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In brief: Garn steps down from Legislature

Sun., March 14, 2010, midnight

Salt Lake City – Utah’s House majority leader resigned from the Legislature Saturday, two days after acknowledging he paid a woman $150,000 to keep quiet about a nude hot-tubbing incident that took place a quarter century ago when she was a teenager.

Republican Rep. Kevin Garn’s Thursday night confession came in a speech before House colleagues and stunned this conservative state. On Saturday, he apologized in an e-mail to House Speaker David Clark for becoming a distraction.

“After discussing this matter with my family, I have decided that it is in the best interests of them, my colleagues and the people of Utah,” he wrote.

Garn, 55, acknowledged the indiscretion with the legal minor immediately after the Legislature adjourned for the session.

“Although we did not have any sexual contact, it was still clearly inappropriate – and it was my fault,” he said from the House floor Thursday.

Lawmakers responded with a standing ovation for his honesty and embraced him – a move some found offensive given the nature of what Garn was saying. In hindsight, the ovation may not have been the best move, but it shouldn’t be misconstrued to indicate support for unethical behavior, Clark said Saturday.

FAA orders check on 737 tail flaps

Seattle – The Federal Aviation Administration has issued an emergency airworthiness directive demanding that airlines check a mechanism that controls tail flaps on about 600 Boeing 737s.

The directive was issued Friday and concerns flaps on the horizontal tails of the jets. On March 2, a Ryanair 737-800 en route from the Netherlands to Madrid, Spain, experienced severe vibrations in flight and had to make an unscheduled landing in Belgium.

Inspection afterward found “extensive damage” to the left elevator, which is a movable flap on the horizontal tail that controls the pitch of the airplane, up or down.

Pelosi confident reform will pass

San Francisco – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Saturday she’s confident the House will pass health care legislation and dismissed Republican criticism that she did not have enough votes for the measure.

“We’re very excited about where we are and will not be deterred by estimates that have no basis in fact,” she said during a dedication of the renamed Lim P. Lee Post Office in San Francisco. The post office was renamed after the nation’s first Chinese-American postmaster.

Pelosi declined to say when House members would vote on a health care bill, or how many votes that she had secured.

House Democratic leaders are pressing for a vote on their bill as early as this coming week.


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