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Good Monday morning from Salt Lake City. Support for "Our Schools Now" is on a bit of an upswing. Our "Political Insiders" say Sen. Orrin Hatch should retire, but they don't think he will. President Donald Trump plans to hit the campaign trail for Republicans in 2018. Congress has until the end of the week to fund the government.

Tick tock:

Support for "Our Schools Now" ticks upward

A new poll finds that half of Utahns favor an income and sales tax hike to provide an extra $700 million annually for public schools. That support is up slightly from our previous poll found just 48% of Utahns supported the tax increases [Utah Policy].

Will Hatch run again? Should he?

Our "Political Insider" panel overwhelmingly thinks Sen. Orrin Hatch will decide to run for an eighth term in 2018, but they also say he probably shouldn't. [Utah Policy]

Tax overhaul package nears the finish line, but the government could run out of money on Friday

House and Senate Republicans are nearing passage of their massive tax overhaul package, with a final vote expected this week. 

Here's who would come out ahead, and who is poised to get the short end of the stick from the tax package. [New York Times]

After the plan passes, Republicans will have less than a week to cut a deal with Democrats to fund the government to avoid a shutdown. So far, they haven't been very successful getting Democrats on board. [Washington Post]

One of the sticking points to a funding deal - what will Congress do about DACA? Democrats want a vote on legislation to help "Dreamers," and there is talk of tying the must-pass budget bill to that legislation, but others say it's increasingly unlikely they'll be able to pass a fix for DACA by the end of the year. [Houston Chronicle]

Another email scandal?

Special counsel Robert Mueller has obtained thousands of emails from the Trump transition team, but Trump's lawyers say that wasn't legal.

Trump's lawyers say the emails should have been shielded from the investigation. The emails and documents were obtained from the General Services Administration, which hosted the emails from the transition. The special counsel says they procured the emails legally.

This latest point of contention should fuel the increasing attacks from Republicans against Mueller's investigation. [New York Times]

Rumor mill: Trump will fire Mueller before Christmas

Friday could be a big day for the Mueller investigation...or not.

California Democrat Jakie Speier says rumors are flying in Washington that Trump will fire special counsel Robert Mueller before the Christmas holiday, possibly on Friday.

"The rumor on the Hill when I left yesterday was that the president was going to make a significant speech at the end of next week. And on Dec. 22, when we are out of D.C., he was going to fire Robert Mueller," said Speier.

White House special counsel Ty Cobb has denied the rumor [KQED News]

President Trump on Sunday shot down those rumors saying he would not fire Mueller. [Washington Post]

Trump plans to hit the campaign trail for Republicans in 2018

President Donald Trump will hit the road to campaign for Republicans ahead of next year's midterm elections. 

Trump reportedly has already met with 116 GOP candidates with an eye toward getting involved in House, Senate, and Gubernatorial races. He might even take sides during some contested GOP primary races.

Trump is reportedly getting involved because he knows holding on to a GOP majority in Congress will determine the future of his legislative agenda.

"For the president, this isn't about adulation and cheering crowds," White House political director Bill Stepien said in an interview. "This is about electing and re-electing Republicans." [Washington Post].

Trump gives Russia an assist on terrorism

Russian President Vladimir Putin phoned President Donald Trump on Sunday to thank him for sharing CIA intelligence about a bomb threat in St. Petersberg. Russia says they arrested two men last week who were in possession of a lot of explosives and weapons, The two were allegedly preparing to carry out a suicide attack. [ABC News]

The night the lights went out in Georgia

The power is back on at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta after travelers were stranded in darkness for nearly 11 hours. The outage crippled the airport and resulted in more than 1,400 flights in and out of the airport being canceled.

The outage was caused by a fire at an underground electrical facility. That facility also housed the switch that could have activated the backup power system. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]

Quick links:

Today in history:

Utah Foundation ad

Today At Utah Policy

Support for proposed tax hike to fund public education inches up

Support for the Our Schools Now sales and personal income tax hikes for public schools has risen slightly, retaining its majority opinion, a new survey shows....

'Political Insiders' expect Hatch to run for another term in 2018, but say he shouldn't

Sen. Orrin Hatch is expected to announce his political future before the end of 2017 or early next year. Our "Political Insiders" think he will opt to run for an eighth term next year, but they don't think he should. ...

Poll: Half of Americans say they want Democrats to control Congress

A new NBC/Wall Street Journal survey finds half of Americans want Democrats to control Congress. It's the largest advantage for Democrats since before the 2008 midterm elections....

Chaffetz: It's time for Jeff Sessions to go (with video)

Former Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz says it's time for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to go....

Give us your nominations for the top Utah political news stories of 2017

What do you think were the top Utah political news stories of 2017? Was it President Trump slashing two national monuments? Jason Chaffetz resigning? Give us your nominations....

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Policy News

USTAR announces newest TAP awards
USTAR's Governing Authority approved grant funding for 14 Utah companies through the Technology Acceleration Program (TAP)....

GOED appoints Aerospace and IT Industry Director
The Governor's Office of Economic Development (GOED) has appointed Chanel Flores as the director of the IT and aerospace and defense clusters. ...

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Local Headlines

Salt Lake Tribune

Op-ed: For reasonable liquor laws, voters must bypass the Utah Legislature

Editorial: Bureaucratic kinks may block the Lake Powell Pipeline. Good.

Editorial: Who wins with lower transit fare? All of us

Scientists say the Great Salt Lake is disappearing, but could Utah residents save it?

Gehrke: Herbert's idea of charging drivers by the mile has some potholes to address

Utah County commissioner accused of sexual harassment was previously investigated for spanking female students while he was a high school club adviser

After bumping up the child tax credit to appease Utah's Sen. Mike Lee and Florida's Marco Rubio, Republicans now appear to have the votes to pass the massive tax overhaul

Rolly: Utah GOP loyalists vote to accept $400K bailout and keep lawsuit on track, but party factions, including the top leader, could derail the plan

She was a teen mother, a high school dropout and an onion-field worker - now she's Utah's first female sheriff

'It doesn't matter what you say': In Utah, the agency that investigates job discrimination is so mistrusted that some lawyers go to the feds instead

Utahraptor vs. Allosaurus: How a 10-year-old dinosaur fan persuaded a Utah senator to start a legislative battle over the state fossil

Allegations of sexual misconduct are nothing new in Utah politics - here are 8 big cases from the past

State Rep. Ed Redd says he won't seek re-election next year

Deseret News

Frank R. Pignanelli and LaVarr Webb: Tumultuous 2017 sets stage for 2018 political year

Mike Lee, Mia Love: It's time to modernize higher education

Jay Evensen: Why Utahns can sympathize with Trump's Dennis Rodman problem

Op-ed: Desire and opportunity - both are needed for success

Editorial: Gov. Herbert's 2018 budget proposal hits the right notes

Report: Utah prison population down, returning parolees up

Supreme Court weighing canyon water case

National Ability Center wants Legislature to support programs for vets

First priority for new UTA chairman: 'Establish our good name'

Sen. Orrin Hatch slams 'regulatory acrobatics' needed for cannabis research


Weber County Commissioner Gibson denies wrongdoing, says he'll stay in post (Standard-Examiner)

Weber County commissioners shuffled duties before news of a police inquiry (Standard-Examiner)

Funding the Ogden BRT: UTA says Prop 1 money likely off the table (Standard-Examiner)

Editorial: Summit County tax increase may not be pleasant, but it is necessary (Park Record)

Council unanimously thumbs up property tax hike for Summit County (Park Record)

National Headlines

Trump transition lawyer: Mueller improperly obtained documents in Russia probe (FOX News)

Trump: I'm not considering firing special counsel Mueller (Associated Press)

GOP faces 5-day scramble to pass tax bill, avoid government shutdown (Washington Post)

Pope: Media sins by dredging up, sensationalizing old news (Associated Press)

S. Korean, U.S. forces hold drill for removing North Korea's WMDs (Yonhap)

NBC Made Payment To Staffer After Sexual Harassment Claim Against Chris Matthews (Daily Caller)

McCain, battling brain cancer, leaves Washington for Christmas break before contentious vote on tax bill (Washington Post)

CNN political commentator comes under fire for calling a Georgetown student an 'anti-Semitic bigot' because he was wearing a 'bacon suit' (Daily Mail)

Glowing Auras and 'Black Money': The Pentagon's Mysterious UFO Program (New York Times)

Convicted of a marijuana crime in California? It might go away, thanks to legal pot. (Washington Post)

Kansas Democrat Andrea Ramsey quits congressional race amid sexual harassment allegations (CNN)

Wise Words


"Eagles come in all shapes and sizes, but you will recognize them chiefly by their attitudes." E. F. Schumacher

Lighter Side

Roomba Roy

"Roy Moore, you know Roy Moore - the leather-vested loser in the race for Senate in Alabama? Still hasn't conceded the election. Even though he lost. Not only has he not conceded, he released a YouTube video bemoaning the fact that immorality is sweeping the land. If immorality is sweeping the land, you, my friend, are a Roomba." Jimmy Kimmel

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