Dabakis Diary Day 8

Utah Concealed Weapons Permits – Make Texas pay more?

Because Utah’s concealed weapons permits are looser then Julia Roberts in ‘Pretty Woman’, we are flooded with applications from people OUT of Utah. In fact, 165,000 permit applications were filed last year. Of those, 132,000 (or 80%) were from non-Utahns. We only charge a $5 fee for out of state applications, which is not even enough to pay for the background checks necessary. So, Utah school kids are subsidizing out-of-state concealed weapon permit holders. I say, tax the crap out of these out-of-state Texas and Florida folks. How about adding on a $50, $100 or even $500 fee to out of state applications? If they do not like it, oh well! My friend Representative Oda disagrees, saying that any increase in the fee would be a tax increase. Damn right! Bring it on. If I had my way, the out-of-staters would not get that permit out of this Senator’s cold, dead hands!

UTAH SCHOOL CHILDREN MUST NEVER GO HUNGRY

As everyone knows, there was an incident at Uintah Elementary School involving food and children. It was ugly and clearly mistakes were made. However, in my mind this was not a SLC School District issue or a Uintah issue. Instead, the incident pointed out a serious flaw in the entire way Utah looks at feeding children in school. I am much more interested in changing policy than I am in a ‘pound of flesh’ from a bureaucrat. Kids go hungry every day in each and every Utah school district. This is simply not tolerable! Statewide, we must be strong and clear in sending a message—and in funding it. First and foremost, above all else, even the ‘sacred’ 2nd Amendment, NO CHILD IN A UTAH SCHOOL MAY EVER, EVER, EVER go hungry.

No child in a Utah school can ever be refused food. Even if a Huntsman kid has fallen seriously in debt on his food card, the kid in line gets fed, end of cafeteria discussion! Go after parents and lock ‘em up, or grab their cars, or seize their stock accounts. However, a child should never be ripped out of a food line and either refused food or be given a ‘penalty meal’ like a glass of juice and a piece of fruit. Senator Todd Weiler and I are putting together a few bipartisan ideas to get a uniform policy statewide. Todd and I had lunch with a group of 4th and 6th graders at Uintah on Thursday and they were bubbling. It was not much about food, but a lot about their science fair, what great kids. It is a wonderful school with a very committed principal. Lets focus on the good of this incident—we may not have another child sitting in a Utah classroom, unable to learn because all they can think about is how hungry they are.

school-lunch-ap

TRANSGENDERED KIDS ARE EQUAL, TOO!

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HB87 is the single most misplaced piece of legislation I have ever seen introduced in Utah. It is cruel. The bill would erase trans people from our schools by denying them access to restrooms, although Utah politicians do seem willing to create a “segregated” bathroom alternative. It would further isolate children over gender-identity issues. The bill redefines “gender” in state law as “the male or female phenotype” of an individual as documented by a birth certificate or a letter by a doctor “based on a physical examination of the person’s genitalia.” This is humiliating and unnecessary. The bill, I suspect, is not born of malice but rather a lack of understanding about trans students. These precious young people must be protected, valued, loved, and cared for. Like all of Utah’s children, they do not deserve to be personally attacked by their own state! The first rule of the legislature, like medicine, must be– do no harm.

FABULOUS DEMOCRATIC LEGISLATORS UNITE ON CLASSROOM HUNGER

Here is more on hunger from our awesome Democratic legislative leaders, Minority House leader Jen Seelig and Senate minority leader Gene Davis. These leaders have vision!

Gene Davis, Jennifer Seelig

Utah Senate and House Democrats believe that no child should ever sit hungry in a Utah classroom. The recent unfortunate events at Uintah Elementary School have exposed the fact that there are children in many Utah schools who simply do not get enough to eat. Here are the facts:

  • Utah ranks last in the nation for providing school breakfasts to low-income kids.
  • More than half of Utah teachers surveyed say hunger is a problem in their classroom.
  • 1 in 5 Utah children live in households where the family struggles to afford enough food (food insecure).

Democratic Solutions:

  • Ensure a review of all school policies that prioritizes the health and stability of Utah’s school children – leading to a broadening of enrollment in low and free lunch programs, and more leniency on those who do not qualify.
  • Implement a School Breakfast Program in every school that has at least 40% or more poor students participating in the school lunch program.
  • Implement a Summer Meals Program for at least 30 days in any school district that has a school with at least 50 percent of its students certified for free or reduced-price school meals.
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