Good Wednesday morning from Salt Lake City. Today is the 347th day of the year. There are 18 days remaining in 2017.
20 days until candidates can declare their intent to gather signatures for the 2018 election (1/2/2018)
40 days until the opening day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (1/22/2018)
85 days until the final day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (3/8/2018)
86 days until the filing period for candidates in the 2018 election opens (3/9/2018)
92 days until the filing deadline for the 2018 elections (3/15/2018)
97 days until the statewide caucus meetings for Utah Republicans and Democrats (3/20/2018)
129 days until the GOP State Convention (4/21/2018)
195 days until the 2018 Primary Election (6/26/2018)
328 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
1,056 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)
Today's political TL; DR -
POLL: Nearly 2/3 of Utahns say they support the newly revamped Count My Vote ballot initiative [Utah Policy].
Lawmakers will have an extra $483 million to spend next year according to new revenue numbers [Utah Policy].
Gov. Gary Herbert is on board with the tax overhaul plan being pushed by Congressional Republicans [Associated Press].
Four Utah County legislators call on embattled County Commissioner Greg Graves to resign following allegations of bullying behavior toward employees [Deseret News, Tribune].
Utah lawmakers may not be able to give themselves a recommended pay raise this year because of the looming 2018 election cycle [Tribune].
Weber County Commissioner Kerry Gibson, who frequently pushed back against the idea of human-caused climate change, is resigning to take a job with the Utah Department of Natural Resources [Tribune].
Environmental groups say Rep. Chris Stewart's proposal for a new national park in the former Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is a "bait-and-switch" [Deseret News, Tribune].
The Salt Lake City Council approves a five-year housing plan to provide more affordable housing for residents [Tribune].
The state is doing a better job tracking data on water use after a critical audit of the Utah Department of Natural Resources two years ago [Deseret News].
In a stunning upset, Democrat Doug Jones shocks Republican Roy Moore to apparently win the Alabama Senate race. If the results hold, Jones will become the first Democrat elected to the U.S. Senate from that state in 25 years. Jones's win was also a stinging defeat for President Donald Trump, who went all-in with his support of Moore [Washington Post].
Jones's apparent win in Alabama was driven by suburban and black voters, who came out for Jones in significant numbers [New York Times].
So far, Roy Moore has refused to concede the election. A recount is only possible if the margin of victory is within 0.5%, and that may not happen [Election Law Blog].
The knives are coming out for Steve Bannon among Republicans who are blaming the former White House strategist for the GOP losing a Senate seat in reliably Republican Alabama [The Hill].
FBI agents investigating Russia's interference in the 2016 election exchanged text messages that referred to President Donald Trump as an "idiot." One of the agents was removed from the investigation after the messages came to light while the other had already moved to another assignment. Republicans say the texts should prompt the FBI to appoint a second special counsel to investigate political bias in the Department of Justice [New York Times].
Sen. Chuck Grassley is urging President Donald Trump to not move ahead with two controversial nominees for federal judgeships [The Hill].
Republicans in Congress are considering a plan to set the corporate tax rate at 21% while dropping the top individual rate to 37% as part of their tax overhaul package [The Hill].
Republicans want to make their changes to the tax code effective as of January 1, 2018, which could cause chaos for employers and taxpayers [Politico].
Donald Trump Jr. wants the House Intelligence Committee to investigate how information was leaked from his closed-door interview with the committee last week [New York Times].
President Donald Trump's slow pace of filling key government jobs has left interim employees filling many slots. Now, some of those stand-ins may be violating time limits on how long acting appointees can stay in those positions [Bloomberg].
Sen. Chuck Schumer has contacted law enforcement after an apparent effort to push a fake sexual harassment claim against him [Axios].
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the United States is open to possible talks with North Korea [Fox News].
The Palestinian president says he will not accept any role for the United States in the Mideast peace process "from now on" following President Donald Trump's declaration that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel [Associated Press].
On this day in history:
1545 - The Council of Trent begins.
1577 - Sir Francis Drake sets sail from England on his round-the-world voyage.
1636 - The Massachusetts Bay Colony organizes three militia regiments to defend the colony against the Pequot Indians. This is recognized as the founding of the National Guard in the United States.
1816 - The first savings bank in the U.S., the Provident Institution for Savings, opened in Boston.
1937 - The Nanking Massacre began, during which Japanese troops killed between 40,000 and 300,000 Chinese civilians and soldiers.
1981 - Martial law was imposed in Poland.
2000 - The Supreme Court halted the Florida presidential vote recount, giving the presidential election to George W. Bush.
2003 - Saddam Hussein was captured by U.S. troops in a small underground hideout southeast of his hometown of Tikrit, ending an eight-month manhunt.
Weekly survey: Hatch's future/Santa's list By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor Sen. Orrin Hatch is expected to announce his future political plans by the end of the month. What do you think his decision will be? Also, let us know who in Utah politics belongs on Santa's naughty and nice lists. Take our weekly survey right now....