From: Better UTAH
To: Scott Jenkins,
Subject: Better UTAH Bulletin - April 4, 2014
Date: Fri Apr 04 15:19:39 MDT 2014

Alliance for a Better UTAH

Dear Scott,

It snowed this week! But that isn't too much of a surprise, is it? After all, this is Utah. The weather is unpredictable.

Despite what many people think, we feel the same way about Utah politics: they are surprising and unpredictable. 

What, you may ask, is so surprising and unpredictable? After all, so much is business-as-usual in this state. For example, our legislature is stacked with conservative, male Republicans, even though half of the state is female and a majority of the state is moderate. But we're still optimistic about the possibility of change in Utah. Here's three reasons why:

  1. The legislature fumbled the ball on Medicaid expansion--but Gov. Herbert surprisingly managed to cull together a half-decent healthcare plan anyway. 
  2. Even though there wasn't much in the way of serious ethics reform in the aftermath of the John Swallow scandal, investigators from Salt Lake and Davis Counties remain hard at work. We suspect that the impact of Swallow's misdeeds is far from over--which is surprising for a state that so often privileges secrecy over transparency.
  3. Although Utah has some of the lowest voter turnout rates in the country, we have some of the highest volunteer rates. It's not that Utah's citizens are apathetic--they just need a reason to direct their engagement toward civic issues. With the help of people like you, we think we can do that.

It might not seem like change is likely to occur in Utah--but like the weather, we're optimistic that surprising and unpredictable changes are on their way. But don't accuse us just yet of being Pollyanish; we know it is going to take a lot of work. With your help, we can make some of those surprising changes a little more predictable.

In the meantime, below is the latest news and commentary from your Better UTAH Team. 

On rape: Don't be that guy
This image popped up in my Facebook feed the other day. I had to read it twice because after the first read I thought, "There's no way I read that correctly." It is long past time for us to stop shaming women who are raped. We should be appalled that this is even a discussion but somehow, [...] Read More

The Week in Letters: Pickleball puns and Cesar Chavez
Pickleball puns, Obama’s Cesar Chavez-style communism and firearm safety in this week’s Letters to the Editor from newspapers across the great state of Utah. -- SLC is going too far with pickleball Salt Lake City's move to sweep tennis off the public courts and replace it with pickleball is a bad dill. Without any public conversation, the city is restriping [...] Read More

April Fools' Day but we're not laughing
It’s April Fools’ Day, but you won’t be seeing any pranks from us. Though we’re usually a playful bunch in our approach to politics (it's really the only way for moderates to stay sane in Utah), we’re feeling unusually [...] Read More

Help us make Utah even better! 

Standardized testing stunts classroom innovation
Paul Rolly's recent column about a teacher who was placed on administrative leave for openly questioning standardized testing points to an authoritarian administrative approach that has no place in public education. Ann Florence, an honors English teacher, was placed on administrative leave after vocally criticizing the Granite School District?s computer-adapted standardized tests, calling them a waste [...] Read More

A woman's place is in the House (and the Senate)
We’ve entered the last week of Women’s History Month. An entire month devoted to honoring, understanding and telling the stories of women. In Utah, the month has been marked by exhibits at the University of Utah and other institutions [...] Read More

A Hobby Lobby win would encourage discrimination in Utah
A decision in favor of Hobby Lobby in today’s Supreme Court oral arguments could point to increased opportunities for discrimination in Utah and across the country. Maryann Martindale joined with leaders of Equality Utah and Planned Parenthood to discuss in a weekend op-ed what the high court’s ruling on women’s health could mean for a range [...] Read More

Nine suggestions for getting engaged on Utah's Capitol Hill
After following this year's legislative session for the first time as an intern for the Alliance for a Better Utah, I have made a list of suggestions for those interested in getting more involved on Utah's Capitol Hill. Learn to navigate the Utah State Legislature's official website, This site will become your light in the dark. [...] Read More

The Week in Letters: Hobby Lobby and cockfighting
Hobby Lobby, the kindness of strangers and cockfighting were all up for discussion in this week’s Letters to the Editor from newspapers across Utah. -- Hobby Lobby can't force its beliefs on others Following Goodrich?s faulty logic, a business owned by a fundamentalist Christian group that promotes only faith healing should be able to offer health insurance that [...] Read More

On mental illness, high altitude won't keep us down
The word “belt” is often used to describe various parts of the country. There is the Bible Belt–which includes the lower Midwest and the South. Then there is the Rust Belt–which describes old industrial sections of the Northeast, like [...] Read More

Moderate voters win session; Lockhart, lungs lose
Maryann Martindale, Better UTAH executive director, made the case in a weekend op-ed that despite a rather lackluster legislative session, there were still some clear winners and losers. Politics will probably always lend itself to a model in which some win and others lose. The winners and losers don?t line up quite how we expect. Among the [...] Read More 

If you have comments or questions about the political process in Utah, or if there is something you think we should know about, we'd love to hear from you. Just reply to this email.

Happy Spring!

Isaac & Maryann
Your Better UTAH Team

Alliance for a Better UTAH
P.O. Box 521847
Salt Lake City, UT 84152
801-893-ABU1 (2281)
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