without any funding for what she hoped would be a $200 million education-technology initiative, according to multiple sources. ..."

We told them to do this:

Wasatch Front can’t wait for Tier 3 — Tribune Editorial, March 6

" ... the Legislature needs to stop making entreaties and start making demands. It should pass HB121, the bill by Rep. Becky Edwards, which would explicitly direct DEQ to make its own rules, rules that are tougher and more helpful to Utah than what the far-away EPA is likely to accomplish. ..."

It doesn’t look good:

Bill that would enable tougher air rules in Utah clings to lifesltrib.com, March 7

"By the narrowest of margins this week, dueling bills that were intended to allow Utah air quality regulations to exceed federal standards failed, one on the Senate floor and another in a Senate committee. ..."

We told them to do this:

Compromise on Count My Vote is good for everyone — Tribune Editorial, March 4

"Utah’s political leaders have apparently cooked up a compromise that would allow the state’s political parties to keep their antiquated and exclusionary caucus-and-convention system on the books, while creating a way for the public at large to have a say in the nominating process while their say still matters. It is a good deal. The Legislature should approve it. The governor should sign it. The people should use it. ..."

Almost there:

Deal on Count My Vote gets lawmakers’ OK, sent to govsltrib.com, March 5

"Despite grumbling and constitutional doubts, the Utah Legislature sent a deal to Gov. Gary Herbert that will overhaul the process for choosing candidates for office and bring to an end Count My Vote’s ballot initiative. ..."

We told them to do this:

Legislature should approve transportation tax bills — Tribune Editorial, March 6

" ... Before the Utah Legislature right now, in the closing days of its 2014 regular session, are two bills that would help provide the state and its communities with the means to upgrade both our highways and our public transit services. Both of them should be approved. ..."

It’s getting there:

House OKs optional air-cleanup taxsltrib.com, March 7

"The House easily approved legislation Friday that would grant cities and counties the authority to raise their sales tax to bolster public-transit routes and improve air quality. ..."

And, unless somebody can talk me out of it pretty quickly, we’re going to tell them not to do this:

Utah could have nation’s first presidential primarysltrib.com, March 10

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