Dabakis Diary Day 28



 A DC birdie told me that only Congressman Rob Bishop can save Utah from an Obama Antiquities Act Declaration. The story goes, in the last few weeks of his presidency, the gentleman from Chicago will choose the Sierra Club over the ‘in your face’ Utah legislature (HB 148) and make an AA Declaration. Single-handedly protecting forever the largest piece of road-less land in the bottom 48. Bishop must do the impossible—but if it is ever going to be done—it will be now. Getting the rural county commissioners, the demagogues, the legislature, the energy interests, and all the various environmental groups to agree on maps for a huge land trade—imagine it. Peace in the Middle East seems easier. Bishop probably cannot pull off an agreement, but it may be the last shot Utah input before an AA declaration. That has made serious Utahns get serious about serious talk.  The plan is Bishop’s grand compromise that would lock up lots of wilderness and allow for more energy development—a formula that outrages just about everyone closely involved. With a friendly, understanding Secretary of the Interior (a former outdoor recreation executive) and with the threat of an Antiquities Act declaration hanging over Utah, this is the last best hope. Do or die. My guess–don’t bet your federal oil leases on a Congressman Bishop’s ability to pull off a miracle.


SB 45. Voting coming this afternoon. It is the Utah legislature ‘welfare to NSA’ bill. That ‘franchise tax’ you pay every month on your utility bill. Well NSA says it should NOT pay its $6 million a year franchise tax on their $40+ million grab of Utah energy (that does not include any tax on 1.7 million gallons of water a DAY they will use). I asked the NSA to meet, wanted to hear it from the horses mouth. They sent me a link–I am doing all I can to send them a link–with a $6 million dollar invoice attached. They can pay just like the rest of us!



Awesome dinner the other night with the Senate up at the Natural History Museum. It was nice to just be social with a lot of chocolate. There is a dazzling chocolate exhibition at the museum. During the annual dinner, political talk is not allowed. If you just dropped in, you would have thought ‘wow, what an interesting, funny, thoughtful, well-informed group of Utah folks from all around the state’….


Two Republicans that everyone listens to on floor debate are Lyle Hillyard from Logan and Ralph Okerlund from Monroe. They can sway the body.



I put the following on Facebook:

Alright dear Facebook family (albeit sometimes dysfunctional). I think I know what I want to do but would like your two cents. SB 12 puts Utahs smoking age to 21. It is 19 now. Utah has the highest age for smoking in USA. Experts say it would save many, many lives…. I’m listening.

438 comments later, I am still torn. I love personal liberty. I hate cigarettes—they (along with her personal liberty) killed my mother at 62.

Three persuasive comments from the post:

Changing Utah smoking age to 21 won’t change smoking kids from smoking–but it might make it a little tougher. A worthy goal.

A very big drain on Medicaid and Medicare are lung and respiratory issues—we all pay for smokers ‘freedom.

19 is already the highest legal smoking age in USA, going to 21 is dumb. Clearly these are adults, let them make their own decisions—even if they are bad decisions.


If you want to subscribe to the Dabakis Diary, email senatordabakis@gmail.com and say UPDATE.

Do you want to be a Dabakis Intern for the Day? Email my official intern, Zaida at zhill@le.utah.gov

Don’t forget to come to the Dabakis Kakis this Wednesday at 7am! We will be talking about Count my Vote. Senator Bramble will be there!

Also, don’t forget Wednesday night’s Public Meeting! We will have a fantastic conversation with state officials and the LGBTQ community. ​


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