Monday, February 18, 2008

The Utah Legislature

On Saturday Morning I was fortunate enough in my capacity as a Legislative Chair here in Utah to hear what our Legislators were doing with their time up on Capitol Hill. I know that I wouldn't want this job, because it takes so much time out of your life not only while the Legislature is in session, but because it takes so much time out of your life while the Legislature is out of session. Add in the paltry pay, and it takes some truly dedicated public servants to fill these positions. I know several closely, and it only reinforces that opinion, even though there are some people who I know who think that some of them (especially my Legislator) are too liberal. Of course, one of those people thinks that I'm a socialist, so that's just how far right they are.
Anyway, we met with them for a report on what was happening and for a brief Q & A session. One thing that is certain is that at least among those who are very active, illegal immigration is so important of an issue that it's just sad. Representative Steven Sandstrom mentioned that in Orem City over the past 2 years there had been 4 homicides. That's not too shabby in a city of nearly 100,000 people. Of those 4, 3 were committed by illegal immigrants. That is such a ridiculously small sample size that it only served to polarize the debate further. Give me all the murders in the state of Utah and tell me what percentage was by illegal immigrants, that's a better indicator. His sample was the rough equivalent of me saying that 3 out of 4 loads of laundry my wife did over the past week were white. An idiot would assume that most of our clothes are white, however if you were to look at a good sample size, you would see that we have more like 60/40 colored/whites. Nevertheless, it told those who hate Mexicans exactly what they wanted to hear: illegals are evil and they should be taken care of post haste.
They also mentioned some non-illegal immigrant information, things like the state of I-15 reconstruction, the on-again/off-again causeway across Utah Lake, the hopeful transformation of Utah Lake from a festering bowl of dog snot to an actual nice lake, future water usage, and all sorts of other important topics. Of course, they did get some shots taken at them, notably by a Leg Chair who wants to know why Utah's roads stink as bad as they do considering how much we spend on them. They said that things actually aren't bad, at least on the state maintained roads. In general, I'd say they're right. We've famously got two seasons in Utah: winter and construction. There are some roads that aren't in good shape (University Parkway between Geneva Road and 200 West in Orem), but that has to do with the UDOT salt depository being at one end of the road and all the trucks coming out from there. That combined with our bad winters equals a terrible road. Of course, municipalities can do what they want with their roads, and where he's from (Payson) has some of the worst in the State. They could pass a law saying "no bad roads" but it would be as effective as some of their ridiculous resolutions (we resolve that violence in video games is bad, etc). That is the one big problem I have with them are these resolutions that don't do anything to further the state but to express an opinion. These are often passed at the expense of legitimate bills that could help the state out.

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