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Frank Pignanelli & LaVarr Webb: Politicians may say one thing — but here is what they mean

Published: Sunday, Jan. 23 2011 12:00 a.m. MST

Pignanelli & Webb: The 2011 General Session of the Utah State Legislature begins its 45-day run on Monday. The truly great thing about the Legislature is that when it's over, spring is here!

Participating in or observing this fundamental exercise of representative democracy is not for the faint of heart. To assist our readers who struggle to comprehend what happens on Capitol Hill, we offer our yearly legislative-speak-translated-to-English dictionary. Here's what they say — and what they really mean:

Gov. Gary Herbert: "I enjoy a productive relationship with legislators and look forward to working with them in a successful session." ("Drats! Another session already!? They're noisy, they clutter up the Capitol, and I just spent the last year fawning over these guys to protect my base in the special election. Now I have another general election coming up in less than two years and I have to keep them happy.")

Legislative leadership: "We enjoy a positive relationship with the governor and appreciate his role in the legislative process." ("He knows who's really in charge — we are. And don't even think about using that V-word.")

Senate President Michael Waddoups: "I have announced that I will not be seeking re-election, which allows greater flexibility in pursuing good public policy." ("I'm the most dangerous guy up here. I have the gavel and I don't particularly care who I offend or irritate.")

House Speaker Becky Lockhart: "Despite our differences, the caucus is unifying to resolve the important issues." ("Hey I won. Get over it.")

Republican legislators: "We must continue to send a strong message defending states rights against overbearing regulations imposed by the federal government." ("Those states' rights buzzwords are sweet music to the ears of tea party members in my district. And it sure is fun imposing overbearing regulations on the cities and counties!")

Democratic legislators: "We provide an important voice and constructive balance in legislative deliberations." ("We're here! We exist! Please call on us once in a while.")

Eagle Forum leader Gayle Ruzicka: "The newly-elected conservative members in the Legislature provide greater opportunities for our concerns to be aired." ("I run this place.")

U.S. Sen. Mike Lee: "The U. S. Constitution should be amended to allow legislators once again to select U.S. senators." ("I love stroking these curmudgeons with this nonsense, especially since they never would have chosen me if they did have the ability.")

Republican legislators: "During the redistricting process, I will fight for compact districts that keep communities intact." ("How can I carve my district to eliminate that right-wing wacko who is always complaining and threatening to run against me?")

Democratic legislators: "During the redistricting process, I will support maps and boundaries that keep together the communities I represent." ("I will fight like crazy to avoid getting stuck in the same district as another incumbent Democrat.")

Republican House Caucus: "Rep. Craig Frank is blameless in the boundary issue, but it is inappropriate to remedy the problem through special legislation." ("We cannot think of a credible reason not to help our friend Frank, but we still refuse to do so.")

Senate Minority Leader Ross Romero: "Our caucus is working really hard" ("There are three times as many committees as there are Senate Democrats. How do I fill all the slots?")

All legislators: "This is the year that we need to tackle comprehensive immigration reform" ("Wow this is complicated and tough. Someone's mad no matter what we do. Isn't this a federal issue?")

Senate Majority Leader Scott Jenkins: "We appreciate Sen. Curt Bramble's work on a number of issues. ("Is there a shot we can give him to slow him down to just a frenetic pace?")

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