Friday, January 28, 2011

The Utah State Legislature vs. The Disabled


Why I lose sleep every January and February

A while ago, I got into a bit of a “discussion” on facebook.  It all began when my friend started a thread on his wall.  It got me a bit frustrated, but I debated whether or not I should respond, because it was started by a good friend.  In the end, I did.  I said, “Rhetoric like this is what makes me lose sleep every winter when the Utah state legislature meets.”  He asked me to clarify that.  I did, and others joined in.

What followed was a discussion that I’ve had a number of times when I get on this topic with the conservatives that are so plentiful out here in Utah.  It goes basically like this.

  • They:  The government shouldn’t be responsible for taking care of people, they should take care of themselves!
  • Me:  So, you’re saying that the government shouldn’t help us pay Jacob’s medical bills?  You mean we should pay what would amount to literally over $7,000 a month ourselves?
  • They:  You pay that much?
  • Me: No, but we would have to if we didn’t have help from government programs. Jacob’s life literally depends on government programs.
  • They: Well, of course, the government should help people like you, they just shouldn’t help people who are leeching off welfare.
  • Me: But when the representatives in the legislature talk, they don’t make any distinctions.  They just talk about cutting funding.  That makes me lose sleep.
  • They: Well, conservatives wouldn’t cut funding for the disabled.  Some government programs are necessary.
  • Me:  Whatever you say...

So, today, I got this email from a group that sits in on legislative committee meetings and reports on them to those in the disability community.  It said:

“The Social Services Appropriations Joint Sub-Committee voted on a base budget this morning  that eliminates or reduces programs that impact people receiving services through DSPD (Division of Services for People with Disabilities)...” 
The letter went on to enumerate the items in the DSPD budget that were being cut and gutted.


Fortunately, this is just a subcommittee meeting, and there is much lobbying that can (and in my opinion must) be done to prevent that.

There are a few arguments that I’ve had on the ‘net where I would sincerely wish I would lose.  This, unfortunately, is one of them.  I’d gladly wish that I were wrong if it would help me sleep better.


Mark has a lifelong testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormon Church). Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his Dutch Oven blog.


  1. Oh Mark. Oh how I wish "the good people of Utah and elsewhere" could understand what you are so eloquently trying to explain. There is much more to government "handouts" than the gal in front of me in line purchasing her name brand items with food stamps.

    My prayers go out to you and others like you and your family who depend on the kindness of strangers, and government.

  2. Hey, just barely saw this. I was looking for an blog post of yours that would be helpful with HB 477 right now.

    Anyway, sorry to hear about your situation. I also pray that things will go well if they haven't already! That would be so cool if mutual aid societies came back like they did before 1935. By the way, an awesome set of books that deals directly with the type of thing you're trying to do is Bowling Alone and it's follow-up volume Better Together -- both by Richard Putnam. Both give excellent practical political ideas for situations such as yours.

    Lastly, i never told you -- but my heart was touched upon seeing your boys at Rich's place when he had the BBQ during the last summer I was working with you. That was fun playing on the jungle gym with them and seeing their joy.

    God bless

    P.S. i think i can find the map that shows the legislative districts overlayed on Google Maps. thanks!

  3. Not sure where else to post this. But you may be interested in a Presidential campaign unfolding in Mali, West Africa. Yeah Samake, an LDS member is running for President. If he wins, he'll be the first mormon president of a country, beating out Mit Romney. His website is here:

    He can use any financial support.



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