Short takes
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Cache County foot-dragging • The people who run Cache County in northern Utah are dragging their feet, their fingers and their teeth, trying to stop state and federal environmental standards from forcing them to do a simple thing that counties along the Wasatch Front have done for 30 years: Require regular emissions tests of motor vehicles. A rule that makes such a test a precondition of renewing a vehicle license is a basic sign of urbanization. As in the Salt Lake Valley, Cache Valley's recurrent problems with certain forms of air pollution stem from the juxtaposition of modern machines with ancient topographies. Pollution gets trapped and raised to unhealthy levels, mostly during the winter. An emission testing regime is simple, democratic and not that expensive. The county should get with the program.

One way to repay • The humanity of those locked up in our prisons should never be forgotten. That's true about the way we treat them, and about the way they should be allowed to participate in making the world a better place. A bill before the Utah Legislature would place in the law a current practice of the Department of Corrections that allows prison inmates to volunteer to be organ donors should they die in prison. Each year, some 15 of them in Utah do, and there is no reason not to institutionalize the idea that they, like the rest of us, can make a positive difference beyond the grave. Organs donated by inmates would be subject to the same quality screening as all other hearts, kidneys and corneas. And there is nothing coercive about it. The bill, which passed the House last year, should become law.

Experience down the drain • The Utah Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission seems to be a spot reserved for people who don't know anything about what they are regulating. For years, the body was dominated, if not solely populated, by people who do not touch the stuff. As of this week, the membership became tied at three who are known to imbibe and three who say they do not. The tie-breaker, who just happens to abstain, would and should be Francine Giani, the secretary of the Utah Department of Commerce and formerly the interim executive director of the state's liquor monopoly. But her nomination, by Gov. Gary Herbert, has been blocked by Senate leaders. Senators officially say the appointment raises separation-of-powers issues, but there are also reports that it is just nasty political payback by senators who are steamed at Herbert for other reasons. Giani's management experience in general, and her efforts to clean up the scandal-plagued DABC in particular, recommend her to the post. The Senate is wrong to block the nomination.