Rolly: Timing of Democratic lawmaker's exile is fishy
I wrote in my Sunday column about Democratic Sen. Karen Mayne's removal from the Interim Business and Labor Committee by Senate President Michael Waddoups with just two interim meetings left before the next legislative session.
Actually, she was removed from the committee in late March, when interim committee assignments were handed out. She had been a member since she became a senator in 2008.
The confusion arose because several of Mayne's committee colleagues learned she was no longer a member at the Oct. 17 meeting when she hadn't weighed in on the controversial issue of licensing hair braiders, a matter in which she had shown interest. One of those who didn't know she was gone was co-chairman Sen. John Valentine, R-Provo.
"I was wondering why Karen hadn't spoken up, then I noticed she wasn't there," said Valentine.
But the timing of Mayne's exile from the committee raises another question.
Waddoups was assigning the memberships for the interim committees shortly after the end of the 2012 general session in March. That was around the same time students and instructors at Salt Lake Community College were protesting a pending decision by the Salt Lake Community College Board of Trustees to do away with the college's popular cosmetology program at its West Valley City campus.
Mayne, who represents West Valley City, was asked to look into the proposed closure and attempted to get factions together to negotiate a solution.
Mayne's sister-in-law, Shauna Petersen, was a cosmetology instructor at SLCC. But Waddoups' wife, Anna Kay, is a member of the SLCC Board of Trustees that voted to cut the program.
Senate Chief of Staff Ric Cantrell said Waddoups moved Mayne from the Business and Labor interim committee to Political Subdivisions because that committee needed a Democrat. There already were two Democrats on the Business and Labor Committee, and with just seven Democrats in the Senate, it is hard to fill every interim committee with at least one Democrat.
Cantrell said Mayne was chosen for the move, which she did not want, because the other Democrat, Sen. Gene Davis of Salt Lake City, had seniority.
Republican colleagues on the committee were taken aback, however, when they learned of her ouster. She has been described as a bridge builder between Democrats and Republicans and between labor and business interests.
One veteran senator says seniority generally doesn't drive those kinds of decisions. For example, he said, freshman Sen. Arron Osmond, R-West Jordan, was made chairman of the Senate Education Committee over 20-year-veteran Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper.
Bad timing • Utahns who tried to register to vote online at the last minute Monday night were greeted with a message from the site, vote.utah.gov, which said the site was temporarily down due to maintenance and expressed sorrow for the inconvenience.
This was at 10:30 p.m. just an hour-and-a-half before the deadline to register.
One wannabe voter persistently tried to get into the site and, finally, when it seemed to be back up and operating, she was bumped, with the explanation on the site that her session had "timed out."
Double dealing? • Early voters at the Salt Lake County Clerk's Office were asked to fill out a short form before voting. Some voters turned the form over to fill out the back side as well, only to discover they were registering as Republicans.
The voters were assured by county personnel that it was recycled paper and the Republican Party registration forms were just old documents. County officials assured wary voters that filling out the voter registration forms would not make them official Republicans.