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Rolly: Welcome to the Utah Senate gentlemen's club

Published January 15, 2013 1:55 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The good old boys in the Utah Senate still have a ways to go when it comes to understanding just what role women should play in the Legislature.

The Senate Republican fundraising breakfast at Salt Lake City's Grand America Hotel had an awkward moment when that male GOP cluelessness took center stage.

New Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, was taking questions from the audience about the Senate agenda for the legislative session commencing later this month when he paused after looking at a written inquiry that had been passed to him.

He called newly elected Sen. Deidre Henderson,R-Spanish Fork, to the front to answer the question.

Henderson, one of five women in the 29-member Senate but just one of two in the Republican caucus, was given the question.

As Niederhauser motioned to the other three GOP Senate leaders on the stage — Majority Leader Ralph Okerlund of Monroe; Majority Whip Stuart Adams of Layton; and Assistant Majority Whip Peter Knudson of Brigham City — he asked: "If you were on the 'Dating Game,' which of these gentlemen [including himself] would you choose."

Obviously taken aback, Henderson exclaimed: "That's my question?"

She quickly recovered enough to diplomatically say, "You're all winners."

It seems the Senate still has trouble viewing women as equal lawmakers, perhaps seeing their better role as fixing the cookies, cakes and Jell-O salads for Senate social events or joining the Senate sister wives for Tupperware parties at the Capitol while the men attend to the important business.

No time to lose • It took newly elected Utah Attorney General John Swallow all of four days after his inauguration to his first term to schedule a fundraiser for a second term.

Swallow was inaugurated Jan. 7. On Jan. 11, he sent out an invitation to lobbyists and other moneybags to "a day of skiing" at Canyons Resort on Feb. 20. The event includes lunch and ski rentals. And donors get it all for a measly $500 contribution to Swallow's campaign fund.

I have a hunch this shakedown of lobbyists and law firms that do business with the attorney general is the first of many to come.

Multitasking • Former Utah legislator and conservative blogger Holly Richardson is Gov. Gary Herbert's newest appointment to the State Records Committee.

The Records Committee on Thursday heard an appeal from an attorney whose client was arrested for a DUI. The attorney wanted disciplinary information on the trooper who arrested her client, but the Utah Highway Patrol had denied her request.

While the committee heard the arguments, Richardson was busy tweeting:

"Former Utah Gov. candidate Peter Cooke been called to serve as LDS Mission Prez. He will know his destination in March."

"Therein lies the problem … RT@gopTPDD:@DeidreHenderson if it was, I wouldn't know it."

"No mis-tweets! RT@SpencerJCox:@RyanDWilcox calling out @DeidreHenderson&@gopTodd on twitter use … OK, maybe that's an exaggeration #utpol!"

"And a couple others RT@/DeidreHenderson: Yet another DON'T TALK TOO MUCH admonition from @RyanDWilcox. WHO inspired this theme? #utleg#utpol!"

Bait and switch • A reader in Southern California notes that Utah tourism folks are aggressively advertising in that area to entice people to the Beehive State for the excellent skiing here.

At the end of the ads, the emphasis is on Utah's nightlife, with a depiction of a restaurant with alcoholic beverages on the tables, lest anyone get the wrong idea about access to liquor here.

The ad doesn't mention the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control's recent memo stating that if a patron is waiting for a table, he or she can't have a drink until a meal has been ordered.

More fun and games • Senior citizen Jerome DeWaal took his wife and grandson to the Red Robin restaurant on Foothill Drive on Saturday after the University of Utah basketball game.

When he ordered a glass of wine, he was asked for his ID.

prolly@sltrib.com