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Situational awareness - January 10, 2018

Good Wednesday morning from Salt Lake City. 

Congratulations to Brian Zehnder and Adam Robertson. They were selected by Republican delegates to fill open seats in the Utah Senate and House. Zehnder replaces Brian Shiozawa in the Senate and Robertson replaces Dean Sanpei in the House.

Tick Tock:

Welcome to our daily rundown of the important news stories you need to know. I'm always available at bschott@utahpolicy.com for you to send your story tips, complaints, or rants. I'd love to hear from you.

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Here's what's driving the day:

Scoop! Group files ballot initiative to repeal SB54

A group calling itself "Keep My Voice" has filed a ballot initiative to repeal SB54, which would eliminate the signature-gathering path to the ballot for candidates. That means a return to the caucus/convention system as the only route to a party's nomination. Organizers reportedly plan to use the March caucus meetings as a mechanism for getting the 113,000 signatures they need to get on the ballot [Utah Policy].

Report: Romney didn't know Hatch was going to retire

Mitt Romney was reportedly caught off guard by Sen. Orrin Hatch's decision to retire last week. Romney's camp thought Hatch was going to heed President Donald Trump's urging to run for an eighth term. Now that Hatch is out, Romney's wife, Ann, is encouraging him to run [Utah Policy].

McAdams's good start

Democrat Ben McAdams announces he raised more than $500,000 in the first few months after he announced his bid for Congress in Utah's 4th CD. McAdams's campaign says most of that money came from small, individual donations and Utah donors [Utah Policy].

Huntsman's stark warning to Congress

Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman warns members of Congress that Russia is preparing to interfere with the 2018 and 2020 elections. "Putin has never been stronger," he reportedly said [Utah Policy].

Some western states are on pace to get more seats in Congress, but not Utah

Population trends show that Colorado, Arizona, Montana, and Oregon are on pace gain seats in Congress after the 2020 Census. Northeastern and Sun Belt states are poised to lose seats [Utah Policy].

Other Utah headlines:

National headlines:

On this day in history:

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Today At Utah Policy

Group seeking to eliminate signature route for candidates files ballot initiative to repeal SB54

A group supporting the caucus and convention system for nominating candidates is aiming to put a petition on the 2018 ballot that would repeal SB54, which would completely eliminate the signature-gathering route....

Report: Romney's were caught off guard by Hatch's retirement; now Ann is encouraging Mitt to run

A number of people close to the Romney family say Mitt's wife, Ann, is encouraging him to run for the open U.S. Senate seat in Utah....

Huntsman warns lawmakers Russia preparing to interfere in the 2018, 2020

Jon Huntsman, former Utah Governor and current ambassador to Russia, told members of Congress on Tuesday that Russia is preparing to interfere in the 2018 and 2020 U.S. elections and, if they do, relations between the two countries are "done."...

Weekly survey: Will Romney get a Republican challenger?

If Mitt Romney jumps into the U.S. Senate race, will he face a credible challenge for the Republican nomination? Also, do you believe the allegations raised in Michael Wolff's book, Fire and Fury? Vote now in our weekly survey....

McAdams raises more than $500,000 in the most recent quarter

Democrat Ben McAdams reports raising a little more than $500,000 during the most recent fundraising period in his congressional race against Republican Mia Love....

CYBER 24 podcast: Virginia Gov. McAuliffe leads states efforts to meet the threat of cyber attacks

Cybersecurity issues receive more and more attention as states come to a better understanding of just how much a target they are for hackers. The more data you have, the bigger of a target you are. But many states were slow to adopt robust security measures and many are stil...

Western states should gain seats in Congress after 2020 Census, but not Utah

According to population trends, four western states should gain one or two seats in Congress, while most of the losses will come from the rust belt....

2018 Utah candidate tracker - Congress

There's a U.S. Senate seat up for election in 2018 as well as all four U.S. House seats. Here's our list of rumored and declared candidates....

2018 Utah candidate tracker - Utah Senate

2018 means another election cycle is upon us. Half of the Utah Senate seats are up for election this year, including an unexpected one because of a retirement. Here's our running list of candidates for those seats....

2018 Utah candidate tracker - Utah House

Next week candidates can start gathering signatures to get on the 2018 ballot. All 75 Utah House seats are up for election this year. Here's our running list of who's in, who's out and who's challenging....

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Policy News

Sen. Lee statement on Utah retaining apache battalion
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) released the following statement in response to Army Secretary Mark Esper's recent decision to follow The National Commission on the Future of the Army's recommendation to retain four Attack-Reconnaissance Battalions, each with 18 aircraft, in four state...

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Local Headlines

Salt Lake Tribune

Editorial: State school board votes in favor of health and art classes

Utah's air quality is sickening, even killing locals year-round, new research suggests

Jon Huntsman Sr. backs Mitt Romney for Senate, says he'd represent Utah 'very, very well'

Utah Gov. Herbert sees monument changes as helpful 'reset' - but tribes view it as betrayal

Money rolling in for Ben McAdams in his race against Mia Love

Utah Gov. Herbert says Romney should run for the Senate

Tooele's first female mayor in its 165-year history takes oath of office

Salt Lake County district attorney faces a political challenge from inside his office

Deseret News

Ralph Hancock: Donald Trump, President Monson and the times we live in

Op-ed: Utah's special-needs students deserve more choices

Editorial: Compassionate and effective solutions to emulate in the opioid crisis

Prosecutor Nathan Evershed announces run for district attorney

Utah groups honored for fighting 'modern-day slavery'

McAdams says he's raised more than $500,000 for congressional run

Utah lawmaker wants to ban smoking on Capitol campus

Salt Lake County Council picks first chairwoman

Army decision to keep Apache helicopter units saves Utah National Guard jobs

Opting out of tests a sticking point in Utah's plan to comply with federal education law

Utah is top state for population growth, but not because people are moving here

Curtis' monument bill earns praise, criticism


Utah House member, former senator eye bids for Weber County Commission seats (Standard-Examiner)

Legislative town halls to resume as session looms (Logan Herald Journal)

National Headlines

Washington Governor Claims 'Just 59 Days' To Save Children From Global Warming (Daily Caller)

Stocks finish at record highs, S&P 500 has best start to a year since 1987 (CNBC)

Amid Signs of a Thaw in North Korea, Tensions Bubble Up (Wall Street Journal)

Trump, Congress reach deal to negotiate DACA, border security (NBC News)

Steve Bannon Steps Down From Breitbart Post (New York Times)

Joe Arpaio, Ex-Sheriff Pardoned by Trump, Announces Senate Run in Arizona (New York Times)

The Cliven Bundy Prosecution Was a Miscarriage of Justice. He Deserved to Walk Free. (Slate)

Jeff Bezos is now worth more than Bill Gates ever was (Recode)

Coal mogul: Trump should fire energy officials for rejecting Perry plan (The Hill)

Lawmaker charged with pocketing Hurricane Sandy aid (USA Today)

Global growth back at pre-crisis levels, says World Bank (BBC News)

Wise Words


"If a man neglects education, he walks lame to the end of his life." Plato

Lighter Side


"President Trump announced that he wants to send astronauts back to the moon for the first time in 45 years. And then the president was startled when Melania yelled, "I'll go!" Harry Styles

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