Maybe it was a surrender to what one activist called "gangster politics."
But the House on Wednesday passed a long-delayed bill by powerful Senate Rules Committee Chairwoman Margaret Dayton, R-Orem, in the form she originally proposed. Some alleged that in retaliation for earlier amending of that bill, she had been holding hostage all bills written by the House member who made the amendment.
The House voted 72-0 to pass SB18 by Dayton, which now goes to Gov. Gary Herbert for his signature. It simply bans publicly releasing the email addresses of voters from voter registration rolls.
Rep. Richard Greenwood, R-Roy, had earlier amended that bill to ban also releasing voter birth dates.
Greenwood has said he believed that led Dayton to hold up his HB92, which makes fleeing the scene of a boating accident a crime. Greenwood introduced that after a University of Utah researcher was killed by a boat's propeller in Pineview Reservoir last summer, and the boaters fled.
Ron Mortensen, a tea party activist who supported Greenwood's amendment to protect birth-date information, even issued a press release earlier this week calling the stalling of Greenwood's bill "gangster politics." Dayton, however, denied delaying Greenwood's bills.
Rep. Keith Grover, R-Provo, persuaded the House to remove the amendment banning birth dates from Dayton's bill, noting the House on Tuesday passed HB304 that separately would ban releasing birth dates. Grover supported that, saying it will also help so that "my old buddies over there can get [his bills] out of Rules."