Sunday, July 29, 2012

UT League of Women Voters - Voters’ Guide

Fred C. Cox, Representing House District 32 and running to represent the newly drawn House District 30.

1.  What is crucial to creating a world-class education system in
Utah? How should it be financed?

It is crucial that Utah Public Education continue to do amazingly well with the resources we have using great teachers, innovation, and technology. Funding is already in place.

Education in Utah must be and is a priority. With approx. 600,000 K-12 students in Utah, It takes a lot of commitment. Out of the $5 Billion total "State" funds we invest approx. $2.5 Billion to K-12 Public Education and approx. $750 Million to Higher Education. Even with $13 Billion to work with including "State" funds and also funds for Federal Programs and others, we invest $3.7 Billion to K-12 Public Education and $1.4 Billion for Higher Education.

With the currently available resources, Utah does not have enough money for the demands for Public Education, Transportation, Water, Public Safety, Energy and others.  Raising Taxes isn't the answer as that can create bigger government and slower economic growth. 

Teachers often do not have the supplies they need, and in most cases deserve more pay for the critical work they do. Education Funding is too complex and funding doesn’t seem to make it to the classroom. I am working with others to help make that better.
2. What are the advantages/disadvantages of demanding that the US government turn over federal lands to Utah?

Under the US Constitution, Art. 1, Sec. 8, Clause 17, and the 10th amendment, the Federal Government can not exercise exclusive jurisdiction or own land in Utah, unless it is for Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings, and it was purchased by the Consent of the Utah Legislature.

When Utah became a state, the Federal Government committed to selling the unappropriated public lands, extinguishing the title, and providing 5% of the proceeds of the sales to the State School Trust Fund.
I believe it would be better to have the land transferred to Utah as opposed to requiring the Federal Government sell the land to developers or other countries like China. The Utah State Constitution is designed to protect the Public Land based on Article XVIII, Section 1, Forests to be preserved, and Article XX, Section 1, Land grants accepted on terms of trust.  

If the Federal Government sells or transfers any public land to Utah or others, 5% of the proceeds of the sales should go to the School Trust Fund. There is a gaping loophole in that process which I have been working on to close.

3. Given the Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act, what do you think the legislature needs to do next to ensure adequate health care for all Utahns?

The Supreme Court could not agree that Congress has the constitutional power to require individuals to purchase their specified health care insurance, but that Congress can tax us. I will work to continue to exclude Utah from this expansion of Federal intervention into our lives.

Anything Utah can do to encourage free market insurance competition across state lines and to remove pre-existing conditions limitations would be helpful.

Removing the requirement of non-emergency care to be provided at emergency rooms and encouraging limitation of liability clauses and non-binding mediation alternative dispute resolutions will help lower the costs associated with medical care and will stop the defensive care practices helping fuel the upward spiral of costs.

Health Savings Accounts should be encouraged, along with the inventive methods to help provide Autism medical care that passed this last session.
4. What things do you consider the most important to include in a Utah law on immigration?

Utah has a unique E-Verify law for businesses having 15 employees or more. Because of Utah laws passed in 2011, this law is currently scheduled to be sunsetted. The law should not be sunsetted, but should be clarified, requiring businesses and public entities in their dealings with the Commerce Department to state that they are or not complying with the law. Businesses would either then comply with the law, or acknowledge in writing they are not complying with the law. I believe it would be few that would knowingly state they were complying when they were not. For next year, I have a bill drafted to keep and improve this law.

If we are going to have a line for people to come to this country, you can't reward those that bypass the line. They need to be sent to the back of the line. That doesn't mean you should stop treating them like people. I am in favor of simplifying and fixing legal immigration.
5. What is the single most important thing the legislature can do to improve air quality?
We don't need to limit the amount of carbon dioxide being produced, nor limit the use of coal so that power costs skyrocket.

I agreed with and promoted Rep. Arent's Air Quality Task Force proposal. How can we help decrease air pollution until we can agree on what is causing it?
We all want clean air, water, and land. We can start by reducing energy use by adopting the current energy building code for new residential buildings. I ran a bill this last session attempting to do exactly that, which was endorsed by the Salt Lake Tribune and many other groups and was the reason why Solar Day Salt Lake awarded me the "Greenest Republican in the State".  At this point, adoption is appearing to pass this next year.

We can encourage, and as a state, transition to natural gas powered cars and trucks. We can tie any economic development money to responsible clean energy improvements. We can encourage ground based heat pump cooling and heating systems, along with renewable energy.

This last year, Utah created a method for companies that want to purchase "clean" energy directly, to do so without raising the cost of power to the remaining users.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Constitutional Carry thoughts

Utah Constitution:
Article I, Section 6. [Right to bear arms.]
The individual right of the people to keep and bear arms for security and defense of self, family, others, property, or the state, as well as for other lawful purposes shall not be infringed; but nothing herein shall prevent the Legislature from defining the lawful use of arms.

Utah is an open carry state, with very few exceptions. One is if you are going to hide that you are carrying a gun you need a background check. Most people I have spoken to, and there are exceptions, like our Utah concealed carry permit system. As someone torn on the issue, I included a question about constitutional carry on the questionnaire I sent out the beginning of this year's session. Most residents in my area responded that they like the concealed carry permit for those that want to conceal that they are carrying.

I do believe we need to fix the problem about the U of U and others hassling an open carry. A bill to help solve that was amended and died this last session. I spoke on the floor of the house to promote passage of the bill, quoting the Utah Constitution as to why the bill should pass, and mentioning that I knew one of those killed at Trolley Square. I voted against weakening the bill, and voted for passage, hoping there would be a way to make the bill better, or that it would improve what we have now. The Representative running against me this fall voted opposite from me on both cases.

Update: The new proposed bill is at:

In any version of any of the first  proposed "2nd Amendments", (below) tell me where it says that you have a right to conceal that you are armed with a handgun? You have a better defined right of protection under the Utah State constitution. 

What we got was this,US Constitution Amendment II
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

I have asked Legislative Research to verify that the current Utah Concealed Firearm Permit is constitutional under both the US and the Utah Constitution. If I lose that argument, I will change my stand. [they came back and said our CFP and Utah Constitution were fine OK, based on the last couple of SCOTUS rulings]

And for those that do not believe there should be any limits or permits for any weapon, arm, or armament, consider this list: 

Do you really think the founders planned on your neighbor having a satellite deployed nuclear missile device with launching app for their Iphone?

On the other hand, a simple semi-automatic rifle or hand gun does require that you pull the trigger each time you wish to shoot. They should not be banned, nor called assault weapons. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Mark Crockett for Salt Lake County Mayor

I like and respect Ben McAdams, but I do believe that Mark Crockett has the plan and skills to do what I would like to see to help the County. I was impressed with the answers Mark had during the debates and the election thus far.

I am glad there are two good choices for Salt Lake County Mayor and if Ben loses, I hope I still get to work with Senator McAdams. He was elected for four years and has two more. I still need to win this fall. And yes, I do believe you can like and respect someone even if you don't agree with them all the time.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

July 4th 1776

In April of 1775 the fighting had started, including Paul Revere's ride and the Battles of Lexington and Concord. It wasn't until 1781 when the fighting ended and 1783 when the peace treaty was signed.

So why celebrate July 4th, 1776 as Independence Day?

The Declaration of Independence was a declaration adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, which announced that the thirteen American colonies, then at war with Great Britain, regarded themselves as independent states, and no longer a part of the British Empire. The vote was a passed by the Continental Congress 12, 0, 1, a couple of days before.

The Declaration starts with these statements:

"In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, ...."

The reasons for the declaration are then carefully stated and it concludes with this:

"We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor."

It is for this reason we celebrate the 4th of July. A new flag with white stars in blue with red and white stripes would be designed in 1777. The Constitution would be adopted in 1787. We should not forget the declaration of independence from July 4th, 1776 and those that risked all to create this country. Many have fought for, and do still fight for these truths and freedoms.

May we all continue to do so is my hope.

Video Link:

The Text of the Declaration: