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Notes to lawmakers aren't exactly civil

Published March 1, 2012 4:00 pm

Politics • Political differences bring out the bile.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Wonder what kind of notes legislators receive from public visitors?

"Grant equality now you mean [f-word]," said an anonymous note that a visitor gave to a sergeant-at-arms to deliver to Sen. Margaret Dayton, R-Orem, on Wednesday.

It reportedly was one of the milder ones. "I understand there was quite an intense sorting process" by pages to remove even more strongly worded notes before they were delivered, she said.

Dayton made available to the media on Thursday a stack of notes she received amid a protest by the gay and transgender community on Wednesday, which vented frustration over lawmakers not advancing bills affecting them.

Dayton is a member of the Senate Government Operations and Political Affairs Committee, which killed a bill introduced for the past five years to ban housing and employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Dayton said committee members received the most notes from protesters either seeking a hallway audience or merely wanting a message delivered.

A sampling of other notes that Dayton actually did receive included one that said, "I need you all to wake up from your power overdose and realize we are all human and we all deserve rights, come out and explain yourself," signed by Amber Oldham.

"Please stop working for Gaye Ryzicka [apparently Gayle Ruzicka, president of the conservative Utah Eagle Forum], she is full of hate," said one signed by Becky Moss.

When Dayton was asked how she responded to such notes, she said she simply asked a page to go through to see if any note-writers lived in her district. She said apparently none did so she didn't respond.

Sen. Luz Robles, D-Salt Lake City — who received death threats last year during heated immigration debates, as did her ideological opposite, Rep. Steve Sandstrom, R-Orem — said, "Nobody deserves to be mistreated," and uncivil language "only hurts their cause."