To the editor:
There is an old adage that goes like this: “No one’s rights are safe when the Legislature is in session.” This certainly applies to Utah’s recent legislative session. Our illustrious legislators produced so many ridiculous laws; space doesn’t allow me to reiterate them all, so I will list the most asinine.
• HB 187 by John Mathis, R-Vernal, would make it a crime to take pictures of animal abuse or other violations on farms and processing plants. This bill reflects the negative effects lobbyists have on the legislative process. AGPAC made a major contribution to Mathis. Fifty million people get sick from tainted food each year. This bill would make it very difficult for whistle-blowers to report extreme animal abuse and processing violations.
• SB 208 Health Care Compact: This bill is a thinly veiled attempt to destroy Medicare in Utah. It would basically turn Medicare over to the state. Given the state’s past attempts to run the Liquor Commission, I suspect they would do little better administering Medicare, which scares the h--- out of me since I, like many seniors, rely heavily on Medicare.
These are only a few of the ludicrous bills passed by our Legislature. There are many more dealing with such issues as eliminating sex education in our schools and allocating $750,000 for bounties to eradicate coyotes to please hunters and ranchers who run sheep on public lands. The stated purpose of this one is to increase our deer herd. Perhaps our legislators should read the many studies discounting the effect of coyotes on deer herd numbers. If you want to see what kills deer, you should count the dead deer in Sardine Canyon killed by speeding cars. This bill would encourage every wanna-be coyote hunter and trapper to head for the hills to get their share of the blood money. The end result will be more snares and indiscriminate killing of pets and non-targeted animals. Like most animals, coyotes serve a purpose in the scheme of things, by controlling the population of mice and other vermin. Besides, they have a right to life also.
Finally, the crowning glory of legislative stupidity is the bills seeking to take ownership of federal land and flirt with secession. I really don’t believe the state has the resources to manage so many acres of wild land, and I suspect the intended result is to make it easier to rape and plunder public lands.
Why, you ask, does our Legislature pass such ridiculous laws? One reason is Utah’s one-party system. Since there is no opposition to speak of in the state Legislature, there is no reason for lawmakers to show any restraint or intelligence.