Thursday, January 24, 2008

Me Thinks They Doth Protest Too Much

HB 264 is seeking to ban traffic ticket quotas by local and state law enforcement agencies. The Utah Chiefs of Police Association and many of the agencies are adamantly against this bill. They all claim that no such quota system exists, so there isn't a need for this bill. Yet, there is evidence that they do exist and officers are reluctant to publicly say that a quota system does exist.

Rep. Carl Wimmer, however, refuted the denials:

"I worked for a police department and had to write three tickets every day. That was a quota, and they exist."

In addition, a number of agencies have admitted that they factor the number of tickets issued by an officer into their performance evaluation. While maybe not strictly a quota, sounds too close to one to me -- if you don't write a sufficient number (What is a sufficent number? An average number per day? Per week? Per month?) then they get marked down on their evaluation.

Val Shupe, South Ogden police chief, seems to misunderstand the legislation:

"When you tell someone to go enforce the law at 40th and Washington, you are telling them to go down there and issue citations," Shupe said. "This law would prevent me from doing that."

But that isn't true. There is nothing that says you can't write tickets. Or that says you can't write as many as you need to. You just can't have a quota. If you don't have a quota system and you're not thinking about having citation quotas, this bill shouldn't be a big concern for you.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Representative Steve Sandstrom is Surprised

After blogging about Representative Steve Sandstrom's role in the voucher vote (see here, and here), he is naively surprised that someone is going to run against him in the next election.
Steve Baugh has announced that he will run against Sandstrom in the fall election.

Sandstrom is a freshman legislator who reneged on a promise to voters during his campaign and during the 2007 legislative session to vote against vouchers (which passed by one vote). And now he is surprised someone is running against him. Steve Baugh is a former superintendent for the Alpine School District and now a professor at BYU.

What was also interesting in the article was the people that were saying they were switching to be Democrats after being Republicans all their lives. I keep hearing about winds of change in Utah county as people get more and more frustrated with their elected representatives.

Did Vouchers Fail Because of Lack of Funding?

The Utah Amicus reports an interesting note from the recent voucher war. You may remember during the recent voucher war Greg Hughes (and others) complaining about how they couldn't compete against all the money being poured in to the battle by the NEA and others.

Turns out he was wrong. Latest figures show that Utahns for Public Schools (the anti voucher folks) spent about $2,000,000 LESS than Parents for Choice in Education (the pro voucher folks).

Despite all the extra money, PCE still couldn't convince Utah voters that vouchers was a good idea.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Good Guys!

During the 2007 legislative session, I blogged about Representative Steve Sandstrom's role in the 38-37 vote for vouchers. He had told a constituent that he was voting against vouchers and then suddenly switched on the day of the vote, telling this same constituent that he had no choice but to vote for vouchers because Parents for Choice in Education would heavily target him in the next election if he didn't.

The Salt Lake Tribune, talking about the "good guys in the legislature" now gives additional, but not unexpected, information about Sandstrom's switch:

"...several "good guys" in the Republican leadership - Lt. Gov. Gary Herbert, Valentine and Bramble - threatened freshman Rep. Steve Sandstrom of Orem with loss of any substantive role in the Legislature unless he supported vouchers. So "good guy" Sandstrom reneged on his promise to voters of his district to oppose vouchers. "

Probably not the best way to get re-elected. And adds to the many stories I hear about the arm twisting of Bramble and others.