Monthly Archives: February 2009

Legislative Session

We’re now mid-session with the Utah State Legislature and, while many things have been settled, there are still many matters left to be decided.

Settled is the gay rights debate.  Settled is the budget controversy.  Remaining are ethics and health care reforms, liquor laws, illegal immigration, the Western Climate Initiative, and, what’s known as the PTA bill.

I think we’ve turned a corner on ethics reform.  The biggest hurdle has been to convince legislators that there’s a huge perception problem.  For the last few years, they’ve settled on the idea that isolated problems have arisen and have been addressed.  But what they failed to fully comprehend is the public’s perceptions of their dealings.  In fact, they’d been responding in the absolute opposite, and wrong, way – the more they get criticized the more they’ve been inclined to think that doing something was an admission of guilt – and then they get themselves caught in a vicious public relations cycle.  The less they do about it, the more they get criticized, the more they get criticized, the less they do about it. read more

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What is Appropriate in the Public Square?

Early in my political career I worked for a great man…a congressman from California with quite a bit of seniority. He was the ranking member of the House Health and Environment Subcommittee and second ranking member on the full House Energy and Commerce Committee. He was a big shot.

In those days, the mid to late 80’s, Congress faced their initial responses to the AIDS epidemic. My boss, always the conservative, viewed HIV and AIDS as a sexually transmitted disease. Our opponents always viewed the matter as a civil rights issue given that nearly 100% of all cases of HIV were occurring within the gay community. read more

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