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Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, arguably the Legislature's biggest meddler in public education, is pushing a bill that would require high school students to pass a civics test before they can graduate — even though they already have to pass a civics class to earn their diplomas.

A letter to The Salt Lake Tribune's Public Forum by Michele Margetts Jan. 21 suggested that lawmakers themselves be required to pass the same test, and any legislator who fails should be forced to resign. A Public Forum letter Sunday by Leonard W. Burningham heartily agreed.

That reminded me of a Stephenson moment a few years ago, when he and new-House Speaker Greg Hughes, R-Draper, began their Red Meat Radio program, which at the time aired Saturday mornings on K-TALK.

The two legislators invited listeners to phone in with their comments, but they said callers would first have to answer a question pertaining to government or U.S. history to show they are astute enough to make intelligent comments.

Stephenson and Hughes said the questions would be simple, so anyone familiar with American civics should have no trouble. Stephenson then spelled out an example of the type of question that would be asked: "Who was the second president of the United States?"

"That's easy," said Hughes. "Thomas Jefferson."

"You're right," said Stephenson.

With apologies to John Adams.

Bug off • Before this year's legislative session began, Capitol security officers went through the offices of Hughes and other House leaders to look for possible bugs.

You never know who might be spying on our legislative leaders' scintillating conversations. Terrorists, maybe? Putin? The Obama administration? Earlier this month, two characters allegedly were spotted at the Capitol who eerily resembled Boris and Natasha of "Rocky and Bullwinkle" fame.

Greg Hartley, House chief of staff, said House leaders did not request the sweep, but received an email from the Department of Public Safety saying officers would be conducting the search. Apparently, past legislative leaders have requested the sweep, so it has become routine.

No bug sweeps take place on the Senate side. Chief of Staff Rick Cantrell said senators have never requested one.

"We actually want people to know what we are talking about," he said.

What goes around • Maybe the worries about electronic eavesdropping stem from paranoia over possible payback from the governor.

During last year's legislative session, Rep. Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, brought a drone he uses to take aerial shots of properties in his homebuilding business for fellow lawmakers to play with.

During lunchtime, and right when Gov. Gary Herbert and legislative leaders were bickering over Medicaid expansion, the legislators hovered the drone just outside Herbert's window at the Capitol.

Rove, Rove, Rove your bug ... • The bug-sweeping program reminds me of a story about former Utahn and Olympus High graduate Karl Rove allegedly bugging himself.

Rove, who had a reputation for dirty politics, eventually became deputy chief of staff to former President George W. Bush.

As reported in James Moore and Wayne Slater's book, "Bush's Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential," Rove was a political consultant in Texas helping the campaign of Republican gubernatorial hopeful Bill Clements in 1986.

The campaign was not going well and Clements' advisers were fretting about a debate between their candidate and Democratic Gov. Mark White.

Rove said he was convinced proprietary campaign strategies were being leaked to the news media and the opposition, so he hired a private security company to conduct a sweep of his office the night before the debate. The company's agents found a bug behind a picture in his office, and Rove called the police. The day of the debate, Rove held a news conference that strongly implied White's campaign was behind the spying.

But Rove and his Republican colleagues quit talking about it as the incident received more press scrutiny. It turned out the six-volt battery in the bug had 5.8 volts of remaining power when it was discovered. That means it was turned on just shortly before it was discovered.