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Paul Rolly: Gambling at the Utah Legislature? You bet

Published June 19, 2014 10:38 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Two legislative sessions ago, a few legislators got together and decided to throw $1 into a pot each day, then guess how many minutes would go by before Rep. LaVar Christensen, R-Draper, began speaking to the House about the Constitution.

Someone might have gotten to Christensen, because he was much more subdued during the past general session.

So the bet changed. The winner of the pot was the legislator whose guess was the closest to the number of minutes before Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan, began talking about federalism.

There was, however, still a sparkling LaVar Christensen moment.

During a meeting of the Public Education Appropriations Committee, a Republican placed a dollar on the table and challenged a Democrat sitting next to him to a bet.

The Republican wagered that Christensen would mention one of the Founding Fathers before he was finished.

The Democrat pulled out a buck and took the bet.

Christensen finished his speech without mentioning a Founding Father, so the Democrat pocketed the cash.

But when Christensen took the microphone again, the Republican persuaded the Democrat to lay the two dollars back on the table.

Christensen again finished his talk without mentioning a Founding Father and the Republican, conceding defeat, said to the Democrat, "OK, you won fair and square. But next time Ronald Reagan is a Founding Father."

Smart budgeting • Rep. David Lifferth, R-Eagle Mountain, you might recall, is the latest tea party legislator to make headlines with his postings on Twitter recently that donating to the NAACP makes you a racist and that he is a civil rights hero because he passed protesters to attend an integrated school in the second grade.

But at least he knows a good deal when he sees one.

Lifferth's round-trip commute to the Utah Capitol is probably close to 100 miles. The state reimburses legislators 56 cents per mile for their travel to the Capitol.

Lifferth leases a Chevy Volt, an electric-gas hybrid that gets about 60 miles to the gallon. So he gets about $56 to cover the use of less than two gallons of gas.

It gets better. Colleagues have noticed that when he parks in the Legislature's designated lot, he plugs in his Volt to recharge the battery on the state's dime.

The case of the mysterious flier • Cherilyn Eagar is president of the American Leadership Fund and is consistently sending out fundraising emails to assist the organization in its fight for conservative causes such as opposite-sex marriage.

Her group is sponsoring an event at the Larry H. Miller Salt Lake Community College next Thursday that features Janet Boynes, an African-American speaker, author and nondenominational minister who shares her story of transformation from gay to straight.

Tickets cost $5 for regular seating and $10 for priority seating.

Invitations showed up on the desks of each Utah senator during Wednesday's interim meetings.

Senate rules require such fliers be approved by a senator and stamped by a page. Maybe the sudden appearance of these handouts was an act of God.

From Australia to Germany • The Utah Taxpayers Association has consistently been one of the loudest critics of UTOPIA, the 11-city broadband consortium being courted by the Australian-based firm Macquarie.

The association's website has an article by Vice President Royce Van Tassell citing a study by Econowest Associates that details risks associated with the Macquarie proposal. It refers to the study with the link, http://www.Notopia.com.

That takes you to a German tree-pruning site.

New dress code? • At least the Carbon County Commission has a sense of humor.

I wrote Wednesday that the commission unanimously passed a resolution giving the county supreme authority over law enforcement and land issues and joked that county officials had joined the tinfoil-hat crowd.

So Wednesday afternoon, the commissioners came to their meeting wearing — tinfoil hats.

prolly@sltrib.com