Utah's members of Congress batted .340 over the past two years in passing into law the bills they introduced.
But some members were heavier hitters than others.For example, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, was a sort of a congressional Babe Ruth, batting .418, having provisions of 23 of the 55 bills he introduced enacted into law. They were not just minor-league bills either and included such major items as child-care aid and compensating cancer victims of atomic testing.
On the other end of the spectrum, though, were Republican Reps. Jim Hansen and Howard Nielson. Hansen batted only .200 and Nielson only .176. Their bills were also relatively minor, such as renaming federal buildings.
That information emerged from Deseret News research of computerized legislative records in the Library of Congress. Findings were confirmed in interviews with congressional staffs.
The legislative batting average, however, is not the only measure of a member of Congress.
For example, it does not show key committee work - such as Hansen's assignment on the House Armed Services Committee where he helped Utah net $100 million worth of military construction for 1991 despite heavy overall defense budget cuts.
Nor does the legislative batting average show that some bills that died achieved their purpose anyway - such as a Nielson bill calling for warning labels on records with offensive lyrics, which spurred the recording industry to develop its own system voluntarily.
Following is a member-by-member look at successes and failures of the delegation during the just-completed 101st Congress. Of note, most of the hitting came in the final weeks of the Congress - because in August, the delegations overall batting average was a meager .022.
Sen. Jake Garn, R-Utah
Garn batted a strong .296, enacting into law eight of the 27 bills he introduced. Two of them passed as independent bills, and six were added as amendments to other legislation.
For example, Garn greased a Camp Williams land exchange to remove private land from within artillery ranges by adding it to an Arizona wilderness bill that was headed for quick, easy passage after the Camp Williams bill itself had become mired.
Other legislation Garn introduced and passed includes: allowing placement of a Philo T. Farnsworth statue in the Capitol; creating National Organ and Tissue Donor Awareness Week; appointment of Anne Armstrong to the board of the Smithsonian Institution; a canyon land trade between Salt Lake City and the U.S. Forest Service; giving Fort Douglas to the University of Utah; export restrictions on companies helping to proliferate chemical arms; and enlarging the National Museum of Natural History.
Garn's greatest strengths do not show up on such batting averages. He is on the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee and used that to help direct hundreds of millions of dollars to the state.
That included $100 million in military construction, hundreds of millions in annual funding for water projects, adding $12 million in transportation projects, tens of millions for Utah housing and economic development projects and $25 million worth of public lands projects.
Garn was also a chief co-sponsor of the savings and loan bailout bill and is the leading defender of the space program in Congress - although he lost fights to keep higher levels of funding for the space station program.
He was also a chief mover of legislation needed to ensure completion of the Central Utah Project, which died in the final moments of the Congress because of controversial Bureau of Reclamation reform proposals that had been attached to it.
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah
As mentioned, Hatch batted .418. Of the 55 bills he introduced, five were enacted as independent bills and another 18 were added to other legislation.
Among legislation he passed was: wording to express concern about geographical inequity in Medicare payments; creating Women's History Month; creating National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution Centennial Day; creating National Home Health Care Week; creating National Adoption Week; prohibiting rental of some computer programs to prevent illegal copying; and providing federal aid to improve child care.
Also: increasing the pay of federal judges; compensating victims of atomic testing; revitalizing the Food and Drug Administration; limiting jail time for contempt of court in child custody cases (which freed Dr. Elizabeth Morgan); expanding volunteer service programs; amending nutritional labeling laws; reauthorizing the controversial U.S. Commission on Civil Rights; restricting smoking on airline flights; allowing the Public Health Service to regulate sewage dumping from trains; expanding home health care grants; and expanding job training for the homeless.
Some of his biggest legislative fights were on bills he did not sponsor but took a lead in helping them pass. They include the Act for Disabled Americans, a $5 billion AIDS relief bill, reauthorization of the National Endowment for the Arts, repeal of the Catastrophic Health Act and approval of the controversial nomination of David H. Souter to the Supreme Court.
Other big fights were on bills he helped kill, including a Democratic bill to raise the minimum wage, restrictions on U.S.-made assault weapons and the Civil Rights Act of 1990. He lost a battle to kill simple laws to ban flag burning and replace them with a constitutional amendment.
Hatch's addition of important but more minor items to other legislation is too long to list but ranges from studying use of military aircraft to catch drug smugglers to reauthorizing mental health grants to the states.
Hatch also helped several Utahns or former aides obtain top positions. They include former aide Antonia Novello as U.S. surgeon general; former aide David Kessler as commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration; Utahn James O. Mason as assistant secretary for health; and former aide Dee Benson as U.S. attorney for Utah; and former aide John Florez as an assistant secretary of labor.
Rep. Jim Hansen, R-Utah
Hansen batted .200. Of the 10 bills he introduced, none passed as independent bills, but provisions of two became law through other legislation.
They include ensuring that wheelchairs are allowed in wilderness areas and turning over part of Fort Douglas to the University of Utah.
However, he used his House Armed Services Committee seat to help protect the many military bases in his district. He and Garn teamed to obtain $100 million in military construction for next year.
They also campaigned hard to complete a consolidated maintenance facility at Tooele Army Depot, which should ensure that base's future. And Hansen worked hard in 1989 to eliminate proposed furloughs at Hill Air Force Base.
He also helped push through funding to convert US-89 in Davis County into a freeway. He pushed hard for repairs to the Bear River Bird Ref-uge.
Hansen also used his seat on the House Interior and Insular Affairs Committee to emasculate a proposal to expand national park boundaries and buffer zones, which could have harmed ranching and mining in Utah.
As a member of the House Select Committee on Standards of Conduct, he spent much time investigating scandals that led to the resignation of such people as former House Speaker Jim Wright.
Rep. Howard Nielson, R-Utah
Nielson batted .176. Of the 17 bills he introduced, two passed as independent bills and provisions of three others were amended to other bills.
Legislation he passed includes: condemning Israel (twice) for closing schools and universities in Arab-occupied areas; approving a Camp Williams land exchange; renaming the Orem Post office for former Sen. Arthur Watkins; renaming the Provo federal building for former Rep. J. Will Robinson.
Nielson as a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee was also a key negotiator on the new Clean Air Act. And he led a successful fight to force the recording industry to put warning labels on recordings with explicit lyrics.
He fought unsuccessfully for a land trade to prevent strip mining near Bryce Canyon National Park, and was among members of the delegation working hard but unsuccessfully for passage of the bill to ensure completion of the CUP.
He also led an unsuccessful fight with Garn to have two stretches of the Colorado River declared "wild and scenic rivers."
Rep. Wayne Owens, D-Utah
Owens had the second highest batting average in the delegation - .314 - behind only Hatch.
Of the 35 bills he introduced, four were passed as independent bills and seven others had provisions added to other legislation.
Legislation he had passed includes: compensating victims of atomic testing (with Hatch); including wording complaining of geographical disparities in Medicare payments; allowing placement of the Philo T. Farnsworth statue in the Capitol; calling for the United States to help ban mining in Antarctica.
Also: forcing annual disclosure of biological warfare agents used in military research; allowing a land exchange between Salt Lake City and the U.S. Forest Service (with Garn); creating a commission to study reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park; renaming a courts building for former Sen. Frank E. Moss; adding protection for Geneva Steel from imports; and giving part of Fort Douglas to the University of Utah.
One bill that died brought him a huge victory. It was designed to stop the proposed Thousand Springs Power plant in Nevada that he complained would bring pollution to Utah. Pressure created by his bill and public attacks helped force abandonment of the project by its sponsors.
Owens and Garn were also the two who pushed hardest for the ill-fated CUP bill.
Owens has also attracted some national attention from his work on the House Foreign Affairs Committee that led to meetings with such people as Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yassir Arafat. He has made numerous initiatives to try to move the peace process between Israel and Arab Palestinians.
Some of the less successful initiatives that Owens pushed was a proposal to make terms of House members last four years instead of two (Hansen introduced a similar bill too), and one to automatically make former presidents non-voting members of the House of Representatives.
Included Total Overall
Bills Bills in other into batting
introduced passed legislation law average
Garn 27 2 6 8 .296
Hatch 55 5 18 23 .418
Hansen 10 0 2 2 .200
Nielson 17 3 2 5 .176
Owens 35 4 7 11 .314