Poetry slam planned Friday against Buttars

A poetry slam of Sen. Chris Buttars is planned for Friday in the Capitol rotunda, despite one of his strongest supporters declaring the controversy surrounding the senator dead.

Gayle Ruzicka, president of the Utah Eagle Forum, said Wednesday that she has canceled a planned rally to support Buttars because it is no longer needed.

"He's got unbelievable support," Ruzicka said. "The other side would be smart to let it go."

Buttars has been under fire since last week, when he compared a school funding bill to a baby that was "ugly" and "black." On Monday, he used the phrase "hate lynch mob" to describe the subsequent outrage.

Both comments have had him under fire from minority rights groups. That criticism will be voiced in rhyme Friday in the Capitol rotunda, when a group will host a poetry slam for people to share their feelings and experience with racism.

Tax redistribution bill could cost S.L. County

Salt Lake County could lose millions in tax revenue under a bill endorsed Wednesday by a Senate committee to change the distribution of the county's tourism, recreation, cultural and convention tax.

The measure could be a benefit to cities such as Sandy, however, which is seeking to build a Broadway-style theater within its boundaries.

Under SB218, the 1 percent restaurant tax that feeds into county TRCC funds across the state would be replaced with a .07 percent local option sales tax. All counties except Salt Lake would be able to use that money to fund recreation centers, tourism and cultural sites.

In Salt Lake County, the bill stipulates that half its $16 million cut of TRCC money be distributed to cities within the county. Business groups such as the Salt Lake Chamber and Downtown Alliance said they worried the tax shift would be unfair to the county.

Sponsoring Sen. Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, said his bill was designed not to hurt the county but rather bring fairness to the restaurants paying into the TRCC fund.

Measure to protect mobile-home owners

Mobile-home owners won't be left out to dry when the park owner decides to sell under a bill that passed the Legislature Wednesday when the House approved it.

The bill requires a nine-month notification to mobile-home owners before their lease can be terminated and prohibits rent increases during that time. It also prevents local governments from passing ordinances to close the parks.

At least 13 mobile home parks closed in 10 cities across the state last year, said Rep. Phil Riesen, D-Salt Lake, the bill's sponsor. He said the bill is a compromise that protect both the rights of the mobile-home owners and the property rights of the park owner.

Confidential-reports bill achieves final passage

A bill allowing people to make confidential reports about poor drivers to the state Driver License Division passed the Legislature Wednesday when the House approved it.

The measure, SB34, is designed to provide more comfort to friends of family members seeking to remove incompetent drivers from the road. It allows a person to make a confidential report about the bad driver to the Driver License Division, after which the reported driver would have to take a competency test.

"To approach and demand to take someone's keys is an uncomfortable situation and has led to several family problems," said Rep. Carl Wimmer, R-Herriman, the bill's House sponsor.

Only one legislator spoke in opposition to the bill, saying it could be seen as discriminatory to elderly drivers. A total of 26 voted against the measure, however, with 46 voting to approve it.