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Transparency Report Shows Force Used in 2016

September 11, 2017  |  Posted in: Blog  |  No comments

Utah is the only state with a law requiring police transparency regarding “forcible entry” (no-knock or knock-and-announce) warrants and the use of SWAT teams. This year’s report marks the third since the law was enacted; see here and here for data from the first two years. This year’s report—showing data for 2016—has just been released.

Here is a summary of the data that was provided:

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New Data on Asset Forfeiture for 2016

July 7, 2017  |  Posted in: Blog  |  2 comments

We have previously proposed legislation—which received unanimous support—that requires the government to furnish data each time it takes a person’s property through asset forfeiture.

The latest report, compiling data for 2016, was just released by the Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice.

The report finds, among other things:

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In Education, Small Amounts of Funding Can Go a Long Way

June 16, 2017  |  Posted in: Blog  |  No comments

As the media and public begin to focus more on taxpayer funding for government schools, one program with very little funding has had an enormous impact on the education those with special needs—an important demographic of children who can often be forgotten in government schools.

The Carson Smith Special Needs Scholarship was established in 2005 by action of the Utah Legislature and the signature of Governor Jon Huntsman. It provides private school scholarships to K-12 students who have a wide variety of special needs. With a current appropriation of only about $5 million, it serves over 900 children who can then get the specialized education that they need from the institution of their parents’ choice.

Bearing the name of the son of one of the program’s greatest advocates, Cheryl Smith, the program has steadily grown since its inception and is administered by the Utah State Office of Education. The success of the program has been well documented in legislative hearings and reports. Some important statistics include:

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Quasi-Government Entities Need Increased Oversight

May 30, 2017  |  Posted in: Blog  |  No comments

Interlocal agencies, independent entities, special service districts, Associations of Governments (AOG), and conservancy districts—each of these is a type of government-sponsored or -created organization given control of some aspect of administration, localized policy making, or government service. In short, they have control over a portion of your tax dollars and/or your life.

Who are these mysterious organizations that, up until recently, have hidden their operations in the shadows? To be clear, they hold some public meetings, report to the Utah Legislature periodically, and probably even have up-to-date websites. However, they probably would rather you not know about the size of their budgets, nor their too frequent misappropriation of funds.

The average Utahn might recognize these government organizations from the media attention they have received over the past few years:

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Combating Skyrocketing Healthcare Costs with “Right to Shop”

May 10, 2017  |  Posted in: Blog  |  No comments

With healthcare on the front of everyone’s minds as Congress continues to formulate a replacement to ObamaCare, here is an idea that could revolutionize the industry and drive costs down tremendously.

One of the largest factors driving up health care costs today is the lack of transparency of the true costs of health care services and the lack of incentives for consumers to pursue high quality, low-cost options. In short, a person doesn’t know how much a certain procedure or test costs and even if they did, they would have zero financial incentive to investigate where to find the best price for that health care service.

This is where having the “Right to Shop” comes into the picture.

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