Good choices • Judging by their resumes, the six people Gov. Gary Herbert appointed to the Prison Relocation and Development Authority board are a diverse, knowledgeable and highly qualified group. His choice of Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams, a Democrat, is especially welcome, given the impact the board's decisions on whether and how to move the state prison will have on the county and its residents, and the fact that all the legislators who will take seats on the board are Republicans. It's too bad that, while Herbert did a commendable job of choosing board members who will bring differing perspectives to the discussion, leaders of the Legislature completely discounted the need to even appear objective. But, when one party so dominates politics in the Beehive State, what's the point?
Moderation on the Hill • Moderation in all things is a tenet of a number of religions, including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. So it's good to see a slight shift to center in the political ideology of the members of the Utah Legislature, a majority of whom are Mormon. The ultraconservative bent of the past decade was somewhat moderated this year when a number of far-right House and Senate members left their seats or were not re-elected. Most Utahns are probably glad to see less bombast, fewer time-wasting "message" bills and more productivity from their representatives. Now if only the same could be said about Congress.
Helping whom? • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints owns Deseret Industries, an outlet for previously owned clothing and household items that provides jobs for many people, including inexperienced workers and people with physical and mental disabilities. The DI, as most Utahns call it, is a great idea and a service for people with usable items to donate and others looking for low prices on used goods that still have some life left. But the real purpose of the enterprise is to help people by hiring those who might have trouble finding work. That's why it's disappointing that the church's business arm has decided to cut DI employees' hours so it won't come under the Affordable Care Act's requirement that businesses with 50 or more workers provide them health insurance. Granite School District has done the same thing. If Gov. Gary Herbert decides to reject the federal government's offer to pay most of the cost for expanding Medicaid for low-income workers, many of these DI employees will be left without health care, even as many other Americans benefit from the ACA.