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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

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Local News Highlights: Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know for Wednesday - July 29, 2015

Good Wednesday morning from Salt Lake City. 

Utahns want redistricting done by an independent commission. Sen. Mike Lee is angering his fellow Republicans in the Senate. Gov. Gary Herbert tours the Utah State Prison.

The clock:

  • 13 days to the Utah municipal primary elections - (8/11/2015)
  • 97 days to the 2015 election - (11/3/2015)
  • 173 days to the 2016 Iowa Caucus (tentative) - (1/18/2016)
  • 180 days to the opening day of the 2016 Utah Legislature - (1/25/2016)
  • 181 days to the 2016 New Hampshire Primary - (1/26/2016)
  • 225 days to the final day of the 2016 Utah Legislature - (3/10/2016)
  • 335 days to the 2016 Utah primary election - (6/28/2016)
  • 468 days until the 2016 presidential election - (11/8/2016)

Wednesday's top-10 headlines:

  1. Most Utahns say redistricting should be done by an independent commission and not the legislature [Utah Policy].
  2. Sen. Mike Lee is not making any friends with his efforts to force a vote on repealing Obamacare [Tribune].
  3. Jonathan Pollard, who was convicted in the 1980s for spying for Israel, will be released on parole in November [Washington Post].
  4. Gov. Gary Herbert takes a tour of the Utah State Prison in Draper to evaluate whether the facility should be moved or rebuilt on the current site [Tribune, Deseret News].
  5. The four challengers to Mayor Ralph Becker gang up on him in their latest debate [Deseret News].
  6. Becker announces a new effort to crack down on drug trafficking around the downtown homeless shelter [Tribune, Deseret News, ABC 4, Fox 13, KUER].
  7. The Salt Lake City Council is considering downsizing a proposed $150 million bond to close the Glendale Golf Course and turn it into a regional park [Tribune].
  8. Utahns, who responded to the Envision Utah survey about the state's future, say they want more open space and outdoor recreation opportunities [Tribune, KSL].
  9. There could be big financial fallout for the Boy Scouts of America if the LDS Church leaves the organization over their decision to allow gay adult leaders [Washington Post, Tribune, Deseret News].
  10. It looks like the song "Happy Birthday" was ripped off from a 1927 song, meaning any copyright for the birthday tune should have expired long ago [Ars Technica].

On this day in history:

  • 1588 - Spain's "Invincible Armada" was defeated by an English naval force under the command of Charles Howard and Francis Drake.
  • 1914 - The first transcontinental telephone linkup was completed between San Francisco and New York City.
  • 1981 - Britain's Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer at St. Paul's Cathedral in London.
  • 2008 - Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, was indicted on seven felony counts of concealing more than a quarter of a million dollars in house renovations and gifts he received from an oil contractor. A judge later dismissed the case because prosecutors withheld evidence. Stevens died in a 2010 plane crash.

Today At Utah Policy

Most Utahns Want Redistricting Done by Independent Commission

A majority of Utahns think the authority to draw political boundaries should be taken out of the hands of the Utah Legislature and given to an independent commission....

Commendations to Departed Members of the Utah State Office of Education

During the past year, a series of terminations and changes at the Utah State Office of Education may cause some readers to wonder what is happening. I do not intend to explain. I am not sure I could....

Poll: Burbank's Ouster Taking a Political Toll on Becker's Re-Election Chances

A slim majority of Salt Lake City residents say Mayor Ralph Becker did not act appropriately when he forced out former Police Chief Chris Burbank....

Chaffetz Calls for IRS Chief's Head

House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz says John Koskinen should resign or be impeached for stonewalling Congress's efforts to investigate the IRS's inappropriate targeting of Tea Party groups....

Policy News

Hatch, Finance Republicans Press CMS Nominee on Obamacare Enrollment Safeguards
Today, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), along with all Finance Committee Republicans, sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt asking how the agency guarantees information us...

McConnell, Lee Continue Effort to Repeal Obamacare Through Reconciliation
United States Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and U.S. Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) issued the following statements Tuesday on the important tools in the Senate’s balanced budget that allow Congress to pass legislation repealing Obamacare and its broken promis...

'Polluted Parks' Analysis Finds Southwestern National Parks Among Worst in Air Quality
A new analysis, released today by National Parks Conservation Association, shows that every one of the 48 national parks with the greatest Clean Air Act protections are plagued by significant air pollution problems and climate change impacts. ...

Hatch, Alexander, Price Introduce Bicameral Employees Rights Act
Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, the senior Republican in the United States Senate as well as a member and former chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, introduced the Employee Rights Act in the United States Senate today, a...

New Market Study Indicates Western Public Schools and Governments Can Save More Than $800 Million through Performance Contracting
Western Resource Advocates and McKinstry released a new market study indicating that schools and governments in Colorado River Basin states (AZ, CA, CO, NM, NV, UT, WY) can save $859 million annually by using performance contracting to implement energy and water conservation...

White House Launches American Business Act on Climate Pledge
Today at the White House, Secretary of State John Kerry and senior White House officials will host 13 of the largest companies from across the American economy who are standing with the Obama Administration to launch the American Business Act on Climate Pledge: Alcoa, Apple,...

Lee Calls On Senate Republicans To Repeal Obamacare Through Budget Reconciliation
Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) released the following statement Monday in advance of Senate consideration of a Republican Leader amendment to fully repeal Obamacare....

Utah-Based Medical Device Co. Sells Platform Rights to Merit Medical Systems
Distal Access, a Salt Lake City-based designer and developer of medical devices, has sold the rights to its SPINR platform, to Merit Medical System’s NRI Limited in Dublin, Ireland. SPINR is a suite of medical devices for peripheral vascular, coronary vascular and...

Hatch, Senate Republicans to Administration: Give the Public More Time to Weigh in on Overtime Proposal
Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, member and former chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, alongside current committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) joined a group of Republican senators in urging the administration to give the public “...

Local Headlines

Salt Lake Tribune

Op-ed: Save program that provides drugs for the poor

Utah's Lee angers fellow Republicans with anti-Obamacare tactics

Becker and police to crack down on drug trafficking around homeless shelter

Herbert tours prison with an eye toward rebuilding

Most Utahns want bigger rec areas, but not for outsiders

Nonprofits picked to lead Salt Lake County initiatives

Salt Lake City Council weighs reducing recreation bond's $150 million cost

Intercepted emails threaten feds' case against Jeremy Johnson

Rolly: Kids don't get a discount at Hillary's Utah bash - get the picture?

If Mormons leave Scouting, BSA will feel it - in its wallet

Deseret News

Op-ed: USOE employees achieve despite few resources

Richard Davis: Planned Parenthood scandal demonstrates need for abortion policy reform

Editorial: Teacher pay one way to help avoid a potential crisis in declining interest in an education career

Herbert says new Medicaid expansion plan less than a month away

Most Utahns oppose Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage, new poll shows

Tougher drug enforcement, dedicated bike patrols latest strategies to fight crime in Depot District

Consumer index declines 6.5 points in July amid concerns about global economy

Which Utah city is ranked highest for upward mobility?

PAC-funded billboards support all candidates for Salt Lake City mayor except Becker

Salt Lake protesters take their message to Planned Parenthood

Gov. Herbert tours state prison to weigh rebuild in Draper

Mayoral challengers team up against Becker in debate

Boy Scouts in Utah, nation face uncertain future


Survey says 71 percent would vote for RAP tax (Daily Herald)

Andersen taken to task by Orem council for disbursing misinformation on utilities (Daily Herald)

Editorial: Protect streams from coal mining (Standard-Examiner)

North Summit and South Summit officials say budgets reveal financial stability (Park Record)

Medicaid expansion inches along as deadline passes (Park Record)

National Headlines

Ivana Trump denies accusing Donald Trump of rape (Politico)

Scott Walker: GOP nominee might not be known until close to convention (Politico)

Dems clash with Kerry over Iran deal (The Hill)

Sanders gives Dems his presidential pitch (The Hill)

Senate presses ahead with defunding Planned Parenthood (The Hill)

Hillary Clinton's ridiculous hedge on Keystone XL (Washington Post)

Rand Paul calls on Hillary Clinton to refund Planned Parenthood donations (Washington Post)

House, Senate prepare to pass a stopgap highway bill again (Washington Post)

Jon Stewart Secretly Met With Obama at White House (New York Times)

Court Orders EPA to Redo Air-Pollution Limits in 13 States (Associated Press)

After two years, White House says 'no' to petition asking for pardon of Edward Snowden (Washington Post)


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Wise Words

Urgent Question

"Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?' "Martin Luther King, Jr.Brainy Quote

Lighter Side

Too Comfortable
"Republican candidate Ben Carson told reporters he thinks American prisons might be too comfortable. As opposed to Mexican prisons that have personal showers with $5 million escape tunnels." Jimmy Fallon Political Humor