Letter: When are Utah’s elected officials actually going to represent the people they serve?

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) People gather at the State Capitol in Salt Lake City to protest after the U.S. Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade, on Friday, June 24, 2022.

A recent piece by Andy Larsen listed seven areas where the Legislature has ignored the will of a significant majority of Utahns: gun laws, equitable sentencing, full day kindergarten, free bus service in Salt Lake City, the Equal Rights Amendment, use of the popular vote for determining presidential elections, and comprehensive sex education.

I could add to the list.

Let’s start with the Legislature ignoring boundaries drawn using guidance put into law by Utah’s voters and instead giving us heavily gerrymandered districts designed to preserve a Republican supermajority. The Legislature also failed to eliminate the food tax, even as voters passed a tax referendum where that was a key issue.

Then there are the Legislature’s efforts to present itself as a medical expert. One law stripped those with relevant public health and medical expertise of the ability to manage a deadly pandemic, putting primary responsibility in the hands of legislators. The Legislature’s efforts to manage women’s reproductive capacity are even more intrusive, inserting laws into decisions about unplanned pregnancies and planned pregnancies gone awry. Enhanced restrictions on personal privacy and bodily autonomy are clearly being planned, including, as recently reported, laws to ban gender affirming care for transgender youth.

So, my questions are simple: When are Utah’s elected officials actually going to represent the people they serve? As a corollary, when are they going to keep their laws off of our bodies and out of very personal and life altering decisions? If history is predictive, the likely answer is “no time soon.” In that case, the only way to send the message is through an eviction notice delivered in November. It is time that our elected representatives actually represent us.

Angela Tarbet, Harrisville

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