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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Local News Highlights: Daily Briefing

What You Need to Know About Utah Politics Today - February 6, 2014

Legislative leaders get behind a proposal to build a convention hotel in Salt Lake City. Lawmakers squash a proposed statewide non-discrimination measure. Group tells lawmakers to move the prison.


  • 35 days until the final day of the 2014 Legislature
  • 138 days until Utah's 2014 primary elections
  • 271 days to the 2014 midterm elections
  • 634 days to the 2015 elections
  • 699 days until the 2016 Iowa Caucuses
  • 1005 days to the 2016 presidential election
Today's Utah political news highlights:
  • House Speaker Becky Lockhart and other legislative leaders come out in favor of a proposal to help fund a convention hotel in downtown Salt Lake City [Tribune].
  • Sen. Jim Dabakis says the outside lawyer the state hired to defend Amendment 3 has serious ethical problems because of his connections with a conservative think tank and because he helped convince lawmakers to kill a proposed statewide non-discrimination measure this session [Tribune].
  • A group tasked with looking at the issue tells lawmakers the state should move the prison away from Draper [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • Speaker Lockhart says reaction to her opening day speech, in which she took a swing at Gov. Gary Herbert, was mixed [Daily Herald].
  • A bill to allow the purchase and use of cannabis supplements may have some big constitutional problems [Utah Policy, Tribune].
  • Utah Democrats unveil their education proposals for the 2014 session while taking a swipe at a plan to spend $300 million on classroom technology [Utah Policy, Tribune].
  • Sen. Peter Knudson wants to cap the amount of money that can be garnished from the wages of people who fail to repay their student loans [Tribune].
  • Sen. Daniel Thatcher is proposing a pair of bills to create a statewide hotline to help improve safety in public schools [Deseret News].
  • UDOT officials were wrong when they testified this week that there had been no fatal accidents in Utah's 80-mph-speed zones on the highway [Tribune].
  • Rep. Steve Eliason is proposing legislation to help reduce gun-related suicide by providing a rebate for gun owners who purchase a trigger lock or gun safe [Tribune].
  • Legislators are considering a couple of measures to improve the process of considering and passing legislation during the session [Utah Policy].
  • The Utah Transit Authority plans to give away 5,000 free one-week transit passes to help encourage more transit use and reduce pollution [Tribune].
On this day in history:
  • The United States won official recognition from France with the signing of a Treaty of Alliance in 1778.
  • Massachusetts ratified the U.S. Constitution, becoming the 6th state in the Union in 1788.
  • The Spanish-American War ended in 1899.
  • Ronald Reagan, the 40th president of the United States, was born in 1911.
  • The 20th Amendment to the Constitution was adopted in 1933.
  • The board game Monopoly went on sale for the first time in 1935.

Today At Utah Policy

Proposals Aim to Slow State Spending Growth
The battle over allocating new tax revenue growth every year in the Utah Legislature is always intense....

Bryan Schott's Political BS: Apocryphal Stories and the Air Quality Boogeyman
There's a story making the rounds on Utah's Capitol Hill about a private jet full of corporate executives looking to possibly move their business to the the Beehive state....

Utah Democrats Unveil Education Bills, Take Swipe at Classroom Technology Proposal
It was sort of a throwaway line at the beginning of the Utah Democrats' press conference unveiling their educational initiatives for the 2014 session....

Lawmakers Look to Tweak Legislative Process
Not that many will pass, or if they do they will be followed, but reform-mined legislators from both political parties are introducing a number of bills this session aimed at making the process of the Legislature better....

Cannabis Extract Bill May Run Into Constitutional Problems
It's hard enough to get conservative Utah legislators to vote for any bill that may be connected with marijuana or hemp.But put on a negative constitutional note, and the challenge becomes greater....

Lawmakers Grapple with Cost of Lockhart's Education Proposal
It's always tough for Utah legislators to say no to a request by a beloved leader for $5 million, $10 million or $20 million for a pet program, especially if the beloved leader is retiring....

'Tax Hike' or 'Revenue Increase'? The Devil is in the Details
Question: When is a vote for a tax hike not really a vote for a tax hike?Answer: When it's an election year....

Featured Items

Chamber Encourages Utah Olympic Pride During 2014 Olympic Winter Games
On Feb. 8, 2002, Salt Lake City welcomed the Olympic Winter Games-and now, more than a decade later, the Utah Olympic Legacy continues to shine....

Weekly Survey: Lockhart's Technology Proposal
What do you think of Speaker Becky Lockhart's proposal to spend as much as $300 million on technology in the classroom? Vote now!...

Local Headlines

Salt Lake Tribune

Op-ed: Recent events show Utah needs ethical lawyer as attorney general

Utah Dems want more money to train teachers, help schools

Utahns won't see further cuts in food stamps

Utah bill to OK cannabis supplements may be unconstitutional

Utah senator joins board of medical marijuana company

House speaker backs convention center hotel

Bill limits shelters' gassing of pets

Bill seeks to curb gun-related suicide with rebates

Lawmaker aims to lower wage garnishment for student loans

UDOT testimony wrong about no deaths in 80 mph zones

Crowds eager to comment on future of the Wasatch

Moving Draper prison seems to be in the cards

Deseret News

Mike Lee: The farm bill vs. America

House passes bill to limit use of carbon monoxide gas at animal shelters

Utah's state website earns 2 more awards for 2013, bringing total to 17

Proposed statewide anti-discrimination law on ice for this year

Utah's Democratic lawmakers urge investment in teachers

Move the prison, relocation authority tells lawmakers

Convention hotel could have statewide tourism benefits, Salt Lake County mayor says

Mountain Accord wants public input to direct the future of Wasatch Mountains

Bill would allow cannabis extract for seizure treatment in Utah


No slam dunks with Utah clean-air legislation (Standard-Examiner)

Legislature urged to combat human trafficking (Standard-Examiner)

Curtis: 2013 was banner year for Provo (Daily Herald)

Bill advanced for more teacher professional development days (Daily Herald)

Public reaction mixed on Lockhart's opening day speech (Daily Herald)

National Headlines

Eyeing a majority, Senate Republicans cool to House immigration plan (The Hill)

House GOP Struggles Over Debt Ceiling Strategy (TIME)

California, nine other states considering online gambling bills (Los Angeles Times)

In first visit to Congress, U.S. IRS chief pleads for fresh start (Reuters)

Airlines warned about possible toothpaste bombs ahead of Olympics (CNN)

U.S. lags in putting drones to commercial use, FAA should move faster, advocates say (UPI)

Obama's former Interior Secretary says Keystone pipeline should be built (Fox News)

Attack last year on Calif. power station raises wider security concerns, news report says (Washington Post)

California Drought Relief Bill Pits Farmers Against Fishermen (Bloomberg)

Michigan governor's budget includes money for Detroit pensions (Reuters)

Lockhart Says Fed May Revise Guidance to Signal Rate Stays Low (Bloomberg)

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Wise Words

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Amelia Earhart Quotations Page

Lighter Side

Iran Tourism
"Iran says they want to encourage more tourism from the United States. They might want to change that 'Death to America' slogan. A lot of families are not comfortable with that." Jay Leno Political Humor

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