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All opinions on this site are my own, not my employer's.

How corrupt is Utah?

On the whole, Utah has lower-than-average levels of political corruption.

At length, former Utah Attorney General John Swallow is finally scheduled to face a jury this week. No matter how Swallow’s story ends, however, it marks an aberration. Federal statistics show that Utah has had very low levels of corruption and political … Continue reading

Naysayers in the 2016 Utah Legislature

Even more so than Representatives, Senators really don't like voting "nay."

Utah legislators don’t like voting no. Well, most of them don’t. Only 3% (House) and 1% (Senate) of floor votes held in 2016 failed, and that was consistent with past trends: But every average has its exceptions, and this average … Continue reading

Who missed the most votes in the 2016 Utah Legislature?

The perfect attendance award goes to Rep. Michael Kennedy, the only legislator to miss zero votes.

Utah Legislators had only 45 days to consider 819 bills, passing 475 of them. The Legislature moves at such a breakneck pace that falling ill for a day or two can mean missing a lot of votes; running around persuading … Continue reading

The closest votes of the 2016 Legislature

Two of the session's closest Senate votes came 45 minutes apart, voting on the same bill, within an hour of adjournment, with opposite results.

The Utah Legislature loves consensus. Bills seldom pass on party-line votes. Instead, votes routinely pass with both Republicans and Democrats on board, producing an average majority size of 93% (House) and 96% (Senate). But averages have exceptions, and there were some … Continue reading

Unanimity remained the rule in the 2016 Utah Legislature

Utah's Republicans and Democrats vote together more often than they vote against each other.

Last fall, House Minority Leader directed a scathing op-ed at his Republican counterparts. Near the end of the 2016 session, Utah’s legislators approved changes to the (traditionally bipartisan) Legislative Management Committee placing the majority Republicans in control–a move that some have interpreted as … Continue reading

The 2016 Legislature: Slowing down while speeding up

Legislators introduced 177 bills in the session's final three weeks.

Despite being limited to only 45 lawmaking days, Utah’s Legislature sure passes a lot of bills–2 to 3 times as many bills per year as Congress. After last year’s record of 528 bills, though, the Legislature put the brakes on … Continue reading

My wonderful family, Oct 2010

Our destiny is not determined by the number of times we stumble but by the number of times we rise up, dust ourselves off, and move forward.
Dieter Uchtdorf

Course announcements

Poli 110, Introduction to American Politics

Peer review bug

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016. Several of you are emailing me to report a peer review bug. If you're having a problem where the website serves you the same essay to read twice in a [continued ...]

Poli 110, Introduction to American Politics

Welcome to Poli 110!

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016. Yep. You've found the course website. I'll periodically post announcements here. The most recent announcement will always appear at the top. If BYU [continued ...]

Poli 325, Politics of Wilderness, National Parks, and Public Lands

Ready to study public lands by visiting public lands?

Friday, April 1st, 2016. Thank you for your interest in this course! We'll start in the classroom, then visit Rock Canyon, Utah Lake, the Provo River, Arches National Park, [continued ...]

Note that this list may be up to 12 hours out of date.