1.Number of Candidate Filings Normal, Except for State School Board
The Sutherland Institute has issued a data set confirming that 2008 candidate-filing numbers are in line with past election years. A notable exception is the Utah State Board of Education, which saw filings more than double.
“We’ve heard a lot about the number of candidates filing and about how many seats are challenged this year,” stated Lyall Swim, director of operations for the Institute. “So we looked at the data and found that this year’s activity mirrors 2006. In fact, House candidate filings are exactly the same, 248, as in 2006.”
Swim noted that several groups, like Utahns for Public Schools, have been “recruiting” candidates and trying to increase turnout at party caucus meetings, but these efforts have done little to change candidate involvement, despite media claims.
“While those complaining about our state legislators have gotten a lot of attention, the level of filing activity would indicate that most legislators have done a good job representing the interests of their districts. In fact, it looks like people are most upset with the lack of innovation and leadership at the state board of education level versus real dissatisfaction with their state legislators,” concluded Swim.
2.Sutherland-Supported Bills Receive Governor’s Signature
Five Sutherland-supported bills are now laws after receiving Governor Huntsman’s final approval earlier this week. The signed legislation includes:
- 6SSB 38: Transparency in Government Finance, which allows citizens online access to see how state government is spending their tax dollars
- HB 256: Criminal Penalties Amendments – Including Jessica’s Law, which increases the penalties for heinous child sex offenses
- SB 242: Law Enforcement Tracking of Domestic Violence Statistics,which requires that law enforcement officers gather information about the marital status of those involved in domestic violence incidents
- HB 34: Email Information Required of Registered Sex Offenders, which requires that sex offenders who must register also provide online names and email addresses
- 1SSB 36: Charter and Online Schools – Participation in Extracurricular Activities, which allows students in charter and online schools to participate in extracurricular activities at public schools
- 1SHB 33: Waivers of Immunity – Exceptions is still awaiting the governor’s signature. This bill would help protect families from wrongful intrusion while still allowing government workers to do their job of protecting children from real abuse.
3.Utah Ranks among Best in the U.S. for Property and Casualty Insurance
Consumers in Utah enjoy more attractive homeowners insurance at better pricing than citizens in most other states, according to a new report card released by The Heartland Institute and Competitive Enterprise Institute.
In a press release, Eli Lehrer, the report’s author, said, “Although insurers operating in the state have seen a degree of uncertainty in the automobile market lately, the Utah insurance environment does a good job serving consumers and insurers alike.”
Utah, Idaho, Illinois, Vermont, and Wisconsin received “A” grades on the Heartland/CEI report card. California, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, and North Carolina earned “F” grades, because homeowners pay more for coverage that is inferior to states with positive insurance climates.