Several items this week:
It's somewhat amazing to learn that legislators and others on the Legislature's Sport Oversight Committee have agreed to a request by Utah Olympic boosters not to introduce any bills in the 1995 session that could "affect" Utah's Winter Olympic bid.Seems to me an oversight committee is supposed to oversee. And some committee members - as well as other lawmakers - have in the past said there needs to be some fine tuning in the state's relationship with/responsibility for any Olym- pics.
Seems Olympic boosters - always paranoid about any public concern or, heaven forbid, even criticism of their bid - worry that meddling lawmakers could do something during the 45-day January/ February session that could cause the International Olympic Committee to frown at Utah. The IOC will pick the host of the 2002 Winter Games in June - four months after the session ends.
No Olympic-type bills on the floor of the House and Senate means little chance that some legislator could actually rise and question Utah going after the Games - words that no doubt would mean little or nothing to IOC members but which would apparently leave Olympic boosters shaking in their collective boots.
Actually, Olympic bid officials do want one Olympic bill - a resolution saying Utah is in favor of hosting the Olympics. They don't want any of those other, nasty things discussed.
Utahns are spending nearly $60 million of taxpayer money on the Games - with the promise that the money will be paid back. But how the Games are run could have a great effect on how, or whether, the money is paid back. Or if more taxpayer money is demanded later on.
In any case, the Olympic bandwagon is plenty big enough as it is. Legislators - and Gov. Mike Leavitt, who says he's not planning any Olympic-type legislation, either - need to do their jobs. And if that job is to introduce legislation needed to make the Games work better, ensure taxpayer repayment, etc., they should take off their booster hat and put on their public servant hat.
- The three Republican candidates for Utah's U.S. House seats gathered on the steps of the U.S. Capitol this week to sign a promise to Americans - vote for term limits, balanced budget amendment, lower taxes, more military spending, etc.
All should be congratulated for making such promises. But even GOP House leaders admit that the promise is only that should Republicans win a majority in the House in November's election - no small feat - the above bills will be brought up for a vote within the first 100 days of the new 104th Congress.
They don't promise that they'll pass. Indeed, some incumbent U.S. House Republicans oppose term limits and other items and aren't changing their minds - they are just signing a pledge to bring the matters up.
And it certainly isn't likely that Republicans will win control of the House. They need 40 more seats to do that, and there hasn't been that big of a swing in years.
Even if the House goes Republican, there's still the Senate, which could remain in Democratic hands. And there's Democrat Bill Clinton. He doesn't favor term limits, and Republicans obviously wouldn't have the two-thirds needed to override a presidential veto.
In addition, many think it will take a U.S. constitutional amendment to limit terms of congressmen. It certainly takes a constitutional amendment to require a balanced budget. It's unclear if a Republican House will mean two-thirds support for either of those amendments.
Democrats, meanwhile, are throwing cold water on the Republicans' pledges. They ask if capital gains tax cuts and more military spending sound familiar - kind of like Ronald Reagan's early years as president. They warn that tax cuts then, combined with military buildup, led to a record federal budget deficit.