Tuesday, March 13, 2012

HB155 Drug Testing the Fishermen/Needy Families

From Blue in Red Zion:
  • HB 155 – Drug Screening for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Recipients by Rep. Brad Wilson (R-Kaysville)– It's that same, tired old story.  The myth of the low-income family that just sits around on the public dole.  The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (or TANF) is designed to help those who have fallen on temporary hard times to ensure that they are able to keep their kids fed and clothed – and because these families have had the audacity to have had a parent laid off, or someone in the family get sick, Representative Wilson wants them drug tested.  He apparently thinks they're all "going fishing." 
Apparently our legislators don't pay much attention to what is going on in the rest of the country.  In Florida, Governor Rick Scott wanted welfare recipients to submit to drug testing.  Guess what they discovered?  People who receive welfare are less likely to use drugs than the general population.  96% of welfare recipients had clean tests.  2% tested positive for drugs, and for whatever reason, 2% were not tested.  Sometimes it's better to learn from the mistakes of others than to repeat the mistakes ourselves.  

House Yeas:

House Nays: Arent, P.  Briscoe, J.  Chavez-Houck, R.  Cosgrove, T.  Doughty, B.


House Absent or Not Voting:     Barrus, R.Hendrickson, N.Wiley, L.

Senate Yeas:

Senate Absent or Not Voting:  Niederhauser, W.Urquhart, S.


Governor Herbert and Sex Ed HB 363

According to 35,000 signatures on a petition, who knows how many phone calls and emails into the Governor's office, and now a BYU poll.  The majority of Utahns want Governor Herbert to Veto HB 363.

From the SL Tribune:

"The poll shows that 58 percent of 472 voters surveyed agree or strongly agree with the statement, "Public schools in Utah should teach about the use of contraceptives."...I think it means the governor has a tough decision to make, and he has to decide whether he’s going to side with the strongest Republicans who seem to have the most opposition to this — and that’s an important group for any Republican governor in the state of Utah — or is he going to side with the larger majority that seems to support this," Karpowitz said of teaching contraception in schools."

So that is the big question.  Will Governor Herbert go with what's likely to keep him safe politically, or will he do what the majority of his constituents want him to do.  If he chooses NOT to veto this bill, it's safe to say that he is more interested in KEEPING his job, then he is in DOING his job.  If the latter is the case, I hope the people of Utah will remember in November.  Governor Herbert has said he won't be swayed by social media, but hopefully he will be swayed by a majority of his constituents, the UEA and the PTA.

Monday, March 12, 2012

HB187 Agricultural Interference

From Blue in Red Zion:

  • HB187 - Agricultural Interference Bill by Rep John Mathis (R-Vernal) - This is the bill that caused, once again, national head scratching over the bizarre antics of the Republicans in the Utah State Legislature.  This bill makes it a crime to, if you suspect violations on a farm, take pictures or video of that suspected abuse and send it to the authorities.  Let's be clear - many of the past meat recalls were prompted by whistle blowers who videotaped improper procedures in slaughterhouses.  50 million Americans Americans get sick from tainted food each year, and of those, 3,000 die. And Rep Mathis wants to make it harder to report violations? I was confused, until I realized that the AGPAC, the political action committee, was a major donor to his campaigns.  He, of course, just called them his "good Ag friends."

House Yeas:

Friday, March 9, 2012

HB216 Legislators are Good Enough Landlords...

HB216 set outlines for "Good Landlord" training programs.  Classes last 8 hours and cover tenant law.  The legislature thought they were a good idea, but tried to sneak in an exemption so that elected officials could skip out on the program.

Here's the SLTrib article.

Luckily Governor Herbert told legislators that he would veto the bill unless the exemption was removed.  I don't see a voting record for before the exemption was removed, unfortunately, so it's hard to say who's to blame on this one...

HB 363 No Sex Ed is Good Sex Ed

Here are the Yea votes from the House:
Anderson, J.Barlow, S.Barrus, R.Bird, J.Brown, M.
Christensen, L.Cox, F.Daw, B.Dee, B.Dougall, J.
Draxler, J.Dunnigan, J.Frank, C.Galvez, B.Grover, K.
Herrod, C.Hughes, G.Hutchings, E.Ipson, D.Ivory, K.
Kiser, T.Lockhart, R.Mathis, J.McCay, D.McIff, K.
Menlove, R.Morley, M.Newbold, M.Nielson, J.Noel, M.
Oda, C.Painter, P.Perry, L.Peterson, J.Peterson, V.
Pitcher, D.Ray, P.Sandstrom, S.Sanpei, D.Snow, V. L.
Sumsion, K.Vickers, E.Webb, R. C.Wilcox, R.Wright, B.
And the Yea votes from the Senate:
These are your representatives who voted to allow schools to do away with sex ed entirely, or if the schools choose to teach sex ed, to limit it to abstinence only.   They think that abstinence only is what will be most effective.  They are WRONG.  According to this study: 

"The abstinence-only approach to sex education is not supported by the extensive body of scien- tific research on what works to protect young people from HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted in- fections (STIs), and unplanned pregnancy. An assessment of the peer-reviewed, published research reveals no evidence that abstinence- only programs delay sexual initiation or reduce STIs or pregnancy. By contrast, credible re- search clearly demonstrates that some compre- hensive sex education, or “abstinence-plus,” programs can achieve positive behavioral changes among young people and reduce STIs, and that these programs do not encourage young people to initiate sexual activity earlier or have more sexual partners."

Here's the bit that does the most changing of current law:
(3) (a) (i) A local school board or charter school governing board may, but is not
             58      required to, provide human sexuality instruction or instructional programs.

             59          (ii) If a local school board or a charter school governing board decides to provide
             60      human sexuality instruction or instructional programs, the human sexuality instruction or
             61      instructional programs shall be provided in accordance with this section and H. supporting .H 
             61a      State Board of
             62      Education rules adopted under this section H. and consistent with this section .H .
             63          (b) [(i) That instructionHuman sexuality instruction or instructional programs shall
             64      teach and stress:
             65          [(A)(i) the importance of abstinence from all sexual activity before marriage and
             66      fidelity after marriage as the only sure methods for preventing certain communicable diseases;
             67      and
             68          [(B)(ii) personal skills that encourage individual choice of abstinence and fidelity.
             69          (c) Human sexuality instruction or instructional programs may not include instruction
             70      in H. [ ] [ ] or the advocacy of ] ] , or the discussion of ] .H :
             71          (i) the intricacies of intercourse, sexual stimulation, or erotic behavior;
             72          (ii) H. the advocacy of ] .H homosexuality;
             73          (iii) H. the advocacy or encouragement of ] the use of .H contraceptive methods or
             73a      devices; or
             74          (iv) H. [ the advocacy of ] .H sexual activity outside of marriage.
             75          [(ii) (A)(d) (i) At no time may instruction be provided, including responses to
             76      spontaneous questions raised by students, regarding any means or methods that facilitate or
             77      encourage the violation of any state or federal criminal law by a minor or an adult.
             78          [(B) Subsection (1)(b) (ii)(A) does not preclude an]
             79          (ii) An instructor [from respondingmay respond to a spontaneous question as long as
             80      the response is consistent with the provisions of this section.

What Should We Remember in November?

Every year, during the legislative session here in Utah, we are frustrated over some of the truly ridiculous, the dangerous, the uniformed, the pointless message, and self serving bills our legislators pass.  Yet, come november, these same politicians get reelected.

Our memory isn't long enough, so let's keep track somewhere where we won't forget.

If you have something you'd like to add, please leave a comment.