Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Answers - Question 4

4) In the 2008 legislative session, Representative Brad Daw sponsored a bill (HB139, http://le.utah.gov/~2008/bills/hbillint/hb0139.htm) that would have placed certain restrictions on anyone providing wireless internet access. Pete Ashdown, owner of Xmission, has publicly opposed this type of legislation and has said that he will shut down the free wireless provided by Xmission in downtown Salt Lake City if such legislation passes. (see http://peteashdown.org/journal/2008/01/24/the-end-of-free-xmission-wireless/) Would you support or oppose this type of legislation? Why?

Democrat - Richard Watson:
I oppose this bill. This bill falls in the line of "big brother" legislation and I believe Utah lawmakers should concentrate on bigger issues, like public schools, transportation, taxes and healthcare. In addition, this bill, had it passed, might have had some constitutional challenges later on.

Republican - Dan Liljenquist:
I would have opposed the bill proposed by Rep. Daw. While I believe an appropriate role of government is to ensure that community standards of morality and decency are upheld, such considerations must be balanced by the costs of achieving a desired results with the benefits that arise in doing so. In this instance, it is difficult to make the case that an unquantifiable benefit (for example, we have no indication that Rep. Daw’s bill will materially decrease the number of minors who actually access harmful materials) outweighs the significant, measurable costs (the shutdown of the Xmission free wireless project is only one such example) of such a measure. I would have opposed this bill on these grounds.

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