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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

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Local News Highlights: Daily Briefing

Morning Must Reads for Wednesday, January 11, 2016

Good Wednesday morning from Salt Lake City. Today is the 11th day of the year. There are 354 days remaining in 2017.

Utahns give Sen. Orrin Hatch a 46% approval rating. "Our Schools Now" says they couldn't wait any longer for lawmakers to step up and fund schools. Intelligence officials address unconfirmed reports Russia may have compiled embarrassing information on Donald Trump.

The clock:

  • 9 days until Donald Trump is inaugurated as the 45th President (1/20/2017)
  • 12 days until the first day of the 2017 Utah Legislature (1/23/2017)
  • 57 days until the final day of the 2017 Utah Legislature (3/9/2017)
  • 300 days until the 2017 municipal elections (11/7/2017)
  • 664 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 1392 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

Ten talking points for Wednesday:

  1. Hatch approval rating. Sen. Orrin Hatch gets a 46% approval rating from Utahns, which means he could have some work to do if he plans to run for a seventh term in 2018 [Utah Policy].

  2. Not willing to wait for it. Nolan Karras of the "Our Schools Now" group says they don't think Utah lawmakers or Gov. Gary Herbert have the political will to significantly boost funding for Utah's public schools, which is why they're taking the question directly to the ballot [Utah Policy]. Here's the video of our full interview with Karras [Utah Policy].

  3. Bombshell rumors. Donald Trump, President Barack Obama and key members of congress have been briefed by intelligence leaders about unsubstantiated reports that Russia has compiled compromising information on Trump and that his campaign traded information with Russia during the presidential campaign. Trump fired back calling the allegations "fake news" [Politico]. For what it's worth, Russia claims that they don't have any embarrassing information about Trump [Wall Street Journal]. If you're feeling brave (trust us, some of the information in the report is very NSFW), you can read the alleged report here [BuzzFeed]. The allegations add another level of intrigue to Trump's first press conference in months scheduled for Wednesday morning [Politico].

  4. "Yes, we did." President Barack Obama delivers his farewell address in Chicago, urging his supporters to push back against toxic political rhetoric [Politico].

  5. Confirmation battle. Sen. Jeff Sessions, Donald Trump's pick for Attorney General, pushed back against charges he holds racist views during his confirmation hearing on Tuesday [Wall Street Journal]. Sen. Orrin Hatch says Democratic efforts to stop Sessions being confirmed will fail [Tribune].

  6. Tillerson faces Congress. Donald Trump's nominee for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, is expected to say Russia is a "danger" during his confirmation hearing on Wednesday. The statement is surprising as Tillerson cultivated deep ties with Russia during his time as CEO of Exxon Mobil Corp. [Bloomberg].

  7. Expectations vs. reality. Donald Trump wants Congress to repeal Obamacare and adopt a replacement within days of him taking office [New York Times]. Congressional Republicans are freaking out a little trying to figure out how to accomplish that [Politico]. 

  8. Outdoor Retailers brouhaha. Peter Metcalf, co-founder of Black Diamond, says the annual Outdoor Retailers Show should move away from Utah because of the opposition to the new Bears Ears Monument from Utah political leaders. Metcalf also blasted the "all-out assault" on public lands coming from the Utah Legislature. Gov. Gary Herbert pushed back against Metcalf, saying Utah has "always been a public lands state" [Deseret News, Tribune].

  9. Ensuring testimony. Kent Torgensen, the former Cheif Deputy Utah Attorney General, was arrested in Florida Monday night and brought to Utah to ensure he will testify in the upcoming putlic corruption trial of former Utah Attorney General John Swallow. Torgensen was released after a short hearing [Deseret News, Tribune].

  10. Anti-LDS ads. A TV ad campaign targeting the LDS Church's tax-exempt status, led by prominent gay-rights activist Fred Karger, will start hitting the airwaves in Utah this week [Tribune, Deseret News].

On this day in history:

  • 1785 - The Continental Congress convened in New York City.
  • 1861 - Alabama seceded from the United States.
  • 1935 - Aviator Amelia Earhart completed the first solo flight ever made between the Hawaiian Islands and the American mainland.
  • 1964 - Surgeon General Luther Terry released a report saying smoking cigarettes is a definite "health hazard."

Today At Utah Policy

As Hatch Considers 2018 Bid, Poll Shows Good News/Bad News

As Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch decides whether to seek an unprecedented 7th term next year, his approval ratings in a new survey show some good news and bad news....

'Our Schools Now' say Tax Hike is Needed Because Lawmakers Lack Political Will to Adequately Fund Utah's Schools

The backers of a proposal to put an income tax hike on the 2018 ballot in order to raise money for Utah's schools say they're tired of waiting for lawmakers to act....

'I Have Questions with Bryan Schott' - Nolan Karras of 'Our Schools Now' (with video)

Managing Editor Bryan Schott speaks with former Utah House Speaker Nolan Karras, who is with the "Our Schools Now" group that aims to put an income tax increase on the 2018 ballot....

Weekly Survey: What Will Republicans Do with Obamacare?

Congressional Republicans are debating what to do with the Affordable Care Act. Will they "repeal and replace" now, later, or will nothing happen? Vote now in our weekly survey....

Podcast: A Conversation with Nolan Karras of 'Our Schools Now'

Managing Editor Bryan Schott speaks with former Utah House Speaker Nolan Karras, who is with the "Our Schools Now" group that aims to put an income tax increase on the 2018 ballot....

For Your Planning Purposes: Key Dates for Political Year 2017

2017 is shaping up as an utterly fascinating political year, especially at the national level. The Trump administration will keep all of us entertained, and we’ll see how Republican domination of Washington turns out....

Policy News

Rep. Chris Stewart named House Intelligence Subcommittee Chairman
The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence announced that Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah) will serve as the Chairman of the Department of Defense Intelligence and Overhead Architecture Subcommittee....

Press Release: UAMPS Honors Key Leaders & Organizations
Several key leaders who have made significant contributions to public power were recently honored at the Utah Associated Municipal Systems (UAMPS) 2016 Member Meeting in Salt Lake City....

Hatch Urges Confirmation for Attorney General Nominee Senator Jeff Sessions in Senate Hearing
Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, the senior Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, participated in the confirmation hearing for Senator Jeff Sessions, President-elect Trump’s nominee for Attorney General of the United States....

Congressman Stewart Invites Utahns to Make Valentine's Day Cards For Veterans
Congressman Chris Stewart (R-Utah) is hosting a Valentine’s Day Card Drive to thank and honor our Utah veterans....

Local Headlines

Salt Lake Tribune

Op-ed: Time for Outdoor Retailers to leave Utah and its anti-recreation politics

Salt Lake City unveils 'micro-unit' affordable housing plan - 250-500 square feet for about $542 monthly

Metro township officials recite first oaths

More Swallow intrigue: Former A.G. deputy, a key witness, arrested to ensure he shows up for Swallow trial

Utah Lawmaker abandons bill to avoid abortion fight

Utah guv pushes back on Black Diamond exec's call for Outdoor Retailer convention to leave the state

Hatch says Democratic attempts to derail Sessions A.G. nomination doomed

Utah Rep. Chris Stewart selected to lead House subcommittee on intelligence

Salt Lake City, County leaders agree on homeless goals, but rift opens on costs, timing

Deseret News

Richard Davis: How will Barack Obama be remembered?

Paul Mero: The coming challenges of intergenerational poverty

Editorial: 'MormonLeaks' have unintended consequences for democracy

Salt Lake County Council approves McAdams' new deputy mayor

Black Diamond co-founder calls on outdoor trade show to leave Utah over public lands stance

Inversion aversion: Research, initiative strike at Utah's pollution problem

Chaffetz plans to block new D.C. assisted suicide law

Long road ahead for new homeless model; downtown's Road Home closure date foggy


Ogden makes $700,000 in funding for Lantern House a legislative priority (Standard-Examiner)

Incoming legislator Logan Wilde prepares for his first session (Park Record)

National Headlines

Obamaworld gathers for farewell speech therapy session (Politico)

Media say hacked emails are critical, but can't say why (Washington Examiner)

U.S. Small-Business Optimism Index Surges by Most Since 1980 (Bloomberg)

Black pastors rally in Washington for AG nominee Jeff Sessions (USA Today)

California faces budget gap amid uncertainty over Obamacare (The Hill)

Hillary Clinton won't rule out running for New York mayor. She should. (Washington Post)

Clinton warrior David Brock offers an apology - and his allegiance - to Bernie Sanders (Washington Post)

Trump Tells Congress to Repeal Health Care Law 'Very Quickly' (New York Times)

Jared Kushner Named Senior White House Adviser to Donald Trump (New York Times)

Rex Tillerson's Entirely Reasonable Pay Deal With Exxon (Bloomberg)

Trump's Proposed Tax Cuts Could Boost U.S. and Global Growth, Says World Bank (Wall Street Journal)

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Wise Words

Financial Reward
"The avoidance of taxes is the only intellectual pursuit that still carries any reward." John Maynard Keynes

Lighter Side

Won't Happen
"Donald Trump tweeted at North Korea after they announced plans to test an intercontinental nuclear weapon. Trump tweeted, "It won't happen." I'd like to believe he's right, but "It won't happen" is exactly what everyone said about Trump becoming president." James Corden

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