Morning Buzz

* An Ogden Republican is proposing a $100 million tax on soft drinks to help fund Utah’s public schools — a proposal that upsets retailers. HB426, sponsored by Rep. Dixon Pitcher, R-Ogden, would assess a 1 percent tax on soft drinks — or a little under a nickel for a 12-pack of soda.

HB129 would implement a “constitutional carry” policy in the state, in which anyone over the age of 21 without a history of serious criminal activity or mental illness could carry a loaded, concealed gun. Currently, those people would have to take a concealed weapons course, pass a background check and purchase a permit. After failing to win approval by the committee last time it was heard, Wimmer’s bill passed on a 7-6 vote and goes to the floor for consideration.

* Citing stories of blood-smeared walls and fetuses being aborted with unsanitary instruments, Rep. Carl Wimmer argued Tuesday that the state needs to license and inspect abortion clinics. The examples the Herriman Republican pointed to were part of an anti-abortion documentary “Blood Money” that he showed to the House Health and Human Services Committee. “There’s no reason to believe Utah is an island unto itself when all around us stacks of horror stories are piling up,” Wimmer said before the committee approved 1st Substitute HB171.

* The House approved a bill Tuesday that would create an advisory council to study limiting the number of Cabinet members who report directly to Gov. Gary Herbert. Rep. Wayne Harper, R-West Jordan, said the advisory council created under HB280 would make recommendations on restructuring state agencies to make Utah’s government more efficient. “I think the outcome will be very valuable,” the bill’s sponsor said. The measure now moves to the Senate for its consideration.