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Situational awareness - January 12, 2018

Good Friday morning from Salt Lake City. 

I'm told that several prominent Utah Republicans were planning a press conference today to denounce President Trump's offensive and racist comments about immigrants, but could not get the logistics to work out because of today's the funeral for LDS President Thomas Monson.

Republican legislators are eyeing Medicaid expansion under certain conditions, a donor helps the GOP get out from under their crushing legal debt, and President Trump stokes fresh outrage by slamming immigrants from "sh*thole countries."

Tick Tock:

Thanks for reading our daily rundown of the political news stories you need to know (and nothing you don't). If you have any story ideas, tips, rants, complaints, or just want to swap recipes, reach out to me at bschott@utahpolicy.com. I'm always available.

I'll be a guest on The Hinckley Report on KUED this evening. The panel includes Lisa Riley-Roche from the Deseret News and former Republican State Senator Steve Urquhart, along with host Jason Perry. We discuss whether Mitt Romney will get into Utah's U.S. Senate race, Speaker Greg Hughes's announcement he would not run for re-election, tax reform and immigration. Tune in tonight at 7:30 pm on KUED. The show repeats Sunday morning at 11 am.

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Here's what's driving the day:

SCOOP! Lawmakers exploring Obamacare Medicaid expansion...with some limits

Speaker Greg Hughes tells UtahPolicy.com there's a draft bill circulating ahead of the 2018 Legislature that would have the state accept Medicaid expansion under Obamacare, as long as they could tie it to new work requirements allowed by the Trump administration and put caps on how much the state spends [Utah Policy].

GOP Debt woes are ending

A donor with deep pockets has agreed to pick up the tab for more than $400,000 in legal fees the Utah GOP racked up fighting SB54, plus he'll fund the lawsuit going forward [Utah Policy].

What happened this week and why?

Bob Bernick and Bryan Schott have more than 50 years combined covering Utah politics, so they bring a deep well of experience to our coverage and analysis. Watch as they break down the week's big news, including Greg Hughes's decision to not run for another term in 2018, and explain what it means [Utah Policy]. Here's a podcast if that's what you prefer [Utah Policy].

Bob Bernick looks back on Greg Hughes's career

Bob never expected Hughes to become Utah House Speaker when he entered the legislature so many years ago, and now that he's leaving, there's no way he's finished [Utah Policy].

Other Utah stories:

National headlines

On this day in history

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Today At Utah Policy

Exclusive: Republican lawmakers consider expanding Medicaid under Obamacare, but only under certain conditions

There is a chance, Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes said Thursday evening, that the 2018 Legislature could accept Obamacare's Medicaid expansion under certain circumstances....

Lumbering toward armageddon - Bernick and Schott on politics Ep. 356

House Speaker Greg Hughes won't run for another term in 2018. Does that mean he's running for governor in 2020?...

Bob Bernick's notebook: I'll miss Greg Hughes

News this week that Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes has decided to retire from the House at the end of 2018 and not run again this year....

Deep pocketed donor agrees to pay off Utah GOP's legal debt

The Utah GOP has struck a deal with a big donor to pay off the party's legal debt from their challenge to the SB54 law....

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....

Podcast: Bernick and Schott on politics Ep. 356

Bob Bernick and Bryan Schott give you a deep dive into the week's Utah political news....

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

You're invited: Thought leader symposium with Sundance Institute
Join us Jan. 24 from 8 to 9:30 a.m. for a Thought Leader Symposium featuring a panel of experts, including a creative producer for the Sundance Film Festival film The Oslo Diaries, Hilla Medali....

Now hiring: WTC Utah marketing manager. Apply now!
To better serve the needs of companies throughout Utah interested in international business, World Trade Center Utah is pleased to announce we are hiring a marketing manager!...

Now accepting submissions for the 2018 Resource Guide
World Trade Center Utah is preparing to publish its annual Resource Guide, a free directory that provides Utah companies with international business and trade-related resources throughout the state....

Casual Friday: Weekend Events & Outdoors Report
Outdoor Notes--Tribune:Get up close and personal with owls at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge event--Tribune:Snow totals may be a sore subject, but at least there are these new national honors for Utah ski resorts--Tribune:Project underway to stop frustrating flash floods f...

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Local Headlines

Salt Lake Tribune

Michelle Quist: The Attorney General should be focused on something other than human trafficking

Loren Yager: Retiring Utah legislators' legacy: a less effective IRS

What will GOP tax plan mean for Utahns? Experts try to break it down

Lawmaker aims to strip Utah cities' authority to protect their drinking water sources

Environmentalists worry Utah regulators let violations at radioactive waste site 'fly under the radar'

In case affecting Utah mines, judge orders trial on challenge to Oakland coal ban

Gehrke: He went from a punk kid to Utah's House speaker. Now, Greg Hughes is getting out at the top of his game.

Millcreek city celebrates its one-year anniversary

Stewart defends government surveillance program as House votes to extend it six years

Big donor agrees to cover cost of GOP lawsuit against new Utah election law

UTA passed big discounts for 2 Utah universities. A board member says the program violated policy and surprised the agency panel.

Odyssey House expansion in Millcreek puts Utah about halfway to drug-treatment goals

Deseret News

Editorial: Put down the cellphone and drive

Sen. Orrin Hatch vows to go 'big and bold' in final year

Feds grant Utah $10.3 million to help homeless

'You're doing the right thing': Addiction experts applaud Utah for homeless reform

UTA trustee says BYU/UVU transit pass deal 'crazy'

Stewart, Lee differ over controversial government surveillance program


Editorial: With Hatch, it was time to call him home and he heeded (Daily Herald)

Rural Weber County residents bristle at development, but growth is coming (Standard-Examiner)

National Headlines

Fiat Chrysler to invest more than $1 billion in Michigan plant and give $2,000 bonuses in response to tax reform (CNBC)

Economists Credit Trump as Tailwind for U.S. Growth, Hiring and Stocks (Wall Street Journal)

Feinstein blames 'bad cold' for handling of Fusion GPS transcript (FOX News)

Northern spotted owl being poisoned by California's illegal marijuana grows (Washington Times)

Pink pussyhats: The reason feminists are ditching them (Detroit Free Press)

The dawn of American socialism (The Week)

US cold snap was a freak of nature, quick analysis finds (Associated Press)

Trump administration opens door to states imposing Medicaid work requirements (Washington Post)

Pelosi: 'Five white guys' leading DACA talks should open a 'hamburger stand' (Politico)

LGBTQ groups silent after Chelsea Handler's homophobic tweet to Lindsey Graham (FOX News)

Pentagon leader urges troops to kill ISIS fighters with shovels (AOL)

Walmart boosts minimum wage to $11, hands out bonuses up to $1,000 for hourly workers (USA Today)

Wise Words


"It is not the oath that makes us believe the man, but the man the oath." Aeschylus

Lighter Side

Mental Health

"A Democratic congressman is introducing a bill that would force presidential candidates to take a mental health exam. It is called the "Too Little, Too Late Act." Jimmy Fallon

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