New SLCO Mayor Ben McAdams’ Inauguration Speech

Below is the full text of incoming Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams’ speech, as prepared. To see our full slideshow of pictures, click HERE. Fellow elected officials, members of the Salt Lake County Council, and honored guests  – welcome and thank you for being here today. It is an honor and a privilege for me to take the oath of office and to begin my public service as Salt Lake County’s fourth mayor. I am a son of Utah and a proud resident of Salt Lake County. It’s where my wife, Julie, and I have chosen to live and...

FLAGGED BILL: HB 268 – Disorderly Conduct Amendments, Rep. Paul Ray

Sadly, we live in a world where the threat of gun violence is all too real. From mass shootings to a drunken brawl, these deadly weapons have become engraved into our culture. Because of this cultural attitude towards guns, there becomes a sort of feedback loop wherein people first feel threatened by guns, go out and purchase their own to protect themselves from said guns, only to scare another individual to do the same. This article, however, is not about having more or less guns on the street, this about is trying to reduce the real (or perceived) threat that guns present in our state. More specifically, this is...

FLAGGED BILL: SB 39 – Parental Responsibility For Sex Education, Sen. Reid

Once in a while, a bill comes along that has the potential to do enormous good for Utah citizens – but also leaves concerns about what it might lead to in the future. This is one of those bills. Under current state law, Utah public schools offer what is known as Abstinence-Plus in their sex education classes – meaning that while contraceptives may be mentioned, discussion of them and their use is extremely limited. Abstinence is the only method teachers are allowed to promote. During the 2012 Legislative Session, (now former) Representative Bill Wright (R) ran HB 363, more commonly...

FLAGGED BILL: SB 120 – Target Shooting & Wildfire Regulations, Sen. Dayton

2012 saw an unusually high number of wildfires, costing taxpayers several million dollars to eventually contain them all. While the fires were started for many different reasons, from lightning strikes to fireworks, target shooting was among those at fault. In pro-gun Utah, target shooting is a time-honored tradition. But with the weather seeming to get warmer and warmer each summer, tracer ammunition and exploding targets can easily spell trouble in grass and shrubbery that has been dried out in 100 degree, humid-less heat. SB 120, from Senator Margaret Dayton (Republican, Orem), seeks to limit the damage in future years. Current law...

FLAGGED BILL: HB 50 – Dating Violence Protection Act, Rep. Jen Seelig

Domestic violence is always a serious crime, and one that can destroy lives permanently even if it never escalates to death. Unfortunately, there’s a glaring hole in Utah law – which can leave many without help until it’s too late. Under current law, there are several types of protective orders which can be obtained to protect victims of abuse, harm or stalking. If you are a co-habitating adult with, married to, or have children with the abusing person, a protective order is relatively easy to obtain. However, if you are simply dating a person who becomes abusive, the only available...

Utah Senator Seeks To Overhaul Legislative Process – Eliminate Boxcar Legislation

Senator Aaron Osmond (R, South Jordan), the sophomore Senator who last year took over the seat held by Chris Buttars, has just released a bill that could drastically change the way the Utah Legislature works. Boxcar legislation is all-too common on Utah’s Capitol Hill. The practice involves a legislator opening a bill file with a generic short title, but then holding it back until late in the legislative session before giving it language. This allows legislators to pull bills out at the last minute, when the Legislature is at its busiest moments. Sometimes boxcars can produce good legislation, responses to issues that...

FLAGGED BILL: HB 57 – Mental and Behavioral Health Amendments, Rep Dean Sanpei

Poll the state, and we believe you would find near-unanimous agreement that Utah is not doing enough to address mental health problems. Few states do. The Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health is the state’s authority on such issues. However, counties that operate under a county executive-council form of government act as the authority within their jurisdictions. As is often the case,  many times the right hand is unaware of what the left is doing, and important care for those suffering from mental health conditions can fall through the cracks. HB 57, from Representative Dean Sanpei (Republican, Provo), is...

FLAGGED BILL: HB 30 – Line-of-Duty Death & Disability Amendments, Rep. Ronda Menlove

When first reading HB 30 – Line-of-Duty Death and Disability Amendments one should be shocked; not because the bill was written, but because it had to be written in the first place. With HB 30, Representative Ronda Menlove (R – Garland, District 1) intends to add stress induced deaths (such as stroke or heart attacks) to the list of ailments public employees families could be compensated for from the state. These deaths have to occur in the field and have to be the result of legitimate strenuous activity – in other words, Bob in accounting wouldn’t be compensated if his heart finally gave out filing another TPS report, but...

FLAGGED BILL: SB 18 – Child Custody Proceedings Amendments, Sen. Luz Robles

Decisions about the custody of children during a divorce proceeding is frequently a nasty and damaging experience, for both the children and the parents. Any law that can ease that process and help determine what is in the best interest of the child is always a positive. A big part of what makes a child custody battle so difficult is the lack of pre-knowledge by the courts. Before a divorcing couple come before a moderator or judge, those officials have no insight into the dynamic and history of that family. In many cases, this leaves the determination of custody susceptible...