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Situational awareness - January 15, 2020

Good Wednesday morning from Salt Lake City

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Here are the stories you need to pay attention to this morning:

  • Gibson steps down as Utah Ag Commissioner to run for Congress. 
  • Democrats unveil new impeachment evidence.
  • Senate Republicans sign on to resolution limiting Trump's war powers against Iran.


Days to the first day of the 2020 Utah Legislature: 12 (1/27/2020)

Days to the 2020 Iowa Caucuses: 19 (2/3/2020)

Days to the New Hampshire primaries: 27 (2/11/2020) 

Days to the Utah presidential primaries: 48 (3/3/2020)

Days to the final day of the 2020 Utah Legislature: 57 (3/12/2020)

Days to the 2020 Utah primary elections: 167 (6/30/2020)

Days to the 2020 election: 293 (11/3/2020)

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Today At Utah Policy

images/1000px_Mugs/Kerry_Gibson_01.jpgGibson steps down as Utah Ag Commissioner to run for Congress
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Utah Commissioner of Agriculture and Food Kerry Gibson stepped down from that post on Tuesday to launch a bid to replace retiring Rep. Rob Bishop in Congress.
images/mugs/LaVarr_Webb.jpgA couple of beefs with Mike Lee and Chris Stewart
By LaVarr Webb, Publisher
Mike Lee beef: There's an old saying that Congress can really only do two things: Nothing and express outrage. Lee took the outrage thing to a whole new level in the last several days. He did Oscar-winning outrage on every news outlet imaginable. His outrage made him the darling of liberal media and arch-liberal Democrats in Congress. Wow. That was some impressive outrage.
images/1000px_Mugs/Heidi_Matthews_01.jpgGuest opinion: Utah teachers stand ready to support our students
By Utah Education Association President Heidi Matthews
The January 9 UtahPolicy.com article "Lawmakers frustrated by efforts to find new way to fund schools" is an excellent reminder that the collective voice of Utah teachers has the attention of our state legislators.
images/1000px_Article_Photos/20200114_US_Chamber_Release.pngUtah facing 5th greatest workforce shortage in America, U.S. Chamber study finds
By News release
There are fewer than three available workers for every four open jobs in Utah, the 5th lowest ratio of job seekers to open positions in the United States, according to new analysis published by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The data reveal a historically tight labor market for employers and a mounting threat to the state's long-term growth.
images/1000px_Logos/Bernick_and_Schott_Logo_1000.jpgThe world's most elaborate game of telephone - Bernick and Schott on politics podcast
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Bob Bernick and Bryan Schott discuss the top Utah political stories from the past few days.
images/1000px_Screenshots/20200114_Romney_Fox.jpgIngraham tees off on Romney over impeachment: 'I have no words'
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Fox News host Laura Ingraham ripped Utah Sen. Mitt Romney on Monday evening over his openness to calling witnesses during the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.
images/1000px_Mugs/Thom_Carter_01.jpgNational Republicans are still trying to find a candidate to take on McAdams in November
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
The Republican field to take on freshman Democrat Ben McAdams in Utah's 4th CD may not yet be set as national Republicans are reportedly scrambling to recruit another candidate following the abrupt exit of State Senator Dan Hemmert, who exited the race in December.
images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_30.jpgUtah lawmakers, education leaders, at odds over education funding and tax reform
By Bob Bernick, Contributing Editor
 While encouraging individual teacher/members to be active politically as they see fit, the Utah Education Association -- the main teacher union in the state with 18,000 members -- is not formally in the referendum fight to repeal the recently-passed tax reform package, UEA president Heidi Matthews told UtahPolicy.com on Monday.
images/1000px_Mugs/Rob_Bishop_03.jpegRob Bishop won't run for governor in 2020, endorses Thomas Wright
By Bob Bernick, Contributing Editor
Retiring U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, announced Monday that he will not run for governor this year.
images/1000px_Article_Photos/Insulin_01.jpgUtah voters want limits on insulin co-payments
By Bob Bernick, Contributing Editor
Utah voters overwhelmingly want the Utah Legislature to pass a law similar to Colorado's, which would cap medical insurance co-payments for insulin at $100 per prescription, a new UtahPolicy.com/Y2 Analytics survey finds.

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Deseret News

Salt Lake Tribune




House Democrats released new impeachment evidence on Tuesday related to indicted former Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas. Among the documents was a letter from Giuliani to Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which Giuliani made it clear he was acting with President Donald Trump's "knowledge and consent" [New York Times].

House Democrats also released text messages showing before former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch was removed from her post, an associate to Lev Parnas suggested he had her under surveillance in Ukraine. A prosecutor in Ukraine also offered information related to Hunter Biden in exchange for Yovanovich's ouster [Washington Post].


The House will vote Wednesday to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate, setting the trial phase in motion [Washington Post].

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell met with four Republican senators, including Utah Sen. Mike Lee, to map out a strategy for the upcoming impeachment trial [Politico].

The Washington press corps will face strict security while covering the impeachment trial when it gets underway [Roll Call].

War powers

The Senate has enough support from Republicans to pass a resolution limiting President Trump's power to use military force on Iran, setting up a likely veto from Trump [New York Times].


President Trump claimed intelligence showed imminent attacks on several U.S. embassies as justification for the drone strike that killed Iran's top military leader. No embassies were warned about the impending threat [Washington Post].

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani rejected the idea that his country would sign on to a new "Trump deal" to restrict their ability to develop a nuclear weapon [Reuters].

Debate time

Democrats sparred on the debate stage for the final time ahead of the Iowa Caucuses [New York Times].

It's "Big, beautiful monster" day

The U.S. and China will sign the first phase of a trade deal, which President Trump called a "big, beautiful monster" on Wednesday [New York Times].


President Trump's campaign staffers are focused on two possible rivals ahead of November. They see Sen. Bernie Sanders as Trump's ideal opponent in the 2020 election, but they're also wary of former Mayor Michael Bloomberg [New York Times].


Policy News

images/1000px_Logos/Congressional_News_04.jpgRomney: War powers resolution sends wrong message to Iran
U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and chairman of the subcommittee dealing with the Middle East, announced that he will vote against Senator Tim Kaine's (D-VA) war powers resolution.
images/1000px_Logos/Congressional_News_03.jpgIn light of White Mesa Uranium Mill layoffs, Rep. Curtis commits to creating new economic opportunities in rural Utah
Rep. John Curtis (R-UT),  spoke on the House Floor in support of the residents of San Juan County, Utah in light of a round of layoffs at the White Mesa uranium mill. Changes in the global uranium market have affected mill operations with a result of 30% employees being let go. The mill is the largest private employer in San Juan County.
UDOH launches new website, ad campaign to promote HIV awareness
The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) will this month unveil a series of advertisements meant to dispel the myths, encourage the truths, and expose the realities of dealing with HIV in the modern age. 
Gov. Herbert appoints Kelly Pehrson to serve as interim manager of Utah Department of Agriculture and Food
Following Commissioner Kerry Gibson's announcement that he will step down from his position at the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) to run for Congress, Gov. Herbert has appointed Kelly Pehrson as interim manager of the department, effective immediately.
images/1000px_Logos/WTC_Utah_Logo.pngRegister by Friday, January 17 for the Governor-led trade mission to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates
The trade mission will take place from April 14 through April 24, 2020. 
Utah Valley Chamber announces departure of Andy Pierucci, names Nic Dunn new Director of Public Policy and Business Development
The Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce announces the departure of Andy Pierucci and the hiring of Nic Dunn as the new Director of Public Policy and Business Development. Pierucci is taking a job with aerospace and defense company Northrop Grumman. His last day at the Chamber is January 15th.

More National Headlines


1870 - A cartoon by Thomas Nast appeared in Harper's weekly with a donkey symbolizing the Democratic Party for the first time.

1892 - Dr. James Naismith published the rules of basketball.

1943 - The Pentagon is dedicated in Arlington, Virginia.

1967 - The first Super Bowl is played in Los Angeles. The Green Bay Packers defeat the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10.

1973 - President Richard Nixon called a halt to U.S. military offensives in Vietnam.

2001 - Wikipedia made its debut online.

2009 - US Airways Capt. Chelsey Sullenberger guided a jetliner disabled by a bird strike just after takeoff from New York's LaGuardia Airport to a safe landing on the Hudson River. All 155 people aboard survived.

Wise Words


"Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work."Aristotle

Lighter Side


"When asked about the NATO alliance in Europe, Trump floated an exciting idea - spice NATO up with some non-Europe countries."- STEPHEN COLBERT, referring to the president's suggestion that NATO beexpanded to include Middle Eastern countries

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