Saturday, February 14, 2009

More Corruption Within the Utah Legislature

A not-so-subtle warning from one of Weber County Forum's best and most lucid semi-regular "Yellow Dog Demo" guest contributors

By Curmudeon

Interesting piece in the Salt Lake Tribune on Friday, illustrating just how high up in the Utah Republican legislative leadership the dry rot of corruption has gone.

Here's the lede:
Majority Leader Kevin Garn, R-Layton, whose son is a lobbyist for Southwest Ambulance, one of the companies engaged in the battle, says now that he may have made a mistake.
Uh huh. "May have made a mistake ?" Curious about what that means in the real world where the rest of us live? The Trib explains:
Rep. Stephen Sandstrom, R-Orem, a member of the committee who voted for the bill, said he was told before the hearing by Garn that House leadership wanted the committee to pass the bill....
But House Speaker Dave Clark, R-Santa Clara, said he hasn't even read the bill and leadership has not taken a position on it. House Majority Whip Brad Dee, R-Washington Terrace, was more direct when asked if leadership had a stance on the bill: "The answer is: No."
So, the Republican leadership had not endorsed the bill nor asked that it be passed out of the committee. The Republican majority leader, having been caught telling his Republican colleague a lie in order to get out of committee a bill the Republican majority leader's son was lobbying to pass, Mr. Garn offered the following positively Bushesque drivel by way of explanation:
Garn said he "may have said" that leadership wanted the bill passed. "If I did, I wasn't representing leadership and probably what I meant to say or did say was that somebody from leadership thought it should get out."
Uh huh. Republican leaders are now deceiving their own members in pursuit of family interests. Imagine that.

And will the Republican Caucus punish the majority leader for deceiving his own members to get a bill out of committee to assist his son, the lobbyist? Don't hold your breath waiting.

Aren't you happy to know that Mr. Garn, as majority leader, will be shepherding through the GOP's much touted "ethics reform" bills this session? Sleep well, taxpayers.


Ex Firefighter said...

Great pick up on the story Curm.

But I don’t believe that tax payers really realize what passage of this bill would do to local municipalities Fire and EMS protection.

House Bill 273 could affect the service of Ogden residents and other municipalities who provide Fire and EMS ambulance protection. The Bill is sponsored by Michael E. Noel. The bill is being pushed by an independent ambulance service in Salt Lake City, South West Ambulance.

Basically the bill would allow and independent ambulance service to enter into a contract with care facilities in jurisdictions where other providers such as Ogden Fire Department holds the State license for EMS services such as ambulance 911 calls, and inter facility transport of patients needing advanced medical care. The bill would allow the independent to swoop into a jurisdiction and take the inter facility transfers away from the entities holding the license in that jurisdiction, leaving the licensed provider to deal with 911 service calls only.

The probable outcome of the independent provider taking the inter facility transfers, would most likely result in cut backs of staffing in the Ogden Fire Department resulting in fewer Firefighters available to respond to fire and medical emergencies in Ogden City. A person might ask why would there be a cut back in staffing.

Ogden Fire Department budget is subsidized by nearly 50% from medical services provided by the department to the community. There are approximately 45 Firefighters paid through this self sustaining EMS service. No general fund tax dollars are used for the EMS enterprise fund that supports ambulance and Paramedic service in Ogden City.

The ambulance service is provided to the community by cross trained employees who have dual rolls as Emergency Medical Service providers and as Firefighters in a more efficient manor than most independent providers. The Ogden Fire Department license does not allow the department to pick and choose who will receive medical care, any person requesting services receives the very best available.

The rates allowed for ambulance services, are set by the State Division of Emergency Medical Services. A large number of 911 service calls provided by the Fire Department are non collectible. Where as an inter facility transfer call is more than likely to be paid by insurance companies, Medicare, and Medicaid.

At the present time South West Ambulance has the contract to provide 911 service calls in Salt Lake City, however one can assume that the 911 service calls are not a sufficient enough revenue stream to continue running the business alone. South West is basically showing that, by their eager pursuit to take advantage of scooping the cream through providing only inter facility transfers in other parts of the state, leaving municipal providers only the more costly to provide 911 service calls.

HB 273 is presently opposed by the League of Cities and Towns, Utah State Fire Chiefs Association, Ogden City, and a majority of the States Fire Fighter Local Unions across the Wasatch Front.

stupid politicians said...

Garn, noting he doesn't support the bill because of concerns his Layton constituents have with it, said he has been clear that his son should not lobby him.

What a Dork.

Curmudgeon said...

Ex F:

Thanks for the rundown on the backround of the bill, which I didn't fully understand until I read your post. Appreciate it.

Ex Firefighter said...

No problem at all Mr. Curmudgeon.

Anonymous said...

The family steak house, Corbins Grill, which Kevin jr. operates, serves up some of the best cuts of meat in the mountain west.

Just sayin'.


Take notice said...

On this valentine day, I thought it would be best to note that Democrats fall in love and the Republicans fall in line as the main post suggest, even if it is a lie.....

no more said...

RJ Svengali, why would you support a lying cheating bastard?

Bill C. said...

Curm, I believe I have seen the light, I kid you not. I've been trying to rally my neighbors to make calls to the legislators in an effort to kill HB122. As you may guess, they're all self proclaimed conservative Republicans, haven't met one yet that even admitted to a liberal streak in any arena. That didn't suprise me, I expected that.
What truely supprized me was that not one even knew what a grama was, and the only political happening they could comment on was this stimulas bill. They have no clue what is currently going on at the state level. Politics around here amounts to nothing more than three simple words as far as an election goes, the candidate that simply says "I'm a Republican" wins, after that they pay no attention till the next election. Curm, it ain't too hard to see how we got so screwed, and how it's going to continue I'm affraid.

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