Today's political briefing: Key developments
and analysis for Utah policymakers

Utah Policy Daily is a free newsletter published
business days by Utah Send us your
comments and ideas
. See our Policy Daily Archive.
Please forward this to friends.

Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Message Center

Insure All Americans by 2010

By Mark E. Towner

We should have the goal of 100% access to insurance for all Utahns. The Bush Administration's proposed budget includes programs and financial support to advance us towards this goal. We can achieve 100% coverage through market-based solutions, private/corporate efforts, tax incentives, direct public subsidies, strong community support, and faith-based outreach programs. Personal responsibility, individual ownership, portability, and healthcare consumerism are the hallmarks of such a system.  (Read More Below)

News Highlights

Kane County leaders trying to provoke a confrontation over roads (Salt Lake Tribune).

Ogden Mayor Matthew Godfrey's rec center plan faces life or death vote on Tuesday (Tribune).

In op-ed piece, Salt Lake Chamber leaders say children of undocumented immigrants should have access to higher education at resident tuition rates (Deseret Morning News)

Morning News editorial argues that despite sometimes creating bad laws or bad state constitutional amendments, the citizen initiative process should be left to the states.

Quote of the Day

“If the Utah Legislature ever believed educators were crying wolf about the need for additional funding for education, these numbers prove the opposite is true: The warnings have been conservative, not overblown.”

-- Salt Lake Tribune editorial saying a “tsunami” of more than 145,000 new students will hit education in the next 10 years.

Monday Buzz
Written by LaVarr Webb & Associates

The Week Ahead

Why don’t we all just agree to have a nice quiet week leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday? Avoid anything political. Enjoy eating, football, and time with family and friends. And go for a long walk, crunching through a carpet of fallen leaves.

For those who can’t leave politics alone, a few legislative meetings will be held today and Tuesday (see calendar for notices and agendas), including an appropriations subcommittee today at 1:30 that will focus on transportation funding (see agenda). Check the calendar at the right, below, for other activities on this holiday week.

Poll Watch

Hatch OK, Cannon Has Issues

Despite having a “naked re-elect” number under 50% in the latest Morning News poll conducted by Dan Jones & Associates, Sen. Orrin Hatch seems to be in reasonably good shape for re-election. The same poll gave him a 67% approval rating. The reason the somewhat low re-elect number isn’t much to get excited about is that such questions don’t match the incumbent against anyone. In a head-to-head poll against his Democratic opponent Pete Ashdown, Hatch would likely do much better.  

Meanwhile, the member of Congress with the biggest challenge is Rep. Chris Cannon, according to the Morning News report on approval ratings. At 50%, Cannon’s approval rating isn’t great, but of bigger concern is his disapproval rating at 34%, the highest of the delegation by far. And 20% of respondents said they “strongly disapprove” of Cannon’s performance, which is also quite high. Facing a couple of likely intra-party challengers in businessman John Jacob and Sen. Curtis Bramble, Cannon clearly has some work to do.

People You Ought to Know

Name: Randy T. Simmons

Occupation: Professor and Department Head, Political Science, Utah State University. I am also now the mayor-elect of Providence, Utah.

Education: BA USU, MA and PhD in political science at the University of Oregon

Growing up: I grew up on a dairy and put myself through college trimming cows’ feet—a bovine pedicurist. The Brown brothers in Coalville were among our clients.

Family: My wife Janet teachers kindergarten. Our son Dan is Natural Resources task force director for the American Legislative Exchange Council. Emily conducts impact fee analyses through her own consulting firm. Mick is at Goldman Sachs.

Why political involvement: Because I have a passion for liberty. Philosophically I am libertarian in the same sense that Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater were. My guiding principle is that we should unleash capitalism and let people run their private lives without interference from government.

Hobbies: Reading science fiction; backpacking; cooking beer can chicken and turkey, brisket, pulled pork, and ribs on the grill; and searching for good chocolate

Motivations/ambitions: To promote liberty and efficiency-enhancing public policies—restricting people’s ability to take their neighbors’ property through zoning and encouraging user fees for private services provided by government such as parks, public lands, and golf courses for example.

Hottest issue you’re watching: Zoning and planning issues along the Wasatch Front. I read this to keep up with issues outside of Cache Valley. Wilf Sommerkorn, who runs the blog, is one of the clearest thinking planners I have ever met. Of course that is a low standard, but Wilf truly stands out.

Proudest moment: Proudest public moment was publishing a full-page article on the op-ed pages of the Washington Post on the follies of the ivory trade ban—it does not help elephants and makes poor Africans even poorer.

Most embarrassing moment: Losing the election for mayor of Providence by 6 votes in 2001.

Favorite book: The Robert Fox translation of  the Five Books of Moses: the Shocken Bible”  and his translation of I and II Samuel titled Give us a King!  Raymond Scheindlin’s translation of  The Book of Job.  Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein. And of course, Beyond Politics: Market, Welfare, and the Failure of Bureaucracy by William C. Mitchell and Randy Simmons.

Favorite mentor: The authors I read: Moses, Samuel, Job, Adam Smith, F. A. Hayek, the authors of the Federalist Papers, Scott Card, Robert Heinlein.

A small insight into my psyche: I believe two of the most important problems facing any society are personal responsibility and leadership.  Thus, questions about what it means to ask for leadership, how the leaders measure up to the task, how the ideals of that culture fare in that process, and what is the just society become the core questions. That is why I read the Old Testament and science fiction that address these questions.  As Everett Fox asks in his introduction to Give us a King!, “What will you do to ensure the flourishing of a just society? And what happens to society if it seeks, and finds, leaders who are not just?”  My answer to Fox’s questions is that political institutions must be designed so that even unjust leaders promote the public interest. That is the genius of the American system as designed by the Federalists.

Podcast Watch

Jennifer Napier Pearce’s features all things food...Senate President John Valentine (1:13) on removing the sales tax on food, plus commentary from Salt Lake Chamber President Lane Beattie and House Minority Leader Ralph Becker (4:52). Also, the Utah Food Bank’s Amberlie Phillips (9:30) on the state of hunger in Utah. Then food expert Steven Rosenberg (14:01) discusses his love affair with flavor, the owner of one of Salt Lake’s newest cafes describes life running a cereal bar (18:57), and Bambara executive chef Robert Barker (24:24) outlines his delicacy this season – creole fried turkey. Bon appetit and Happy Thanksgiving!

Blog Watch

On the Senate Site Blog, Sen. Lyle Hillyard pays tribute to Reed Bullen, a true Senate legend who spent 22 years representing the Logan area. Hillyard describes how Bullen used to campaign and closes his post with some comments about the increasing size and expense of government.

Meanwhile, Green Jello responds to Sen. Chris Buttar's evolution bill announcement... The Weber County Forum criticizes the Ogden City rec center feasability study... SLCSpin notes that the Tribune "finally broke the Big-2 newspaper silence on the candidacy of Julian Hatch."... The Project on American Oversight blog takes a long look at connections between Rep. Chris Cannon and his former Chief of Staff, David Safavian, now in legal trouble... National Blogger Brendan Nyhan criticizes Sen. Orrin Hatch and other Republicans for attacking Democratic dissent.

Green Jello congratulates Rep. Jim Matheson for being the sole member of Utah's congressional delegation to vote against budget-cutting bill... The Internet Patrol and The Quiet Revolution have long posts supporting the Free Speech Coalition's suit over Utah's anti-spam email address registry... Texas congressman/blogger hails Rep. Steve Urquhart for his blogging prowess, as does national blog Lawmakers, which in turn condemns as fake Sen. Orrin Hatch's blog.

Washington Watch

Congress passes construction conference report that includes money for Utah military projects requested by Sen. Orrin Hatch (see press release); Congress also passes Transportation, Treasury and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Appropriations conference report containing several Utah community development and transportation projects pushed by Hatch (see press release). Meanwhile, the Senate passes legislation, developed in part by Hatch, that prevents a "dramatic" tax increase on middle-class Americans (see press release).

Sen. Bob Bennett hails his colleagues in Congress for approving spending bill that sends $62 million to Utah military installations (press release unavailable online)... Of the same bill, Sen. Orrin Hatch says, “This funding goes to show that the Defense Department recognizes the superior level of work performed by Utah’s military personnel” (see press release)... Senate also approves legislation sponsored by Hatch and Rep. Chris Cannon allocating funds for expanding the Richfield Municipal Airport, providing Paiute Indian Tribe with economic development money (see press release)... Meanwhile, amidst heated debate in D.C. over Iraq War, Sen. Hatch says Democrats "want to do anything they can to cripple the president," adding, "Unfortunately, the only people they are hurting are our soldiers overseas" (Sacramento Bee).

Message Center

Insure All Americans by 2010

By Mark E. Towner

            We should have the goal of 100% access to insurance for all Utahns. The Bush Administration's proposed budget includes programs and financial support to advance us towards this goal. We can achieve 100% coverage through market-based solutions, private/corporate efforts, tax incentives, direct public subsidies, strong community support, and faith-based outreach programs. Personal responsibility, individual ownership, portability, and healthcare consumerism are the hallmarks of such a system. 

            In order for the system to work, the individual consumer must have accurate information, timely knowledge of health needs; access to the best information about how to maintain personal health; knowledge of whom to see and where to go for health services, and confidence that health providers are practicing medicine using the best practices based on the most up-to-date understanding of outcomes-based medicine. We are fortunate here is Utah because of SB 132, sponsored by Sen. Allen M. Christensen, which passed in the 2005 Legislative session. The bill, located here, provides for a state Web site where health care consumers can see information on Health Care Issues, Patient Safety, Locate a Doctor and see what training and certifications they possess, verify a license or see if they have been disciplined, and also if needed file a complaint.

            In a white paper written for The Center for Health Transformation, Ronald E. Bachman states the following:

            "The test for a new system is to provide affordable access to quality care and financial security for all. It must work for the poorest and sickest among us.  It must include preventive care, provide for early intervention, and support the maintenance of healthy lifestyles. It must encourage and reward good health and healthcare purchasing behaviours.  If a movement to healthcare consumerism is to be successful, it must be for all Americans.  It must provide improved products and services at lower prices. Most importantly, the 21st Century Intelligent Health System must provide access to affordable insurance coverage for those currently uninsured.  No one can be left behind.

            “To put it simply, insuring all Americans is a moral imperative. 18,000 people die every year because they are uninsured. According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), uninsured adults have a 25% greater rate of dying than adults with insurance.  Uninsured trauma victims are less likely to be admitted to the hospital or receive the full range of needed services. They are 37% more likely to die of their injuries.  A recent Health Affairs report projected that by 2013 the number of uninsured will rise from the current 45 million to 56 million lives. This means that without change, excess deaths for those without insurance will increase to over 24,000 lives per year.

            “Uninsured children are 70% more likely to go without care for common childhood conditions such as asthma, ear infections, and sore throats.  Uninsured children are five times more likely to have an unmet need for medical care each year. The uninsured are 33% less likely to get a routine physical examination and 25% less likely to visit a doctor for an illness. Uninsured women are 36% less likely to get a pap smear, and 60% less likely to get a mammogram.  Uninsured men are 40% less likely to get a prostate examination.

            “The ripple effects of being uninsured and having poor health are felt throughout society. Uninsured children have impaired development and poor school performance. Uninsured adults have more absences from work, more unscheduled sick days, and greater rates of disability.  The 2004 Kaiser Family Foundation study found the societal costs of the uninsured to be $125 billion.  Regardless of how one views the issue, the cost to society is high. Without insurance - the health, lives, and financial security of families are at extreme risk. (Click here to read full article)


November 21, 2005

National Headlines

The Family Research Council sends out an alert supporting Sen. Orrin Hatch's Stem Cell and Therapeutic Reseach Act.

CEO of Unspam, the company that operates Utah’s Child Protection Registry, responds to Free Speech Coalition suit challenging the constitutionality of Utah's anti-spam law, saying it's nothing more than pornographers seeking to continue to send spam to children (Faith Wire Service).

Soaring state tax collections across the country create momentum for tax cuts in 2006, including cutting the sales tax on food, a priority in Utah, South Carolina and West Virginia (USA Today).

Columnist says Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-CO, is right to go after provision in new farm subsidy law authored by Sen. Bob Bennett that would allow religious groups to use illegal immigrants as volunteers (World Net Daily).

Bush administration fixes its hopes for next big energy boom on oil shale deposits in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming (Los Angeles Times).

Utah ranks eighth on list of nation's top 10 most generous states in terms of charitable giving (Associated Press).

New bill that allows private companies and individuals to use mining claims to buy large tracts of federal land in the West worries environmentalists (New York Times).

Local Headlines

Salt Lake Tribune

- Murray racism claim is disputed

- It's life or death for Ogden mall site plan

- Ruling awaits in benefits trial

- Local officials provoke BLM over roads in monument

- Road battle roused commissioner out of his retirement

- Editorial: COUNTY JAIL POLICY: Limits on inmates make policy, financial sense

- Editorial: PUBLIC SCHOOL GROWTH: Legislature must deal with approaching tsunami

Deseret Morning News

- Uintas' Ute status debated

- Utah seeks data on financial aid for 'alternative' grads

- Am. Fork given a warning on water

- Orem eyeing art-tax booty

- 18 landowners to sue Cedar, Iron

- Water alternatives in American Fork

- John Florez: Today's schools need 'front-line' educators

- Op-ed: Invest in immigrants' children, too

- Editorial: Let states set initiative rules

Sunday, November 20

Deseret Morning News

- Utah lax on car title loans

- 48% say replace Hatch, but he isn't worried

- Ethnic strategic plan called a starting point

- Group seeks federal protection for a small land snail in Uintas

- Spending bill a boon for north Utah County

- Utah fighting for a larger share of skiers

- $62 million approved for Utah military bases

- Lots of shops in store for N. Utah

- Jay Evensen: Judges need sentencing discretion

- Pignanelli & Webb: Utah politicians take a moment to express thanks

- Editorial: Grizzlies rally for a comeback


- At-large seat an option?

- Editorial: Lose the front plate, Utah

St. George Spectrum

- Project sparks water rights lawsuit

- Editorial: Housing costs near crisis point

Daily Herald

- Eagle Mountain asks for new sewer system

- Editorial: Free speech a two-way street

Salt Lake Tribune

- Petition puts gay benefits on USU plate

- Program will allow other assessments for NCLB

- Defective heart devices leave taxpayers with bills

- Op-ed: Nielsen: A response to our leadership crisis

- Op-ed: Nelson: Disposal by milling is legal, but is it in society's best interest?

- Op-ed: Davis: Utah is all offense and no defense about transportation needs

- Editorial: Minimum mandatory sentences could backfire

Saturday, November 19

Tooele Transcript Bulletin

- Clock ticking for misunderstood downtown redevelopment agency

- Only one week after election, Dunlavy takes charge of city

- Grantsville council race narrows; recount set

- One-year spurt sees county's numbers jump by 2,100

Park Record

- KPCW could receive $45K in RAP Tax

- Sheriff already has Democratic challenger

- Legislators table tax shift

- Editorial: Express Transit survey gets thumbs up

Salt Lake Tribune

- Draper feels locked into prison after guv's edict

- New schools official

- Activist wants to squelch northwest sports park

- Pandemic fears may bring law changes

- In northern Utah, every vote counts: Eight close races settled - for now

- Utahns in House vote against pulling out from Iraq, disagree on their reasons

- Spending: The Utah Democrat predicts problems

- Farmers express doubts as Hatch aide defends big oil

- Editorial: Prison Diets: Inmates and taxpayers both hurt by what they eat


- Kaysville commercial center on hold

St. George Spectrum

- Editorial: Religion no excuse for crimes

Daily Herald

- Editorial: Seeking safety from sex crimes

KSL Editorial Board

- Another Viewpoint – Commuter Rail

Deseret Morning News

- Spending bill will be boon to Utah County

- No Child Left Behind shifting Utah's way

- Prison is staying put for now

- Tablets case in slow lane

- Judge to make final decision on state's sick-leave policy

- Consultants give up state contracts

- A hold on state benefits law?

- No consensus on losing-bid reports

- State names new official to oversee Utah schools

- Utah offering incentives to 2 companies

- 6 rural counties get state funds

- Utah agriculture upbeat about prices, challenges

- Editorial: A nod toward discretion

Political Calendar

Please submit calendar items to

- Nov 21: Lt. Gov. Herbert to chair the Homeland Security Advisory Council, 9 am, State Auditorium on Capitol Hill.

- Nov 21: Democrats of Southern Utah Luncheon, 11:30 am, Dixie Center 1835 Convention Center Drive. Pete Ashdown, candidate for U.S. Senate and Election of D of SU Officers.
- Nov 22: Administrative Rules Review Committee, 9 am, room W135.
- Nov 22: Lt. Gov. Herbert to speak at the Bear River AOG, 12 pm, 2400 North Main in Logan.
- Nov 22: Utah State Bar and Property Rights Ombudsman Seminars on Land Use Regulation for attorneys, real estate professionals, planners and citizens, 1:30 or 6 pm, Festival Hall, 105 N 100 E, Room 7, Cedar City. Free or modest charge for materials or education credit.  Questions call 801-731-5399 in Weber County. Details at
- Nov 22: Water Issues Task Force, 2 pm, room W135.
- Nov 25: Wasatch County Democratic Party Phone Network. To help contact Lisa Teifke at 435-785-7850 or
- Nov 26: Wasatch County Democratic Party Phone Network. To help contact Lisa Teifke at 435-785-7850 or
- Nov 27: Green Party of Utah Council Meeting, 10 am, Salt Lake County Government Complex, 2100 South State Street, Salt Lake City.
- Nov 28: Tax Reform Task Force, 8 am, room W135.
- Nov 28: Hinckley Forum "American Political Cartoons," 10:45 am. A presentation by Lucia Rather, former, Director for Cataloging, Library of Congress.
- Nov 28: Hinckley Forum "Higher Education as an Architect of Democracy: What is our Role in a Time of Profound Social Change?" 12 pm. Harry Boyte, Senior Fellow at the Humphrey Institute, Founder, Center for Democracy and Citizenship. Union East Panorama Room.
- Nov 29: Tax Review Commission, 12 pm, room W130.
- Nov 30: Lt. Gov. Herbert to participate in the Utah Water Summit, all day event, Marriott in Provo.
- Nov 30: Utah Technology Commission, 8:30 am, room W110.
- Nov 30: Hinckley Forum "Congressional Update with Congressman Jim Matheson, 8:35 am.
- Nov 30: Revenue and Taxation Interim Committee, 9 am, room W135.
- Nov 30: Hinckley Forum "Utah Conservatives vs. The Christian Right," 11 am, a live RadioWest Broadcast with moderator Doug Fabrizio.

- Dec 1:  Sutherland Institute 10th Anniversary Celebration with special guest Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the US House of Representatives.  ‘Giving Hope’ Reception at Shriners Hospital, 5:00pm,  ‘Winning the Future’ Dinner & Keynote Address at Downtown Marriott, 6:30pm.   For more information please call 801-355-1272 or visit
- Dec 2: Wasatch County Democratic Party Phone Network. To help contact Lisa Teifke at 435-785-7850 or

- Dec 3: Wasatch County Democratic Party Phone Network. To help contact Lisa Teifke at 435-785-7850 or
- Dec 5: Ben Stein to speak at Kingsbury Hall, 7:30 pm. Free admission, tickets available at Kingsbury Hall and the ASSU office, Union bldg room 234. For more information contact Bryson Morgan at the Hinckley Institute of Politics at 801-581-8501.
- Dec 7: Salt Lake City Democracy for America Meetup, 7 pm, Salt Lake Main Library, Conference room D.
- Dec 8: 2005 Sutherland Transcend Series,"The Quest for Lasting Solutions - Applying Core Principles, " Breakfast Keynote from 8:30 to 9:30 am, Morning Seminar from 9:40 to 11:30 am, Lunch from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm, Afternoon Workshop from 12:30 pm to 2:30 pm.  For more information contact Stan Rasmussen at 801-355-1272, email
- Dec 9: Wasatch County Democratic Party Phone Network. To help contact Lisa Teifke at 435-785-7850 or

- See the entire calendar

Elected Officials Birthday List

Utah Policy Daily is a service
of Utah

Publisher: LaVarr Webb
Editor: Paul Hollingshead
News: Golden Webb
Calendar and Subscriptions: Luci W. Hollingshead

Business Development: Mark Towner


Utah Policy Daily
American Plaza III, Suite 105
47 West 200 South
Salt Lake City, UT 84101
801.537.0900 Office
801.537.0901 Fax
801.502.9134 Cell 24/7