LaVarr Webb

Well, veteran UtahPolicy.com Contributing Editor Bob Bernick is “back in full fellowship” (as we say in Utah) at the Legislature.

By all accounts, most of the legislative congregation welcomed the return of the prodigal son with open arms, even though Bernick was not very repentant – maybe even still a bit rebellious.

The Legislature took the unfortunate action of suspending Bernick’s credential for a week for the sin of entering a hallway and caucus room that had been put off-limits while Sen. Mitt Romney was visiting the Legislature. Bernick wanted to ask Romney a question. Bernick also argued to staff that he had the right to be there, but exited when a Highway Patrol trooper told him to leave.

Bernick (and the rest of us at UtahPolicy.com) was quite surprised when, a few days later, with no discussion or warning -- he was informed his media credential was lifted. He had no opportunity to talk to anyone or make his case or review the complaint against him apparently leveled in a Highway Patrol report.

It was especially a surprise because Bernick is the respected dean of Utah political reporters. He doesn’t write unfair stories, he doesn’t attack or slander elected officials, he understands the issues and he gets his facts right. The mission of UtahPolicy.com is to provide the news and information that members of the Utah public policy community need to do their jobs well.

Bernick is a big boy and he’s now back at work. But, on a personal basis, it was hurtful, a real slap in the face for someone who has admirably covered the Legislature for 40 years. It took a very long drive – across Utah’s wide-open spaces to Delta, no less – to clear his head and dissipate the angry feelings. I don’t believe he deserved the treatment he got.

It’s nice that a lot of legislators, including some key leaders, went out of their way to apologize to him and say they didn’t like the way he was treated.