Legislators meddling • The Utah Legislature says it respects the rights of Utahns to make their own decisions and take the consequences. But privacy rights apparently are less important for people whose views and behavior don't fit what legislators condone, especially women who decide to have an abortion – their right under the Constitution. Republican legislators go out of their way to make that decision as difficult and traumatic as possible. Their latest effort is SB60, which passed the Senate on a straight party-line vote. It would require the state to ask women receiving abortions about their race or ethnicity, the state of the pregnancy and their reason for having an abortion. Sponsoring Sen. Margaret Dayton, R-Orem, said some data is already collected, but she wants to put the requirement into law. She says she might use the data to try to further restrict abortions in Utah, which already has the strictest in the country. Give it a rest, senator.
Drum and feather • A University of Utah football or basketball game isn't a place of reverence. But most residents of the second-most-religious state in the country understand that some symbols deserve to be revered because of their importance to a particular group. The university long ago chose the Ute tribe and its symbols to represent it. It was a poor choice. The Ute name and the tribe's sacred drum and feathers adorn all kinds of U. of U. memorabilia. And, although they don't like it, tribal leaders are willing to live with it if the U. is willing to do some things for tribal members. That's reasonable. The U. should offer full-ride scholarships to Utes, provide courses that help preserve their culture, and counseling to help Ute students succeed. It's little enough in exchange for turning sacred objects into school traditions.
Helping homeowners • The Legislature should pass HB202, a bill designed to help bring Utah homeowners a building code that ensures they will get a better-built home when they buy from Utah builders. The Legislature has refused for seven years to update Utah's energy-conservation building code. Seven years. That is nothing short of irresponsible. HB202 would not bring Utah completely up to date, but it would require better duct tightness, testing requirements and better testing and inspection. For the few hundred dollars increase in the price of a house, owners would get lower energy bills and more comfortable homes.