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Thursday, January 19, 2017

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Local News Highlights: Daily Briefing

Morning Must Reads for Thursday, January 19, 2017

Good Thursday morning from Salt Lake City. Today is the 19th day of the year. There are 346 days remaining in 2017.

Gov. Gary Herbert gets a 63% approval rating from Utah voters. Lawmakers could make some changes to the Zion Curtain this year. Federal agencies have been investigating whether the Kremlin gave financial support to Donald Trump's presidential campaign.

The clock:

  • Donald Trump is inaugurated as the 45th President tomorrow (1/20/2017)
  • 4 days until the first day of the 2017 Utah Legislature (1/23/2017)
  • 49 days until the final day of the 2017 Utah Legislature (3/9/2017)
  • 292 days until the 2017 municipal elections (11/7/2017)
  • 656 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 1384 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

Ten talking points for Thursday:

  1. Popularity contest. Utah voters give Gov. Gary Herbert a 63% approval rating, while nearly half say they have no idea who House Speaker Greg Hughes is [Utah Policy].

  2. Budget and booze. Sen. Jerry Stevenson says 2017 will be a difficult budget year, but he thinks there's some room for lawmakers to address liquor policy, the so-called Zion Curtain in particular [Utah Policy]. Here's the video of our interview with Stevenson [Utah Policy].

  3. Whoa! The FBI and five other federal agencies have been investigating for months whether the Kremlin covertly gave financial aid to Donald Trump's presidential campaign [McClatchy DC].

  4. Wait, what? Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Donald Trump's nominee for Energy Secretary, initially thought the job meant he was going to be a global ambassador for the oil and gas industry [New York Times].

  5. Closed-door meeting. Rep. Jason Chaffetz will meet next week in private with Walter Shaub, the head of the Office of Governmental Ethics. Chaffetz requested the meeting after Shaub publicly disparaged President-elect Donald Trump's ethics (or lack thereof) [Politico]. American Fork lawyer Damian Kidd says he's mulling challenging Chaffetz for the GOP nomination in 2018 because Chaffetz is more interested in promoting himself than doing his job [Tribune].

  6. Double whoa! A scathing audit of the Unified Fire Authority found former Chief Michael Jensen, who is a Salt Lake County councilman, misused public funds. There is a real possibility that the audit could lead to felony charges against Jensen and his former deputy [Utah Policy, Deseret News, Tribune].

  7. School funding fight. Lawmakers again sound the alarm over a proposed income tax hike to raise more money for Utah's schools, saying the legislative budgeting process is a better way to accomplish that goal [Deseret News].

  8. Polygamy legislation. Utah polygamists plot their opposition to proposed legislation that seeks to clarify that polygamy is a felony in Utah [Tribune].

  9. Economic news. Utah economic analysts say the state's economy should continue to expand during the next year [Deseret News].

  10. It's getting hot in here. 2016 was officially the hottest year on record since record keeping began in 1880 [CNN].

On this day in history:

  • 1861 - Georgia seceded from the Union.
  • 1955 - A presidential news conference was filmed for TV for the first time, with the permission of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
  • 1966 - Indira Gandhi was elected prime minister of India.
  • 1979 - Former Attorney General John Mitchell was released on parole after serving 19 months in federal prison for Watergate-related crimes.

Today At Utah Policy

Poll: Herbert's Approval Ratings Riding High; Hughes is Unknown to Most Utahns

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, fresh off a landslide victory in his third gubernatorial race, has a fine 63 percent approval rating, a new UtahPolicy poll finds....

2017 Legislature Preview: Budget and Zion Curtain

Get ready for a tough budget year in 2017....

Homeless Issue Trips Up SLC's First Gay Mayor

Democratsacross the country celebrated the November 2015election of Mayor Jackie Biskupski, hailing it as an unlikelybreakthroughfor "equality" in the capital of conservativeUtah. But her controversial approach to addressingthe city's homeless problem has taken the shine off...

'I Have Questions with Bryan Schott' - Sen. Jerry Stevenson

Utah Senator Jerry Stevenson sits down with Managing Editor Bryan Schott to preview the 2017 Legislature....

Audits of the Unified Fire Authority and the Unified Fire Service Area Finds History of Improper Personal Enrichment and Lax Oversight

The Office of the State Auditor released audits of the Unified Fire Authority and the Unified Fire Service Area.  ...

Inside the Inaugural with Stephen Studdert - Part 3 (video)

Our countdown to Inauguration Day continues. ...

Inside the Inaugural with Stephen Studdert - Part 2 (video)

The clock continues to tick on the Obama presidency and there's no place more hectic than the inaugural planning committee headquarters....

Podcast: Sen. Jerry Stevenson Previews the 2017 Utah Legislature

Utah Senator Jerry Stevenson sits down with Managing Editor Bryan Schott to preview the 2017 Legislature....

Weekly Survey: What is the Biggest Issue Facing Lawmakers in 2017

The 2017 Utah Legislature gets underway next week. What is the biggest issue that lawmakers will confront during their 45 days on the Hill? Vote now in our weekly survey....

Policy News

Salt Lake Chamber Announces 2017 Legislative Priorities and Efforts to Guide State's Future Economic Direction and Competitiveness
Tuesday, the Salt Lake Chamber held its inaugural Business and Policy Summit to preview the business community’s priorities for the upcoming 2017 General Legislative Session with the release of the 2017 Public Policy Guide....

Sens. Lee, Cassiday, Carper, Johnson, and Booker Reintroduce the Modernizing Government Travel Act
Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Tom Carper (D-DE), Ron Johnson (R-WI), and Cory Booker (D-NJ) reintroduced the Modernizing Government Travel Act. ...

Mueller Industries to Open Copper Manufacturing in Iron County
Mueller Industries and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development announced the manufacturer will expand to Utah, adding up to 125 jobs to the community....

USTAR Announces 20 UTAG Awardees from Five Utah Universities
The Utah Science Technology and Research initiative has awarded 20 researchers grants in the first round of its University Technology Acceleration Grant program.  ...

Local Headlines

Salt Lake Tribune

Swallow says judge is biased, wants her off case as trial looms

Audit says former fire authority leaders misused funds; criminal probes recommended

State: Shurtleff prosecutor should not testify at Swallow trial

Development near Trolley Square moves ahead after City Council OKs rezone

Koerber faces reindictment of Ponzi charges that his attorney says are no 'more true this time'

Obamacare replacement will define Trump presidency, Utah hospital official says

Possible GOP challenger to Rep. Jason Chaffetz emerges

Deseret News

Dan Liljenquist: Trump's opportunity to restore constitutional balance

Editorial: Education tax hike initiative is creating the right kind of conversation

Ex-A.G. John Swallow claims judge biased, wants her removed from case

Lawmakers discuss alternate solutions for Utah's education budget

Elders Oaks, Holland counsel young adults regarding political divisions and life's challenges

Utah economy is strong, but this is no time to grow complacent

Utah Medical Association makes stance against 'medical marijuana' phrase, says it's deceptive

Salt Lake airport 'vulnerable' but 'not a soft target,' chief says

Utah health care exec says Obamacare changes are inevitable

Utah economic growth should continue in '17, analysts say

Scathing audit says ex-chiefs overbilled, hid expenses


Meet Utah County's 2017 legislators (Daily Herald)

Utah Democrats to regroup in '17, GOP leader skeptical efforts will pay off (Standard-Examiner)

'No safe level of pollution': Environmental, health advocates discuss air quality (Logan Herald Journal)

National Headlines

Lawmakers in both parties slam Obama commutation on Manning (The Hill)

House and Senate Dems split over anti-Trump tactics (Politico)

In an epic final speech, Joe Biden warns that the progressive democratic world order is at risk of collapse (CNBC)

What time will Trump be president? A guide to the day (BBC News)

In Manning clemency call, Obama sought to reduce sentence viewed as 'nuts' (Washington Post)

At EPA nominee's hearing, money becomes a weapon for both parties (Washington Post)

Senate seeks deal on Trump nominees (The Hill)

Supreme Court Weighs Whether Bush Officials Can Be Sued Over Post-9/11 Abuse (New York Times)

Obama Updates CIA Rules for Handling Americans' Information (New York Times)

Cuomo warns Trump on Obamacare cuts (USA Today)

Commerce nominee Ross says top priority is renegotiating NAFTA (Washington Post)

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Wise Words

Protesting Today
"Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon, which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals." Martin Luther King, Jr.

Lighter Side

"Ben Affleck was patted down by TSA security at Los Angeles International Airport this week. Though when it was over, the woman whispered, "I'm not in the TSA." Jimmy FAllon