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Adopting the facts • There are many situations where a child may only have one legal parent, but lives a life where she is loved and cared for by two parents. This is the situation that Utah state Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck, a Salt Lake City Democrat, is trying to push state law to catch up with. Her HB214 would make it possible for the unmarried or same-sex partner of a child's parent to formalize the relationship by also becoming the child's adoptive parent. Making the factual relationship a legal one protects the relationship and helps to guard the child's emotional and financial future should anything happen to the original parent. It's simple human decency, but Chavez-Houck has tried unsuccessfully to get the bill passed in each of the last five years. This time, it should be approved.
No boondoggle tax • A Utah Senate committee Monday wisely did absolutely nothing with SB154, measure that would have boosted the water bill of every state resident in the service of a proposed $1 billion boondoggle that should have been abandoned a long time ago. Sen. Scott Jenkins, R-Plain City, wanted to raise $24 million a year through a sales tax on water bills, applying the money to a state revolving fund that would be tapped to help pay for the long-proposed Lake Powell Pipeline. That project, envisioned as a way to keep St. George in front lawns and golf courses by moving water all the way from Lake Powell, makes no sense. And it certainly shouldn't be funded with a regressive tax paid by people who would see no benefit from the giant straw in the desert.
Breathless rally • "Gov. Herbert, We Cannot Breathe" is the mantra of a new group of citizens, 150 of whom gathered at Capitol Hill Wednesday to bring more attention to the growing problem of air pollution in Utah. Air quality has been especially bad during January, and this week has brought another multiday period of unhealthy air. While it's true that individual Utahns should all drive less to help improve the situation, it's also true that leaders in the Beehive State have done little to force big polluting industries to clean up their act. Suggestions such as putting a fee on any increase in pollutants by industry and using that money to make mass transit cheaper or free during wintertime inversions should be considered by Gov. Gary Herbert and his environmental advisers and regulators. Raising the gas tax is another way to discourage unnecessary driving. Doing nothing and hoping weather changes clear out the bad air is no solution.