Monday, December 24, 2012

Obamacare: Accelerating Our Orwellian Descent

During our All-Day Republican Caucus we discussed the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) and its impact on state government and Utah citizens.  The information presented was disconcerting to say the least.

To start, let me share a joke that was shared in our meeting:

A patient walks into the doctors office for a follow up exam.  The doctor greets the patient:

Doctor:  "I have good news and bad news for you, which do you want to hear first?"
Patient: "Well, lets hear the good news first."
Doctor: "The good news is we found out you have five days to live."
Patient:  "If that is the good news, what is the bad news?!"
Doctor: "The bad news is we got the lab results three days ago."
This morbid humor characterizes to a degree what Utah has been dealing with regarding Obamacare rules and regulations.  The Federal government has asked the States to make specific decisions regarding how it will implement Obamacare policy.  To help the States know how to make their decisions, the Feds have promised to give information on what the rules and regulations will be.  Unfortunately, the Feds have not given the State enough information to make an informed decision.  This, even while the deadlines continue to come and go.  Governor Herbert's letter to Kathleen Sebelius best illustrates the Federal Government's failure:     Governer Herberts Letter to Kathleen Sebelius

So this helps illustrate the dysfunction at the Federal level in implementing its own policy.  They have created a bureaucratic monster so complex that they haven't figured out which feet to put on which legs or where the legs are supposed to go and how many there should be.

Yet, while the monster appears to be missing brains too, it is still armed with a powerful stinger.  Starting in 2014, potent and painful penalties await the general public and business owners who find themselves on the wrong side of Obamacare:

  • Families who do not have "qualified"  health coverage will be fined up to $2,085 per year.
  • Business owners (50 employee +) who do not provide "qualified" coverage for their employees must pay a fine of $2,000 per employee per year.       

In addition, since the intent of the Affordable Care Act is to provide "affordable" health care for everyone, everyone will now be taxed more to pay for this newly affordable care.  Starting in 2013:

  • New 40% Excise Tax on High-Cost Plans
  • Tax Deductions for Medicare Part D are Eliminated
  • New Medicare Payroll Tax
  • New Medicare Tax on Investment Income
  • New $2,500 Limit to Flexible Spending Accounts
  • Floor Raised on Deductible Individual Medical Expenses from 7.5% to 10% of Income  
All these new taxes add up to about $492 BILLION in money leaving taxpayers pockets and going to the Federal Government.  That equates to about $1,640 per American (man, woman, and child) in new tax burdens for 2013 alone.  Yet more new taxes are scheduled for 2014 and beyond.

One of the most upsetting parts of Obamacare law (if you aren't upset enough already) is its effort to push as many people possible into Medicaid.  The new law accomplishes this through devious financial incentives.  For instance, if you are an individual who is not covered by your employer, you will likely seek an insurance policy as an individual in the new Exchange marketplace. (Exchange is a fancy term for a website that will have policies for you to buy.)  If you get a personal policy, you can apply to get a tax credit for the cost of your premium for the year.  However, to get that tax credit, you have to apply for Medicaid...even if you don't want Medicaid benefits.  And, if you qualify for Medicaid, guess what?  You don't get your tax credit!  

This diabolical scheme creates the ultimate incentive for people to capitulate and enroll in Medicaid rather than indulge in such old-fashioned practices as self-reliance and rugged individualism.

Of course, all these new Medicaid applications need to be processed and Obamacare law requires that the States foot the bill for processing all this paperwork.  It will cost Utahans at least $38 Million and could cost much more just to hire all the new paper shuffling bureaucrats to process the tax-credit applications each year.  I can think of much better uses for that money; and I am sure you can too.

The 2013 General Session will prove eventful as we grapple with these new Federal laws that contradict Utah values.  State statute must be changed by the will of the Legislature in order to bring our law in compliance with Obamacare.  I am in favor of a strong dose of Federalism for just such an occasion.        


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

All-Day Caucus: Big Changes Coming

We had an opportunity to meet as a Republican Caucus and discuss many of the issues we will be facing in the 2013 Legislative Session.

One of the important things we discussed was the Guiding Principles of our Legislative efforts this year.  Here they are:

2013 - Utah Republican Caucus Guiding Principles

Of our time, we spent about 2 hours discussing Obamacare.  I will be treating that subject in a whole separate post a little later.  You won't like what you read...but you need to know anyway.  Stay tuned for more on that subject.


We also discussed our budget to a great degree.  With the "Fiscal Cliff" debate ongoing, it is making it very difficult for us to plan.  If everything stays like it is today (which it won't) then we have about $300 Million is new revenue to spend.  That is what we are building our budgets around.  However, if we "go ever the Fiscal Cliff" then our new revenue turns into a $200 Million deficit and we will have to cut programs.  It's a lovely scenario to say the least.  In my business, I always try to underpromise and overdeliver.  Consider this your warning that things could get ugly from a budget standpoint this session.  If not, then there shouldn't be too many complaints.

The governor's proposed budget is interesting in that it allotted for a 1% increase in the Weighted Pupil Unit and a 1% increase for salaries for state works but not a 1% salary increase for teachers.  I don't know if that was a technical oversight or posturing for negotiation.  Either way, that little detail is sure to get some attention from the education community.  Based on our discussion, the Legislature seems prepared to fund a 1% increase in teacher salary.


Alcohol policy will be changing this year as well.  I spoke to Senator Valentine over the summer and he indicated he is working on a Master License concept that would allow businesses that need multiple licenses to operate to consolidate to just one.  This would then free up the excess licenses for use by other businesses.  This should hopefully ease some of the burden in the business community who is impacted by the scarcity of supply of such licenses.  Also, we were told that there will be a proposed change to the "Zion Curtain" provision that places an awkward partition between bartenders and patrons at restaurant bars.


The proposed food tax increase was brought up momentarily.  It was panned by the body. Don't expect a lot of excitement from the House of Representatives on this subject.


The last item of business was regarding the proposed Mandatory Helmet Bill for motorcyclists.  This bill was viewed very skeptically by my constituents.  It also didn't help that the rhetoric surrounding the bill was very divisive and highly agitated the opposition to it.  I spoke against the bill on the grounds that the people should be trusted to make decisions for themselves,  that micromanaging behavior based on trying to protect the public coffers was a slippery slope to greater government intrusion in our lives, and that this bill was an assault on a symbol of freedom and independence.  I asked for a Caucus position against the bill and one was received by unanimous vote.  What this means is that if the bill passes the Senate where it has originated, it will not make it far in the House and will most certainly fail a Floor vote.  

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Federalism: Saved By The Potheads?

The state of Washington recently legalized the use of marijuana.  The Telegraph reports more on the situation:

The new law only allows cannabis to be smoked inside, and doing so in public is still subject to a $100 fine.
However, the Seattle Police Department told its 1,300 officers that until further notice they shall not issue tickets, and no officers were present at the Space Needle event.

On the city's police website, spokesman Jonah Spangenthal-Lee said: "The department's going to give you a generous grace period to help you adjust to this brave, new, and maybe kinda stoned world we live in."

He added: "The police department believes that, under state law, you may responsibly get baked, order some pizzas and enjoy a Lord of the Rings marathon in the privacy of your own home, if you want to."
After my gut reaction of repulsion at the idea of legalized marijuana, I had a couple more thoughts.  First, the Seattle Police Department "maybe kinda" needs to hire a new spokesperson.  The second, is that Washington has just crossed a new and unprecedented threshold in social experimentation.       

What is even more interesting is the way state lawmakers have designed (and perhaps justified) the measure:

In Washington it is now legal for adults over the age of 21 to possess an ounce of the drug, or up to 16 ounces of cannabis-infused goods like brownies or cookies, or up to 72 ounces in liquid form.
 It will be subject to a 25 per cent tax at each stage of that process. The move is expected to bring hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue for spending in areas including schools and health care. The establishment of the regulation and tax system will take another year. (my emphasis added)
This seems to me like selling your birthright for a bowl of porridge.  It's very short sighted.  The education and healthcare damage done to the population through increased marijuana usage will exceed any fiscal "benefit" the state receives.  They will spend more than that on marijuana users who need more education and increased healthcare services as a result of their own usage.   Just give it time.  This will be a one step forward, two steps back policy. 

Yet, not all is lost.  There may be some silver lining in the cloud of smokey munchy-inducing haze.  The marijuana issue has been a key front line in the 10th Amendment/state's rights fight.  The report continues:

Washington's stance comes in the wake of an already escalating conflict between the federal government and states over the burgeoning medical cannabis industry.
Prosecutors in several areas of Washington said last month that they were dismissing scores of existing cannabis possession cases.
I read Thomas Woods' book Nullification a couple years ago when I was first elected to the Utah Legislature.  One of the fundamental acts of asserting Federalism and state's rights is the cooperation of state authorities (like prosecutors, sheriffs, and state employees) in implementing the new state's rights based policy.  That kind of buy-in appears to be working in Washington.

The question then is what will the Federal government do?  In the article, the Feds say that nothing has changed.  However, the local political support that Federal agents once enjoyed has diminished significantly.  Many times these Federal agents live in the states they are assigned to work in.  Do you think it will be easy for them to act against the wishes of their neighbors and community?  In a practical sense, compelling local Federal agents to enforce Federal statute against the wishes of the community will be very unpopular, adversarial, and ultimately ineffective.

For this reason, I wish Washington well on its adventure into Federalism.  Although I don't believe their new marijuana policy will be a blessing to their people in the long-term, they have acted according to their own consciences and created laws that best serve the will of a majority of its people.

If they are successful, they will set a strong precedent.  Utah will have an opportunity to follow its own course and establish laws that are better executed, less expensive, and in harmony with the conscience and will of Utahan's.  We can shed ourselves of the clumsy and obtuse mandates of a cumbersome and bloated Federal government that has overstepped its Constitutional bounds.

We would be wise to watch carefully.  So, while Washington state is lighting up, the Utah Legislature should be looking out.    

Monday, December 3, 2012

House Committee Membership 2013-2014

Here is the list of Representatives and who will be sitting on which Standing Committees:

Standing Committees 2013-2014 PDF

And here is who is sitting on the various Appropriations Subcommittees: Exec Approps 2013-2014 PDF

District 9 Committee Assignments 2013-2014

I received a call from Speaker Lockhart today with my assignments for the 2013 Legislative Session. 

Standing Committees:

Political Subdivisions - VICE CHAIR - I have served on this committee for the past two years and have enjoyed the subject matter that comes before us.  We deal with land and title issues as well as municipal and county governance.  We also hear topics related to election law and points related to the political economy in general.  I was notified that I will be promoted to serve as Vice Chair of the committee  which will be an exciting new opportunity. 

Business and Labor - This committee deals with many exciting issues relating to government interaction, regulation, and interference (-cough-) in the marketplace.  Since the decisions made by the committee deal with issues that have such a significant impact on the economy and commerce, I look forward to voicing my opinion to help to keep our government within its proper bounds.  

Appropriations Subcommittee:

Business, Economic Development and Labor Appropriations - I have also served on this committee the past two years.  We oversee and fund an interesting medley of departments and programs including the Department of Alcohol Beverage Control, homeless initiatives, USTAR, Department of Commerce, and more.  Many of our programs actually generate a profit for the taxpayer.  I look forward to continue making a difference by focusing taxpayer money to generate the best return on the dollar. 


Speaker of the 3rd House - I am not quite sure what I did to deserve this position but I accepted it anyway. Perhaps it is my dry comedic stylings or my personal fascination with doilies and cutlery.  Regardless, I will be in charge of the House social calendar, evening events, and the Speaker's Dinner.  So don't be surprised if the House is graced with the soothing tunes of blues/funk/rock music during dinner or I hire a bunch of mimes just to add an avant-garde edge to the event...or both.  

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Poverty Matters: Kids Living On The Dole

The poverty issue is a big deal for my district.  Our Intergenerational Poverty study that we received several months ago illustrates the problem we are facing with families continuing to live off State welfare generation after generation. 

The data was finally put into a map illustrating the problem statewide.  Here is the map:

Intergenerational Poverty Map - Utah 2012
As you can see, my home zip code 84401 is one of the top six zip codes in the state for kids living in poverty.  While Roy has a most 53 kids who are the 2nd or more generation in their family receiving welfare assistance from the state, downtown Ogden has at least 1160.  

This may help explain some of the urgency I assign to this issue.

Look for some legislation on this topic to be discussed in the near future.  

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Multicultural Commission 2012

In July I was appointed by Governor Herbert to serve on the Multicultural Commission.  Here is a photo of our current membership taken last Tuesday:

A major part of our Tuesday meeting was a presentation by Pam Perlich.  The presentation was a mixture of education and advocacy.  The gist of the statistics is that Utah will find itself with a "minority" majority in the next 30 years as the white population in the state is eclipsed by minority population growth.  Given the significant socioeconomic gap that exists between minorities and the present majority, it is essential that this gap be narrowed if we are to avoid extreme social tension and dysfunction.  The solution to closing this gap is not though government welfare and transfer payments, but rather through eduction and cultural assimilation.  This solution is a main focus of the Multicultural Commission.

It is a privilege to serve and work with stakeholders in the community to find effective remedies to this urgent problem.   

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Abraham Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation

Our Nation has been through tough times.  Here are Abraham Lincoln's words of Thanksgiving during the height of the Civil War:

The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they can not fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict, while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well as the iron and coal as of our precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the battlefield, and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the imposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the divine purpose, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.
Enjoy your Thanksgiving this year and may we remember and venerate the Great Architect of all our blessings.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

VICTORY! Re-Election Success 2012

We were successful in defeating my opponent.  Our margins this year were markedly better than in 2010 which saw us eke out a victory by just a few percentage points and 200 votes.  Yesterday's results put us on top with 60.52% of the vote. 

I want to thank all those who volunteered to drop flyers on doorsteps, make phone calls, contributed much need financial resources, and helped us to achieve our success.  Thank you to all!

Now on to leadership elections and crafting legislation for the next General Session...

Monday, November 5, 2012

Top 5 Reasons To Vote for Jeremy Peterson

If you are looking for a compelling reason to cast your vote for me this year.  Let me share 5 of them with you:

1.  Attitude - I am not an elitist who believes he is better than other people.  I am just a person like you who has been blessed with some unique talents that have afforded me the opportunity to serve.  I serve at your pleasure and I don't forget that.

2.  Communication - I want to bring the government to you.  Many people feel that government is far away and out of reach.  This blog is a big part of my accountability to you as the voter.  As I learn about issues, I hope to educate you on them as well.  Good information leads to good outcomes.

3.  Relationships - I don't dismiss anyone just because of party affiliation.  While I am conservative in my worldview, I have frequent conversations with those of opposing viewpoints to help me better understand the issues defining both sides of a debate and to help me better articulate my own position.  I have found that the most workable solutions are usually crafted by listening to many informed opinions.

4.  Work Ethic - Serving in the Legislature is hard work.  To get things done requires organization, tenacity, and long hours.  I am committed to accomplishing legislation that meets the needs of our district.  I believe my record bares this out.

5.  Accessibility - It is important that you to feel connected to your government.  It has been designed to be that way.  However, many of us are jaded by media stories of government idiocy or malpractice.  Don't let these messages cause you to think that you can't and don't make a difference.  You absolutely do. Please call me anytime during waking hours. 801-390-1480. 

Thanks for reading and be sure to vote your conscience this year!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Standard Examiner Spotlight: Jeremy Peterson vs. Neil Hansen

The Standard Examiner published their candidate profiles today.  Both my opponent and I were featured.  Here is the story in its entirety:

OGDEN — State Rep. Jeremy Peterson believes his work sponsoring and passing legislation will help him win a second term to represent House District 9. But his opponent, Democrat Neil Hansen, said just because he did not sponsor numerous bills during his 12 years in the Legislature does not mean he was ineffective.     

This election is a rematch between the two, with Peterson defeating Hansen in 2010.   Hansen, 53, is the owner of Ready Made Water, a home water-storage system. He and his wife, Debby, are the parents of eight children.  Peterson, 35, is a real estate broker. He and his wife, Kimberly, have four daughters.  “I am the more effective candidate at sponsoring and passing legislation than my opponent,” Peterson said. “The average Democrat during the same time period (Hansen) was in office had between 50 percent to 70 percent of their sponsored legislation passed. (Hansen’s) pass rate was less than 10 percent.”    

Hansen said he has lived in Weber County all his life and knows the history and the needs of his constituents. Hansen said Peterson did not grow up in Utah and is unfamiliar with what the needs are.  And even though Hansen’s pass rate on legislative bills does not look good on paper, Hansen said he worked effectively behind the scenes for projects that benefited Weber County.    Those projects include Falcon Hill, a $1.5 billion public- private development venture of the state, Hill Air Force Base and Woodbury Corporation, George E. Wahlen Veterans Home, a reading initiative program and improvement to roads.    “(Peterson’s) argument is very lame,” Hansen said. “That’s not how you measure success. You’re not elected just for the 45 days (of the Legsilative session), but for the 365 days.”    “My opponent is touting that I’m a failure,” Hansen said. “To that, I say bull pucky.”    

Peterson was born in Idaho and grew up in Montana and Texas. He moved to Utah in 1996 to attend Utah State University. After serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Peterson came back to Utah, met his wife and transferred to Weber State University.    Peterson has lived in Roy and Ogden since 2000 and says he knows the area and the people.    

Hansen said his top priorities, if elected, would be economic development and education for Weber County.    “We need to entice job growth to Ogden,” Hansen said.    He also said legislators need to re-prioritize funding so more goes to education and less to roads.    Hansen said spending $1.2 billion for the Interstate 15 core project in Utah County is wrong while classrooms in the state need more funding.    “We’re spending too much on roads,” Hansen said. “That money needs to go into education.”    

Peterson said education is “by far the most important issue the state has.”    Peterson said a good education is key to breaking the cycle of poverty that many seem to be locked into.    “The children are beholden to the decisions their parents are making and they have no choice how they live, but if we can break that cycle they can make better decisions,” Peterson said.    

Peterson said he is also concerned with Utah’s alcohol policy. If lawmakers changed how liquor licenses are distributed, it could benefit the economy in Ogden and Weber County.    “I think it would allow the businesses that are here to operate more easily,” Peterson said.    Peterson is studying the issue to see if liquor law changes would have a negative impact on public safety.    

Peterson said he focused during the past two years on bills and appropriations that would help families and businesses.  One of those bills helps the state reduce fraudulent unemployment claims. Another one has the Department of Workforce Services analyzing its data to see who is on public assistance in an effort to reduce inter-generational poverty, Peterson said.  Peterson said because of his assignment on an appropriations subcommittee he was able to help St. Anne’s Center in Ogden receive $500,000 from lawmakers to get started building the Lantern House, a new facility for the homeless.  House District 9 boundaries have expanded west to include West Haven, a portion of north Roy and the core of Ogden. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Ethnicity, Education, and Expectations

I was recently appointment by Governor Herbert to serve on the Multicultural Commission.  The commission serves as a sounding board and niche liaison between minority ethnic communities in Utah and our State Government.  The Commission is populated with very bright individuals from around the state who come together to discuss issues facing our many disparate minority communities.  Best practices are shared and suggestions made to help our minority communities integrate economically and culturally while lifting themselves to societal standards of excellence.

In order to help our minority communities reach their full potential, a great deal of eduction and assimilation is required.  Fortunately, as part of the commission I have been assigned to the subcommittee on education which held a meeting this week.

In our meeting we heard from Latinos In Action.  This group focuses on Hispanic youth and creates opportunities for them to serve as volunteers in the community.  These service experiences give the youth an opportunity to reflect on their direction in life and also makes them role models for their younger peers.  One of the missing components to the minority success story has been the lack of community role models.  Latinos In Action seeks to cure that problem.  The program also intends to act as a cultural bridge between the Hispanic and majority white populations as it's youth serve all members of the community. 

LIA has been successful in Salt Lake but they have not come to Ogden yet to start their program.  After our meeting yesterday, they will be coming to Ogden soon to start helping our local youth.      

Improving the academic and economic performance of our minority populations is a key component to Utah's success in the future.  Our changing demographics require that we give attention to this important issue.     

Monday, October 22, 2012

Santa Claus and Utah Bikers Support Jeremy Peterson

A member of A.B.A.T.E. Utah sent me this photo from a weekend charity Toy Run event.  I appreciate everyone's support, especially that jolly fellow in the middle with the white beard.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

VIDEO: Jeremy Peterson vs. Neil Hansen

Ten candidates, including myself, had an opportunity to introduce ourselves and answer questions in a panel format at the Women's Legislative Council's Meet and Greet yesterday evening.  Here is a video of my introduction:

And for balance, here is video of my opponent, Mr. Hansen:

Please forgive the video quality on Mr. Hansen's segment as my wife was stuggling to keep the kids quiet and lost focus on keeping the camera trained where it should be.  Nevertheless, this side by side comparison is an appropriate way to compare and contrast the candidates.  If applause is any indicator of audience favor, I gladly accept the accolades.
The rest of the evening was mostly civil with some barbs being exchanged between a few Democrats and Republican Majority Leader Brad Dee.

The hosts of the event asked questions that were proposed by members of the audience.  Most of the questions were for the Weber County Commission candidates.  However, things got interesting once they opened up discussion to questions asked to the Legislators.  Topics ranged from immigration, education, taxes, and the final question being dropped on us about same-sex marriage.

I thought the format was great and provided a lively discussion of ideas and viewpoints.  I hope that future speaking events are of a similar format. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Peterson Family: Fall 2012

Many of you have heard stories that I have shared on Facebook about my family.  I thought I would post this photo so you can see who the characters are in the narratives.  My wife and children are very near and dear to me. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Breaking the Poverty Cycle: Disturbing Data

Last session I sponsored a Senate Bill on the House Floor for Senator Reid of Ogden.  The bill asked the executive branch to mine its data and determine if any state practices were contributing to poverty and keeping people dependent on public assistance.  The bill called for a study with an emphasis on intergenerational poverty and the impact that living in poverty has on children.

The Deseret News recently reported on the study.  I was given a copy and the findings are quite alarming.  Here are some shocking highlights:

 For those of you interested in more details.  Here is the entire report:

Intergenerational Poverty Report

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Ogden School District Triumph: KSL Video

In light of the amazing results achieved by Ogden School district, KSL came to report on the story:

The foundation is being laid for greater things in the Ogden community.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Night with the Episcopalians

Tonight was the bi-annual Candidate Greet and Meet that is sponsored by the Coalition of Religious Communities.  The event was hosted by the Episcopal Church in Downtown Ogden.

This year's meeting was attended by many more people than in 2010 where I was the only Republican present.  Ryan Wilcox, Scott Jenkins, and others chatted with constituents at booths assigned to each of us.

I had the pleasure of sharing a table with my opponent.  While he did not speak to me directly, he was highly interested in my campaign literature and made sure to put a copy in his paperwork as he left the event.  It is pretty persuasive stuff, so I hope he votes for me.  

It was great to get out and meet folks one on one and talk about the issues. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Two-Year Terms vs. Enduring Dominion

There is a ritual that occurs bi-annually where Legislators in the House of Representatives begin to assess their reputations and standing among their colleagues. It is an exercise in measuring their political capital and portends the coming of a great clash of egos known as Leadership Elections.

Just days after the general election, those who are victors and members of the majority party assemble themselves to select who shall be the Speaker of the House.  The ballot is secret.  Due to the high stakes and intense pressures of the vote, many Representatives consider the confidentiality of their decision one of their greatest privileges.

It is difficult to observe the Legislative body as it is subdivided into clans who support one individual over another.  The very essence of being a Representative requires understanding and an ability to work with others.  Rarely are policy decisions founded on the idea that a Legislator dislikes another or likes one colleague more than another.  Yet, this pettiness is the essence of Leadership Elections.

Utah has a unique history of electing Speakers of the House.  The tenure of Leadership via the election process used to follow a natural progression with an unspoken rule of limited terms.  It is a little publicized fact that every Speaker of the House to serve prior to 1998 (all 52 of them) served only one term.  Speaker Stephens was elected by the body in 1998 and served an unprecedented three consecutive terms through 2004. Other Speakers succeeding him served multiple terms as well.

It is difficult to explain this shift in tradition.  Regardless of the reasons, however, the impacts are significant.  Let's review a couple of the consequences associated with multi-term Speakers.

Consolidation of Power

The Speaker holds a great deal of control over who is appointed to serve as Committee Chairs.  Committee Chairs in turn have control over the agenda of their meetings and dictate which bills will or will not be heard.  It is a powerful position to hold.  Since the Chairperson serves at the pleasure of the Speaker, natural alliances form among appointed Chairpersons and the Speaker who appointed them.  Without the moderating effects of altruistic self-imposed term limits, this dynamic galvanizes a power structure within the body, for better or for worse, that is self-sustaining.  The entrenched power structure has the potential to stymie the policy making initiative of the body.  

Depletion of Talent

One of the benefits to the State that occurs with changes in Leadership is revitalization of the organs of government.  With new Speakers come new Committee Chairpersons.  The appointment of new Chairpersons allows institutional knowledge and memory to be accumulated by a new generation of leaders.  In essence, Speaker and Chairperson turnover replenishes and expands the State's reservoir of governing talent.  The monopoly grip of multi-term Speakers and Chairpersons does a disservice to this limited talent pool.      

My initial personal experience with leadership elections was quite unique.  Considering my upset victory at the general election, my vote was not part of the leadership election calculus until the day before they were held.  It was then that the surrogates and candidates flooded me with phone calls trying desperately to establish some rapport.  The most memorable calls were groveling approbations.  Such as "Jeremy you are super awesome!  Sorry I didn't help you in your campaign and you don't know who I am.  But hey, I am running for leadership. Vote for me!"

One of the key arguments made by surrogates for a candidate for Speaker that year was the concept of self-imposed term limits.  The facts of this once-prominent tradition in the House of Representatives were presented and it made a compelling case.

So does this "forgotten" tradition warrant consideration today?  Are the arguments for it just as compelling as they were then?  I believe so on both accounts.  A lofty institution such as the House of Representatives deserves a lofty tradition.  Restoring self-imposed term limits would bring great honor, respect, and vitality to the legislative body.     

Monday, August 27, 2012

DEFIANT: Ogden School District Education Revolution Succeeds

The Ogden School District is not new to controversy.  Last year saw a contentious contract dispute as administrators placed performance pay provisions in the new working agreement with teachers.  All the teachers except one agreed to the new contract.  Also, last year we saw Superintendent Zabriskie depart and Superintendent Smith step up to the helm of the district.  At that time, some in the community questioned his ability.

I had my first opportunity to meet Superintendent Smith when he invited to me to tour Dee Elementary school last year.  He was showcasing a new revolutionary approach OSD was taking to improve historically low student performance.  I was completely impressed by what I saw then.  You can read about what I saw during that tour.  At that time, I crossed my fingers and hoped that the risks the district were taking would pay dividends. 

As it turns out, they did, and huge.  Here are the results of the Ogden program:

Keep in mind that, last year, these three schools were ranked among the ten worst schools in the state.  I am proud to say that that onerous distinction now no longer applies.

Also, keep in mind that these amazing results have occurred in just one school year.  The program will be entering its second year this Fall.  The district plans to build on this foundation of success and student performance should continue its upward trajectory.  They are truly taking these schools from worst to first.

Another example of Ogden School District achievement is represented in their student graduation rates:

As you can see, Ogden High School ranks with Bountiful, Weber, and Fremont high schools.  Both Ben Lomond and Ogden High Schools beat their Salt Lake City counterparts (East, West, and Highland HS) despite the fact that they are demographically very similar.  

Ogden School District has made uncomfortable personnel changes, changed patterns in teaching, and adopted practices that are ultra-focused on getting results.  These results have not come easily, but the difference it is making is absolutely worth it. 

I want to thank Superintendent Smith, and members of the school board Joyce Wilson, Don Belnap, Jennifer Zundel, Steven Marker, Jeff Heiner, Shane Story, and Jeff Harris.  Their willingness to move mountains has made Ogden a better place.    

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Immigration: Work vs. Welfare

I recently was invited by Senator Aaron Osmond to present to delegates in his district on the immigration issue.  I cited a speech given my Milton Friedman in my opening remarks.  Here is video of that speech:

Please watch both of these videos.  I think they are very insightful.

The issue at hand on immigration comes down to the incentives that drive it.  Are immigrants coming to the United State for welfare?  Or for work?  The answer has far ranging consequences.

A recent study indicated that 43% of legal immigrants who had been here 20 years or more are currently recieving welfare benefits.  On the face of it, this statistic is disturbing.  After all, aren't immigrants supposed to come to better their lot in life through a strong work ethos and personal merit?  That is what we would all hope.

Here is a .pdf of my presentation to the group this morning:

   Immigration Presentation 2012

This issue is of such importance that it will dictate what kind of world we live in come the year 2040.  Immigrants and their posterity are poised to make huge gains in the share of our population over the next generation.  How we decide to handle the demographic realities will determine whether we live in an opportunity and economically mobile society like America circa 1900 or a caste system of haves and have-nots like Brazil 2010.  If we make no changes to our policies, it is my fear we will become the latter.   

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Despotism 101: Lessons from The Prince

I recently finished reading The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli which was written in the early 1500's.  It is a fascinating instruction manual on how to obtain and maintain political power in a world of feudal totalitarian states.  
For those of you who are ambitious and lust for power, here are the basic rules for aspiring despots to follow:

1.  Don't leave your army in the new territory you conquered.  That just makes the locals mad.  Rather, dispossess a few farmers of their land and give it to colonists from the homeland.  It costs less and the farmers whose land you took are so few and too poor after that to cause any trouble.

2. Good will of the inhabitants of your conquered territory is of the utmost importance.

3.  If you conquer a territory where the inhabitants speak another language than your own, expect trouble.

4.  When you first conquer a territory, make sure you liquidate the existing Prince and all his kin.  You don't need the old Prince or his angry family roaming around causing trouble for you. 

5.  Move to the territory you conquered.  Since you will have eliminated the old Prince, he won't be there anymore and the people will appreciate having their new ruler close by to be able to call upon him. This builds popularity.

6.  Become the protector of your weak territorial neighbors and lift them up.  But not too much.  You still need to keep them under your heel to prevent trouble. 

7.  Deferring war for peace only makes things worse for you.  Go to war.

8.  Never trust the nobles.  They are schemers. 

9.  Conquering Republics is tough business.  You need to (A) destroy it, (B) move and live there, or (C) install a puppet government and leave it alone.  Total destruction is the best and surest option.

10.  Use your officers to do the dirty work of oppressing resistance so you can remain popular.  When the public cries out against your officer's cruelty, quickly execute your officers so you can still look good.  

11.  Never forgive nor forget, your enemies don't.

12.  If you have to wound your enemy, it is better to annihilate him so he cannot someday return the favor. 

13.  If you are popular, still don't count on the people saving you from trouble unless they are constantly dependent upon you and the State for their well being.

14.  Don't use mercenaries to conquer new territory.  They are unfaithful, cowards, and expensive.

15.  Always be on a war footing.

16.  If you must be cruel, do it quickly and all at once so the memory of it fades quickly with the passage of time.

17.  Never, never, never meddle with the property or the women of your subjects.  It is bad form.

18.  It is better to be feared than loved.  But make sure to never be hated.

19.  It's ok for you to be dishonest because everyone else is. That is how you get ahead.  Just make sure you appear to be honest in all things. 

20.  Be good if you want, but know how to be evil if you have to be.

There is much more but these 20 rules should be a good start for you to begin your tyrannical rule over your new kingdom.  Make sure you follow these closely, otherwise your reign will be as short as it is violent. 

Happy Governing! 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Interim Session: August 2012

Interim Session was held this last week.  Here are a few items we discussed in our meetings.

Intergenerational Poverty Study

The Department of Workforce Services which is conducting a study came and testified to our committee.  This study is the result of a bill Senator Reid sponsored in the Senate and I sponsored in the House last January.   The purpose is to identify practices that are occurring at the state level that are keeping the children of welfare dependent parents on the welfare roles. 

The report we received is that the final numbers are being calculated and that we should receive a final report in the coming months once all the data is analyzed.  They estimate that the percentage of children staying in a welfare lifestyle is about 30%.  I look forward to the completed report.

Tax Prevention

Last year Senator Bramble sponsored SB129 which I sponsored in the House.  The bill reduced unemployment insurance taxes by about $24 Million by reducing the the maximum rate from 9.4% to 7.4%. 

At committee we heard from Bill Starks, head of the unemployment compensation fund, who is recommending again that we reduce the rate.  However, this time it is proposed we cap a variable portion of the rate at its current level and prevent it from raising a scheduled .1%.   So, this isn't really a "cut" as much as it is preventing a statutorily mandated increase.  It's a small amount but every little bit that government keeps in the hands of the taxpayers helps.


In our Political Subdivisions committee we heard testimony relating to the topic of privatizing government operations.  The folks testifying seemed to find humor in the setting as they said that the Hill has been discussing and researching privatization for over a decade with almost always the same result.  It appears that there are specific and historic "friction" points where compromise and change are shunned and prevent privatization from occurring at city, county, and state levels.  I am sure we will be discussing this some more.


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Longevity and Mortality: Utah's Ethnic Breakdown

I recently was appointed by Governor Herbert to serve on the Multicultural Commission.  The commission serves as a sounding board for Utah's ethnic communities and addresses issues that are unique to the diverse communities that are found in the state.

My first meeting was held a couple weeks ago  and I was very impressed with the quality of the presentations and the data shared.

One of the points of interest was a distinction made about life expectancy in relation to location.  Zip codes in Salt Lake County were analyized for average life expectancy.  Here are the results:

I thought this was fascinating.  WHERE you live can be correlated to HOW LONG you live.  Of course, we didn't delve into the causes of this in our meeting; but, this information does foster discussion.  It appears that the poorest areas of the county also have the lowest life expectancies and vice versa.

One of the points that we didn't discuss was fertility.  I would wager that the lowest life expectancy areas also have the highest fertility rates.  It would be ironic, but not necessarily surprising.  We'll see.

Another issue we discussed was health disparity or in other words the differences in health and demographics between ethnic groups.  Here is a .pdf of the presentation we heard on this issue:

MCC Data Presentation July 2012
The information is very insightful.  Further discussion needs to be had on root causes and the impact that education can make in helping some of these groups improve their health and well being.  

Monday, July 30, 2012

Worst Speeches: Foibles, Folly, and Fanatisicm

In light of my recent post on Cicero and public speaking, I thought I would share some video that would illustrate the importance of public speaking.

Queue the gag reel please:

And here is a must watch video.  If you haven't seen this already, this is the embodiment of what NEVER to do in a speech:

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Cicero: The Power of Speech and Ancient Wisdom

I recently finished reading Cicero's "On Oratory and Orators".  Written around 55 B.C, this book embodies much of the political wisdom of the era.  I found myself impressed with the scale of knowledge and wisdom demonstrated on a variety of topics.

While there are many tangents, the main thrust of the book is the discussion of public speaking.  I found this especially poignant since, as a public offical, I have occasions to speak and also to be spoken to in a public setting.

If you are a public official, public speaker or thinking of becoming either, here are some timeless nuggets of wisdom to live by:

"Men generally come to assume offices and the duties of public administration unarmed and defenseless; prepared with no science, nor any knowledge of business."
"For all the force and art of speaking must be employed in allaying or exciting the feelings of those who listen."

"To this must be added a certain portion of grace and wit, learning worthy of a well bred man, and quickness and brevity in replying as well as attacking, accompanied with a refined decorum and urbanity."

It is never better "to be fonder of argument than of truth."

"There can be no true merit is speaking, unless what is said is thoroughly understood by him who says it." (Emphasis added)

"For what savors so much of madness, as the empty sound of words, even the choicest and most elegant, when there is no sense or knowledge contained in them?"

"The orator therefore must take the most studious precaution not merely to satisfy those whom me must necessarily satisfy but to seem worth of admiration to those who are at liberty to judge disinterestedly."

"But the speaker who has no shame (as I see to be the case with many) I regards as deserving, not only of rebuke, but of personal castigation."  

"But if any fault is found in a speaker, there prevails forever, or at least for a very long time, a notion of his stupidity."

"He does not wish to appear so very wise among fools as that his audience should...feel uneasy that they themselves are but idiots."

"He must penetrate the inmost recesses of the mind of every class, age, rank, and ascertain the sentiments and notions of those before whom he is pleading."

"Take one time for premeditation and another for speaking."

"I must have a well cultivated genius, like a field not once plowed only, but again and again, with renewed and repeated tillage, that it may produce better and larger crops, and the cultivation here required is experience, attentive hearing of others, reading, and writing."

"For there is nothing...of more importance in speaking than that the hearer should be favorable to the speaker, and himself so strongly moved that he may be influenced more by impulse and excitement of mind than by judgement or reflection.  For mankind make far more determination through hatred, or love, or desire, or anger, or grief, or joy, or hope, or fear, or error, or some other affection of mind, than from regard to truth, or any settled maxim, or principle of right, or judicial form, or adherence to the laws."

"But the qualities that attract favor to an orator are a soft tone of voice, a countenance of expressive of modesty, a mild manner of speaking, so that if he attacks any one with severity, he may seem to do so unwillingly and from compulsion.  It is of peculiar advantage that indication of good-nature, of liberality, of gentleness, of piety, of grateful feelings, free from selfishness and avarice should appear in him; and everything that characterizes men of probity and humility, not acrimonious, nor pertinacious, nor litigious, nor harsh, and very much conciliates benevolence, and alleviates the affections from those in whom such qualities are not apparent...the contrary to these, therefore, are to be imputed to your opponents."

"Ignorant people can more easily blame what you say injudiciously, than praise you for what you discreetly leave unnoticed."

"For it is the part of a wise man to deliver his opinion on momentous affairs, and that of a man of integrity and eloquence, to be able to provide for other by his prudence, to confirm by his authority, and to persuade by his language."

"In speech, few notice the beginnings, but almost all the closes."

"It is wonderful, when there is a wide interval of distinction betwixt the learned and the illiterate in acting, how little difference there is in judging."

"Great care in managing the eyes is therefore necessary; for the appearance of the features is not to be too much varied, lest we fall into some absurdity or distortion."

"But in everything appertaining to action there is a certain force bestowed by nature herself; and it is by action accordingly that the illiterate, the vulgar, and even barbarians themselves are principally moved.  For words none but those who are associated in a participation of the same language; and sensible thoughts often escape the understandings of sensible men; but action, which by its own powers displays the movements of the soul, affects all mankind; for the minds of all men are excited by the same emotions which they recognize in others, and indicate in themselves by the same tokens."

ON VILIFYING THE RICH BY SAYING OF THEIR WEALTH: "That they are not the acquisitions of virtue, that they have been gained perhaps by vice and crime and that however honorable or imposing they may appear no merit was ever so high as the insolence of mankind and their contumelious disdain."

"At whom do they utter exclamations? - Him who speaks distinctly, explicitly, copiously, and luminously, both as to matter and words; who produces in his language a sort of rhythm and harmony; who speaks as I call it gracefully."
"As is this power, which, comprehending a knowledge of things, expresses the thoughts and purposes of the mind in such a manner, that it can impel the audience whithersoever it inclines its force and the greater is its influence, the more necessary it is that it should be united with probity and eminent judgement; for if we bestow the faculty of eloquence upon persons destitute of these virtues, we shall not make them orators, but give arms to madmen."

"...and if I had to choose one of the two, I should prefer uneloquent good sense to loquacious folly."

The book also contains some very insightful comments on the subjects of virtue, science, self improvement, and what I would term metaphysics:

"Virtue, which is ever and alone free, and which, though our bodies be captured in war, or bound with fetters, yet ought to maintain its rights and liberty inviolate of in all circumstances."

"I, for my part, imagined that virtue was instilled in mankind (if it can be instilled by any means) by instruction and persuasion, not by menaces, and force, and terror."

"The wise man seeks for honor, not for spoil, as the reward of virtue." - Roscius

"Diligence; a single virtue, in which all other virtues are comprehended."

"That all the learning of these liberal and polite departments of knowledge is linked together in one bond of union; for when the power of that reason, by which the causes and event of things are know, is once thoroughly discerned, a certain, wonderful agreement and harmony, as it were, in all sciences is discovered."

"Turn your thoughts now to the shape and figure of man; or even that of animals; you find no part of the body fashioned without some necessary use, and the whole frame perfected, as it were, by art, not by chance."

"But as in most things, so in language, nature herself has wonderfully contrived, that what carries in it the greatest utility, should have at the same time either the most dignity, or as it often happens, the most beauty."

"Oh, how fallacious are the hopes of mortals, how frail is our condition, and how insignificant all our ambitious efforts, which are often broken and thrown down in the middle of their course, and overwhelmed as it were in their voyage, even before they gain a sight of the harbor!"

"I am indeed of opinion that you, Crassus, received as well as your birth as your death from the peculiar appointment of divine providence, both on account of the distinction of your live and the season of your death."

"I esteem repose to be the most agreeable solace in the late stage of life."

"For he does not seem to me to be a free man who does not sometimes do nothing."

"Men envy chiefly their equals or inferiors when they perceive themselves left behind, and are mortified that the others have outstripped them."

"The master of the gladiators is now in the extremity of age, yet daily meditates upon the improvement of his science."

"But it is pleasant to be constantly learning if we wish to be thoroughly masters of anything."

I hope you have enjoyed and can use this rather lengthy recitation of quotes.  This represents about three months of reading.  May we learn from the wisdom of Cicero for the benefit of our fellow men.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Mr. Peterson's Endorsements: Primary Vote 2012

The primary vote is tomorrow and I encourage everyone to get out and vote regardless of who you support.

If you are undecided or having second thoughts about who you should vote for, here are my endorsements in the Republican Primary Race:


I have known Dan and seen his work at the State Legislature.  He is sharp, articulate, and experienced at handling difficult issues.  An example includes Utah's massive and toxic pension problem that Dan was able to reform successfully and keep Utah out of insolvency.  We need reformers like him in Washington. VOTE DAN LILJENQUIST!


John is another candidate that I have watched at the Capitol.  I respect John's tenacity for getting to the root of problems and making cogent and reasoned arguments for change.  He has served on the Executive Appropriations Committee (the architects of the entire State's $12.8 Billion budget) for years.  He is extremely conservative fiscally and besides being "Frugal Dougall" he has been nicknamed "Cut-Cut Dougall" by his fellow EAC members.  If you want to root out even more waste, fraud, and government misspending, VOTE DOUGALL.  He is more than just a CPA.


Sean is a good Republican and well respected in the community.  Alan Hall of Marketstar has given Sean his endorsement among many others. He is a high achiever with many professional recognitions to his name.  He is also family man.

Much has been said in the media lately about a SuperPAC smear campaign that has attempted soil Mr. Reyes reputation.  These ads are nothing more than a misleading character assassination of the worst sort.

When Mr. Reyes opponent Mr. Swallow was interviewed on the radio about the salaciousness of the  ads, Mr. Swallow's response was (paraphrasing): "Well, he hasn't refuted what is in those ads.  Oh, and by the way we are really proud of our 'clean' campaign."  When Mr. Reyes filed a defamatory claim in court over the ads, Mr. Swallows response on the radio was: "Mr. Reyes is really defaming me instead because lawsuits are a  protected form of speech and he can say whatever he wants in his suit."  Sigh...such a slippery and lawyerly explanation for NOT denouncing an obviously ugly, indecent, and toxic message .  No thank you.  VOTE SEAN REYES!


Brad is in the rare circumstance of being an incumbent in a Primary Race against another incumbent.  While both are good men, I prefer Brad's style and stance on many issues.  Brad is self employed and has worked in the real estate market for many years.  As such, he deeply understands capitalism and economics, subjects which many legislators could use some remedial education.  Brad has lived in Weber County his whole life and raised his family here.  When he is not working or legislating, you can find Brad riding horses and serving in ecclesiastical capacities.    VOTE BRAD GALVEZ!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Immigration: Inflammatory Solutions and Policy Error

Our President recently announced a “de facto amnesty” provision for young undocumented immigrants.  The provision would allow them to work legally as long as they passed a criminal background check and had graduated high school or served in the military.  While on the surface this act seems similar in spirit to what State legislation was trying to accomplish last year, the President’s actions are disappointing and inappropriate for a myriad of reasons. 

First, the way in which this provision is being enacted is completely subversive.  By using the power of the Executive Order instead of passing legislation, our president has completely circumvented the channels designed to give the law legitimacy.  Even Ronald Reagan’s “Amnesty“ of 1986 was really the Immigration Reform and Control Act which was passed by Congress on November 6 of that year.  Despite IRCA being a total policy failure, it was still debated and voted on by Congress as it should have been.  This is not the case with our current President’s new decree. 

Second, the timing of this announcement during an election year couldn’t possibly inspire more cynicism.  There appears to be in the media an open acknowledgement that this is being done almost exclusively for political gain.  Such disingenuous treatment of an important and volatile issue like immigration is frustratingly flippant and perhaps further illustrates the misguided mentality of those currently operating the Executive Branch.   

Yet, the most disheartening realization in this drama is that the sources of our immigration woes are not even being acknowledged by our President.  If we are to get serious as a nation about dealing with the immigration problem, we need to look at root causes.  What are these causes?  The answers lie in U.S. economic policy.  In the 90’s, we entered the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada.  Free trade should benefit everyone, or so we are told.  Unless, of course, a government distorts the market by providing subsidies to one product or another.  A good example is Japan who subsidized cars coming to America in the 90’s as we complained bitterly about it.  A better example though is ourselves.  As Japan was dumping cars in our market, we were subsidizing our corn production and flooding Mexico with it.

The result of this corn subsidy was another unintended consequence of seemingly well-intended government policies.  The ripple in the pond this time though was the massive dislocation of Mexican farmers.  Between 1996 and 2000, domestic corn prices in Mexico dropped 85%.  The farmers could not compete with U.S. corn and abandoned their farms in search of jobs.  These ex-farmers fled north as they followed job opportunities and prospects of survival in the United States.

Thus, we find ourselves in our current predicament.  We have incredibly cheap corn while simultaneously carrying the social costs of millions of undocumented immigrants who fled their homeland because we bankrupted them.  Rather than listen to rhetoric on both sides of the isle appeal to populist fervor on this issue, let’s have a real discussion about the proper role of government in subsidizing agriculture.  Reducing subsidies would return the Mexican laborer to his farm by his own volition.  Until we deal with our national economic policy and how it affects immigration, every other solution will prove to be divisive at worst and unsatisfying at best. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

2012 Legislator Ratings

The Salt Lake Tribute has created a composite ratings chart based on numbers issued from various special interest groups who track legislator's voting records.  This composite is designed to  attempt to illustrate the conservative vs. liberal spectrum that is represented in the Legislature via the voting record.

Here is the chart (click to enlarge):

There are a couple interesting take-away points from viewing this chart:

1.  The majority of the freshman class of 2010 (which includes myself) land between the 64%-80% conservative rating.

2.  10 of the 15 most conservative legislators are from Utah County. 

These kinds of charts make for interesting conversation but I don't give much heed to them.  However, I did hear of a legislator who supposedly voted intentionally to boost scorecard results.  If true, I find that to be a particularly jaded and self-serving approach to voting.  Yet, ironically, this  individual will not will be serving in 2013.  So, perhaps it is not so self-serving after all.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

VIDEO: Utah Highway Patrol DUI Blitz - Memorial Day 2012

The Utah Highway Patrol invited me to ride along with them on their Memorial Day Weekend DUI Blitz this year.  I accepted their offer.

I found the experience very enlightening.  I have to pay tribute to these men and women who execute the laws that we write and deal with many uncomfortable, unpleasant, and often dangerous situations.  It helped remind me of  the importance of writing meaningful and equitable laws.  The whims of the Legislature can have significant consequences for those who enforce our laws and those they are being enforced upon.

I created a video of my experience:


My ride began in the K-9 unit and after our first DUI bust, I was transferred to another vehicle to continue our evening's pursuit.  Thank you to the officers that put up with my longwindedness and persistent questions.  It was a fascinating experience and a great diversion that educated me at the same time.