The Board of Governors of the Salt Lake Area Chamber of Commerce Tuesday reaffirmed its stand against the creation of more wilderness areas and also heard about two propositions to be on the November ballot that have received little, if any, publicity.
C. Booth Wallentine, Utah Farm Bureau Federation executive vice president, presented a report from the chamber's Multiple Use Task Force that recommended reaffirmation of the chamber's 1986 position that more wilderness will hamper Utah's economic growth.It also suggested the chamber join with the Utah Public Lands Multiple Use Coalition and devote its energies to preventing the addition of wilderness in Utah over and above the existing 5.5 million acres.
Dave Hansen, deputy lieutenant governor, spoke to the board to acquaint the members with Propositions 1 and 2, saying they have become lost in the controversy over the three initiatives relating to tax rollbacks and tax credits.
Proposition 1, known as the Bail Amendment, would amend the Utah Constitution to increase the instances in which bail can be denied to criminals, Hansen said. If approved, the Legislature would specify crimes for which bail can be denied.
Hansen provided copies of the Voter Information Pamphlet that was recently distributed to Utah voters to explain the propositions and the three initiatives.
The pamphlet says Utah's Constitution now allows judges to deny bail to people charged with a capital offense or a felony while on probation or while free on bail awaiting trial. Proposition 1 would allow judges to deny bail to people when evidence shows the person is a danger to the community or is likely to flee.
Hansen said Proposition 1 requires the Legislature to designate specific crimes for which judges can deny bail under the proposed provision. If approved by voters, Proposition 1 would be effective Jan. 1. The pamphlet said the proposal would have no economic effect on the state, but county jail costs would increase by $13,000.
Proposition 2, Hansen said, is a "catch-all" attempt to remove some unneeded language and modernize the Constitution. It would clarify the Legislature's duty to reapportion the state after each federal census, clarify an exemption from a forced sale of property, delete provisions relating to the transfer of property owned by the state and deal with location of the Utah State Fair.
The Utah Constitution requires the reapportionment of congressional and legislative districts after each census, but makes no mention of school district boards. Reference to them would be added.
He said the Utah Constitution also requires the state to conduct a census every 10 years, but that has never been done because state officials rely on the federal census.
Regarding the location of the Utah State Fair, the Constitution requires that the state capital be Salt Lake City, and that the state fair be located in Salt Lake City. Proposition 2 would require that the capital be Salt Lake City, but the reference to the fair would be eliminated.
Wallentine said Utah already has 5.5 million acres of land managed as wilderness and other areas tied up in national parks and monuments that are managed wilderness. He said in areas managed as wilderness there is limited grazing allowed, permits are needed for most activities and mining is prohibited.
His position was echoed by Mark Walsh, associate director of the Utah Association of Counties, who said federal lands generate $40 million in revenue for Utah annually. He said locking more land into wilderness would restrict the activity on public lands and reduce revenue.
James Moss, superintendent of public instruction, who also addressed the board, likened heading the Utah Office of Education to running a giant business and said in the last few months the personnel total has been reduced 10 percent.
He said the goals of the office are quality of education, efficiency, creativity and flexibility, accountability and strategic planning. Unfortunately, Moss said, the business community hasn't been involved in the planning, but he pledged greater cooperation to avoid confrontation.