If you wander over to the website of Sen. Howard Stephenson (R-Business Taxpayers Association) and click on "Proper Role of Government," you get a 1968 speech by Ezra Taft Benson that ends by urging Americans to take a stand against communism. That's it.
Frankly, it doesn't surprise us that Stephenson's ideas about the proper role of government are 40 years old. Forty years ago, a legislator coercing a state agency to give millions in taxpayer dollars to a specific vendor might have garnered a wink, but nowadays nosy parkers like the Tribune have to go and make a big deal out of it. (Stephenson has a ready-made response to such scrutiny, though, judging by the section of his website called "Media Baloney and Bias.")
Stephenson says he just wants to save taxpayers money by, er, spending taxpayer money to have a private business review textbooks instead of school officials who have been doing it well for decades. Considering the generally high level of education in Utah, it's hard to see why this is a priority for Stephenson -- a huge priority, apparently, if he threatened to cut funding and fire people if they didn't sign up ProCert Labs forthwith. But as they say, "if it ain't broke, break it."
Hey, Senator, we have a suggestion: If you're going to micromanage the school system, how about monitoring the lunch menus? Obesity is a bigger concern to Utahns these days then putting the fix in on textbooks.