Friday, October 10, 2003

Political Action Committees Favoring Legacy Highway

In response to a recent inquiry regarding Political Action Committees identified as being Pro Legacy Highway:
Here are 3:
Multiple Access Conservation Coalition

Fed Up! Utah

Transportation Construction Industries Political Action

You can find Financial Disclosure information by using the search screen at
State of Utah - Candidate Reporting System

comments or questions [] 4:10:35 PM

Leavitt urges census deadline extension

After the Census Bureau revealed an error in counting last week which left Utah 80 people shy of a 4th Congressional seat, Governor Leavitt pushed for a deadline extension on a program that allows states and communities to challenge the 2000 results.

STLtoday - News - Nation

comments or questions [] 4:10:05 PM

Parolee Tale Part II

Maine murder suspect Edward Hackett told a Utah parole board that he was worried he might commit new crimes if he wasn't required to get therapy. The Maine Department of Corrections will not reveal whether Hacket received any such therapy, citing confidentiality laws.

Suspect sought structured parole

comments or questions [] 4:09:37 PM

Another Perspective on Utah's Drive For Another House Seat

Apparently politicians in that state, assuming it actually is a state, will go to any lengths to find a job in this case, admittedly, a well-paying one far from Utah

Wilmington Star-News

comments or questions [] 4:09:11 PM

Tragedy and a 50-state Compact

Eleven years ago Edward Hackett incarcerated in Utah State Prison for kidnapping. Earlier this year he was released on parole. Thanks to a 50-state compact which allows parolees to move from state to state, Hackett returned to live with his parents in Vassalboro Maine, with the approval of Maine authorities.
Hackett entered a Waterville (Me.) District Court this week to answer chages of the kidnapping and murder of a 21 year old Colby College student. He allegedly abducted the girl in mid September from a College parking lot, drove about a mile, then beat and strangled her.

Bangor Daily News

comments or questions [] 4:08:32 PM

Utah Educational Savings Plan (529) Rated one of the Best

A recent Money article gave high marks to the Utah version of the 529 plan. The Federal 529 plan rules allow anyone at any income level to put away money tax-free for any child for college.
But more and more states are adding fees and restrictive tax rules. States have turned to using brokers and gimmicks which drive up investor expense. Utah however, hasa direct-sell plan featuring low-cost Vanguard funds, with low expense ratio range from 0 to .44 percent.

UESP - Utah Educational Savings Plan

comments or questions [] 4:07:46 PM

  Monday, September 29, 2003

Utah Gets a D-Minus in Campaign Fund Disclosure

According to a new report from the Campaign Disclosure Project, Utah is near the bottom of the pack when it comes to finding out where campaign dollars are coming from. The organization singled out Utah's disclosure laws as being particularly weak. Last minute contributions, for example, do not have to be disclosed prior to an election.
Utah got better marks (a top 20 ranking) for access to contributor information.

Grading State Disclosure - Utah
Utah State Elections Office

comments or questions [] 4:46:19 PM

Government Agency Spotlight: Utah Sentencing Commission

The Utah Sentencing Commission is a body created by the legislature and charged with establishing sentence guidelines and developing policy recommendations regarding sentencing and release of adult and juvenile offenders.
The commission has 27 members representing the legal community, law enforcement, treatment specialists, ethnic minorities, correction officials, and parole authorities.
Recent topics of interest to the Commission have been the recently passed initiative to revise the Forfeiture law, and the elimination of the firing squad in Utah.

Sentencing Frequently Asked Questions

comments or questions [] 4:45:38 PM

Unmarried and Singles Week? Not in Utah
A proclamation proposed by Unmarried America to recognize the rights of Unmarried and Single Americans the third week in September has been rejected by the State of Utah, although accepted by Salt Lake Mayor Rocky Anderson. According to a press release from the group, Governor Mike Leavitt's spokesperson said such a proclamation would not be consistent with the Governor's policy promoting marriage.
comments or questions [] 4:45:05 PM

  Friday, September 12, 2003

California Deal May Preserve Utah's Water

Three bills approved by the California Legislature would implement an agreement among California's major water agencies to conserve water. The impact of these bills on Utah may be profound in terms of its own water needs. (Newsday)
However one of the agencies (Imperial Valley) sent troubling signals (Casper Star Tribune)

California Bills 277, 317, 654

comments or questions [] 1:03:16 PM

Sentencing Commission Gets OK from LDS Church to Nix Firing Squad

The Utah Sentencing Commission recently asked the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for their support of efforts to eliminate the firing squad as a death penalty option. Sentencing Commission members were concerned that views of some Mormons about blood atonement would cause opposition to the elimination of the option.

Salt Lake Tribune
Death Penalty Information Center

comments or questions [] 1:02:42 PM

More IT Employees in Utah?

A recent press release from the Utah Information Technology Association (UITA) announces an increase in IT employment from 1999 to 2002 of 34%.
Statistics from the Department of Workforce Services indicate a total workforce in the "Information" sector of 31,004 in 2002 (preliminary), actually a slight decrease from the 32,861 of 1999. According to this information, "Information" employment peaked at 35,932 in 2000. At least according to these tables. Another information sheet from DWS gives a 2002 first quarter figure of 32,580, still down from the 35,054 of first quarter 2001.

UITA Press Release

comments or questions [] 1:02:07 PM

  Monday, August 25, 2003

Utah in Top 10: Prostate Cancer Incidence Rate

According to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition, Utah ranks in the top 10 in incidence rate of Prostate Cancer 1995- 1999 as reported by the American Cancer Society.

National Prostate Cancer Coalition

comments or questions [] 11:37:43 AM

  Friday, August 15, 2003

Weblog Mirror or questions [] 1:03:53 PM

Utah Among States Loosening TIF Restrictions

Good Jobs First, a group that claims to provide "timely and accurate information to the public, media, public officials, and economic development professionals on best practices in state and local job subsidies", has issued a report called "Straying from Good Intentions". The report says that some states, including Utah, have made legislative changes to Tax Incentive Finance Programs and enterprise zones that loosen the povery criteria, diminishing the benefits to impoverished areas.
According to the report, Utah no longer requires blight for economic development projects funded by TIF. (Page 22 of the pdf report)
GJF: Straying From Good Intentions

comments or questions [] 1:03:16 PM

  Friday, August 08, 2003

Utah Gets $22 million from Federal Lands

States are entitled to 50% of proceeds from royalties, rents, bonuses, and other revenues accrued from federal land leaseholders. Utah's share this year is $22 million. Wyoming received over half the total amount available ($262 million). The US Minerals Management Service makes the distribution
Minerals Management Service

comments or questions [] 5:57:24 PM

City Creek among Contaminated Urban Rivers to Receive Federal Help

The US Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers have added City Creek in Salt Lake City to their list of contaminated rivers set to receive federal cleanup aid. As a pilot project, the effort will receive $50,000 from EPA.
EPA Press Release

comments or questions [] 5:56:25 PM

Utah's Prison Population Up 4.3%

Utah's prison population stood at 5567 at the end of 2002, up from 5339 at the end of 2001. 5461 of those have been sentenced, and 377 are female. Utah's correction facilities are 97% full. Nationally, most sentenced prisoners in state facilities are in there for Violent Offenses (596,100), followed by Drug Offenses (246,100), and Property Offenses (233,000)
Prisoners in 2002

comments or questions [] 5:55:51 PM

  Monday, July 28, 2003

Government Agency Spotlight: Pete Suazo Athletic Commission

A recent General Accounting Office report found that boxing is regulated on a state-by-state basis, which often results in inconsistent enforcement. A recent match in Cedar City resulted in the death of a 35-year old boxer who had been defeated 25 consecutive times over a 3 year period. According to the GAO, boxing is the only major professional sport in the country without central regulation.
Pete Suazo Athletic Commission is a part of the Utah Department of Commerce. The members of the five-member commission are not listed on the Commission's website.

Administrative Rules

Pete Suazo Athletic Commission Site

comments or questions [] 3:38:23 PM

  Friday, July 18, 2003

Tolls On Utah's Interstates?

Imposing tolls on traditionally free Interstate Highways may be one answer to the budget crunch for some states. And Utah's Congressman Robert Bennett weighed in on the issue: "Most large cities desperately need new and improved highways to deal with dramatic increases in traffic that have occurred in recent years. One alternative states might explore is the implementation of modernized toll lanes."

The Bond Buyer Online: Fee- Based Registration Required

comments or questions [] 12:01:57 PM

Utah Schools and NAEP 2002 Writing Assessment

The National Center for Education Statistics has released state results for Writing as part of the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
For Grade 4, Utah ranks 34th in writing scores. and for Grade 8, 33rd. (Several states were not included in the Grade 8 assessment because they did not meet requirements for participation.
NAEP Writing -- State results for the 2002 writing assessment

comments or questions [] 12:01:15 PM

  Thursday, July 10, 2003

Utah Government Information Mirror or questions [] 11:33:56 AM

New Population Estimates from Census Bureau

New City and Town Population Estimates released by the US Census Bureau have the following Utah-related nuggets:
1) Salt Lake City is ranked 116th in the nation in population with a 2002 population estimate of 181,266 down from the 181,509 estimate in 2001. It ranked 176 in percentage with a decline of .1 percent.
2) West Valley City is now number 212, with a 2002 estimate of 111,254, up from the 2001 estimate of 110,351. The city also ranked 112 in size of percentage increase in cities over 100,000 with a .8 percent increase.
3) Provo is now ranked 223, but it too showed a decrease in the 2002 estimate at 105,170 down from 105,495 the previous year. Provo was 193 in percentage size change, down .3 percent.

City & Town Population Estimates-U.S. Census Bureau

comments or questions [] 11:32:47 AM

Deficient Bridges

Each year, the Federal Highway Administration produces a report on deficient bridges across the country - bridges that do not meet a rather complicated series of criteria.FHWA Bridge Programs Deficient Bridges by State and Highway System
In 2002, Utah had a total of 2781 bridges. Of these, 546 were labeled deficient.

comments or questions [] 11:32:18 AM

Salt Lake County Tops List of Toxic Releases

The EPA has released the 2001 Toxic Release Index. The release shows that Salt Lake County with 60 Facilities releasing toxic chemicals, emitted nearly 732 million pounds of these chemicals into the air and water.
Top 10 Counties with Largest TRI ON-Site nad Off-site Releases, All Industries, 2001
Nearly 696 million pounds of these chemicals belonged to the Kennecott Utah Copper Mine Concentrators and Power Plant in Copperton.
Top 10 Facilities with Largest Total On-site and Off-site Releases, All Industries, 2001
Copper compounds led the list of chemicals released, with a United States total of over a billion pounds.
Top 20 Chemicals with Largest TRI ON-site and Off-site Releases, All Industries, 2001
The top states for toxic chemical emissions are Arizona, Nevada, and Utah.
TRI On-site and Off-site Releases by State 2001
Full EPA Report

comments or questions [] 11:31:01 AM

  Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Government Agency Spotlight: Information Technology Services

Information Technology Services
: State Government; division of the Department of Administrative Services; provides communication and technology support to state government, as well as county and local governmental entities. (UCA 63A-6-103)
Mission, etc.:
Enabling Legislation:  Utah Code 63A-6-101 - 107
Funding: Cost recovery through fees.
Governance:  63A-6-105; A rate committee sets service fees. A director is appointed by the Executive Director of the Department of Administrative Services
 Legislative Audits and Other Reports: 
  2003 (Review)
  1996 (Performance Audit)

comments or questions [] 5:23:32 PM