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Lawmakers should concentrate on environment, education, taxes, and leave aside divisive culture wars issues.

Lawmakers should concentrate on environment, education, taxes, and leave aside divisive culture wars issues.

Lawmakers should concentrate on the environment, education, taxes, and leave aside divisive cultural wars issues.

(Rick Bowmer, AP photo)| AP photo)

During Thursday’s virtual special session of the Utah Legislature, the Utah State Capitol was shown in Salt Lake City.

The 2022 Utah Legislature regular session will begin Tuesday. Members of the Legislature may feel nagged by the sensation that they are, in Pogo’s words, possum-philosopher Pogo’s words. Faced with insurmountable challenges.

Some of those will provide opportunities to meddle in, pose and position on issues that are not relevant to them or anyone else. Other issues, such as the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic, are matters that state officials have long ago reached an agreement on. Their level of incompetenceYou should not be a burden to anyone.

There are issues that can’t be ignored, avoided, or pushed down the road. Some members of the legislative body have shown glimpses of understanding what they are, and what can be done to address them.

Because it is visible from space, the most obvious matter is before the state. It is not as clear as it was once.

House Speaker Brad Wilson is leading an increasing awareness that the Great Salt Lake has serious problems and needs our help. The loss of the shrinking body, which has been named after the largest city, county, and baseball team in the country, would be more than awkward. It would also affect the lake’s native species and extractive industries.

The westerly winds could expose the lake bed to toxic metals, brine shrimp and other waste. This would create a tsunami of pollution that would blow across the Wasatch Front into the skies and lungs of a community already plagued by bad air days, including a few times last summer. Worst in the World.

This situation also shows how everything in our natural environment and human environment is interconnected. The lake’s shrinkage is clearly linked to the state’s inefficient use of its limited supply. This bad habit should not be made worse if there are dams built on the Bear River, or any other actions that would reduce the flow.

The only threat to our air quality is not from the lake. Every aspect of our environment, from the increasing number of automobiles to the lack of up-to-date construction standards to the states’ irrational devotion toward the fossil fuel industries, conspires against the very quality life that has attracted so much to live here.

It is past time to study. It is time to take action. Water conservation over development. Regulations and active air quality monitoring. It is a simple recognition of the fact that fossil fuels are rapidly disappearing, and that Utah is a world leader in sustainable energy technologies, including wind, solar, and geothermal. This is a boon for our lungs, as well as our bank accounts.

The Legislature has demonstrated that it lacks the competence to deal with the pandemic. absurdly declaring an expiration dateIt gives itself the power of stopping people who know what they’re doing from doing it. However, lawmakers can help to clean up the mess and assist the culture that is in greatest need.

Coronavirus has ravaged our public education system, including traditional and charter schools, colleges, and K-12. Even though whole schools are not closed as a precaution, students and classrooms have been denied the education they need to be successful academically and emotionally.

A state as rich as ours with federal and state revenue should prioritize strengthening schools. It should also do many things that should have been done anyway. Smaller class sizes. Modern classrooms have better ventilation. In every building, there are nurses, counselors, and other professional support staff.

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The state’s fiscal situation has led many Utah politicians to call for a decrease in the already high income tax rate. This is the wrong tool for this job. These tax cuts are sensible when the economy is slow, but Utah’s economy is booming. Utah’s growing pains include water shortages, bad weather, and slammed school systems, all of which will require money.

If lawmakers insist on calling themselves tax-cutters, better channels include the removal of the grocery sales tax and the addition of an earned income tax credit for low to moderate-income working families. Both would help those who are most in need.

Legislative leaders need to be clear that they don’t have the time or energy to waste on issues that cause more heat than light. No symbolic or offensive message bills or resolutions should be passed. These could include attacks on critical race theory or library books, transgender Utahns being attacked, censoring library materials, or attempting to seize federal lands.

We urge the Legislature take advantage of Utah’s financial strength and make long-lasting investments for the benefit of Utahns.

Utah’s Legislature isn’t always known for its responsiveness and many of the actual decision-making takes places behind closed doors. It has created an online presence that anyone can access to monitor bills and listen in on hearings.

The first step to all of this is le.utah.gov.

These legislators are there to help you. Keep an eye out for them. Tell them what you think.

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