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In mid-February 2022, we issued the first of periodic policy briefs that we intend to publish on a variety of UCC priorities. This first brief addresses Utah’s critical need for more affordable housing and the current opportunity for the Utah Legislature to make real progress during its current legislative session. On February 21, we issued our second brief–on the need for Full-Day Kindergarten. The third brief –on proposed carbon pricing legislation–was issued on February 23rd. The fourth brief –on the importance of public health and childhood immunization — was issued on February 25th.
Our previous and current policy statements and reports center around seven areas of concern, which interact with each other in important ways: environmental health, public education, health and health care, personal security, social support networks, respect for all individuals, regardless of status; and ethical, transparent, and participatory governance.These seven areas are framed by the following Declaration of Utah Human Rights, which describes the kinds of communities that we would like to live in and that we hope for our posterity.
A Declaration of Utah Human Rights
In recognition that the inherent right of every member of the human family to dignity and respect serves as the foundation of freedom, justice, and tranquility in the state of Utah, as well as the United States of America and the world; and in recognition that this right also frames the shared responsibilities of individuals, organizations, and governments; and inspired by the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Utah Citizens’ Counsel (UCC) articulates the following statement of rights as the framework for UCC policy positions.
Article 1: All Utahns, regardless of race, color, ethnicity, religion, gender and gender identity, language, disability, political preference, age, birth status, military status, or another status, are entitled equally to dignity and respect as human beings and to equitable treatment under the law.
Article 2: All Utahns, young and old, have the right to live and thrive in a healthy environment that includes clean air, land, and water, and share in the responsibility to pass that healthy environment on to succeeding generations.
Article 3: All Utahns have the right to a public education that ensures literacy, numeracy, critical thinking, character development, and the capability for responsible citizenship to help secure a promising future for Utah and the United States in a complex, interdependent, and competitive world.
Article 4: All Utahns have the right to comprehensive, quality health care at reasonable cost, and responsible societal efforts to help them achieve and maintain optimal well-being, with appropriate initiatives that encourage and facilitate healthy living and the prevention of disease, disability, and injury.
Article 5: All Utahns have the right to security of person, especially freedom from physical harm and psychological abuse, whether experienced within the family or in the community at large.
Article 6: All Utahns have the right to the fundamental social support systems that assist in assuring a standard of living adequate for the well-being of both the individual and families, in all their configurations, including timely assistance in case of unemployment, disability, old age, and natural or man-made disasters.
Article 7: All Utahns have the right to transparent and ethical governance as well as effective participation in the democratic process.