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Situational awareness - January 16, 2018

Good Tuesday morning from Salt Lake City. 

This morning Mitt Romney is the keynote speaker at the Salt Lake Chamber's Utah Economic Outlook & Policy Summit. You can bet the media presence at the event will be huge because it's the first public speaking event Romney has held in Utah since Sen. Orrin Hatch announced his retirement. Will he finally let us know if he's going to run for Senate this year? Probably not, but that won't stop an ever-hopeful media hungry for the story. Every facial tick and vocal expression will be over-analyzed for any sign of what he's intending. Stay tuned.

Hughes says the Utah Transit Authority could "hijack" the 2018 session. Romney attacks Trump on Twitter. Republicans are racing to avoid a government shutdown.

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 want to argue about whether Baker Mayfield can play in the NFL, reach out to me at bschott@utahpolicy.com. I'm always available.

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Here's what's driving the day:

The Utah Transit Authority could be the "sleeper" issue of the 2018 session.

House Speaker Greg Hughes says proposed changes to the governance of the UTA could "hijack" the 2018 session [Utah Policy].

Hughes talks budget, Medicaid, UTA, and the Pittsburgh Steelers

Download the podcast of our pre-legislative conversation with House Speaker Greg Hughes [Utah Policy].

Mitt Romney privately says he's running

Mitt Romney reportedly texted longtime friend and advisor Kem Gardner that he was planning to run for the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by Sen. Orrin Hatch's retirement [Utah Policy].

More Trump fallout

Rep. Mia Love says the offensive term President Trump allegedly used to describe Haiti, and African nations was "racist" [Utah Policy].

Mitt Romney ripped Trump on Twitter for using offensive language to describe impoverished countries [Utah Policy].

How hard will it be for Mitt Romney to capture the GOP nomination?

If Romney runs for the Senate next year, our "Political Insiders" say he'll probably only face token opposition for the GOP nomination [Utah Policy].

Other Utah headlines:

National headlines:

On this day in history:

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Today At Utah Policy

Hughes says how the Utah Transit Authority is governed is the issue that could 'hijack' the 2018 session

The governance of the Utah Transit Authority could be the "sleeper" issue of the 2018 Legislature, which starts next Monday, says House Speaker Greg Hughes....

Podcast: House Speaker Greg Hughes previews the 2018 Utah Legislature

House Speaker Greg Hughes speaks with Managing Editor Bryan Schott about his decision to not run for another term in the Legislature and what his political future may hold....

'Political Insiders' expect Romney to face minimal competition for GOP nomination

Our "Political Insiders" expect Mitt Romney to waltz to the GOP nomination if, as expected, he gets into the race for Utah's open U.S. Senate seat....

Love calls Trump's 'sh*thole' comments 'racist'

Rep. Mia Love says President Trump's comments calling majority-black nations 'sh*thole countries' are racist....

Romney tears into Trump for 'sh*thole' comments

Former GOP presidential nominee and likely U.S. Senate candidate from Utah Mitt Romney blasted President Donald Trump on Twitter Monday for the racist comments attributed to him last week....

Romney tells close associates 'I'm running'

Former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney has reportedly told close associates that he is running for Utah's open U.S. Senate seat in 2018....

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

Wasatch Front Consumer Price Index ticks upwards in December, fueled by steady increases in insurance rates
The Zions Bank Wasatch Front Consumer Price Index increased 0.1 percent from November to December on a non-seasonally adjusted basis....

Governor appoints Adam Mow to the Third District Court
Gov. Gary R. Herbert has appointed Adam Mow as a judge on the Third District Court....

UAMPS honors key leaders & public power cities
Several leaders who have made significant contributions to public power were recently honored at the Utah Associated Municipal Systems (UAMPS) 2017 Member Meeting in Salt Lake City....

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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

Tech Founder: Middle America Is Too 'Violent, Stupid And Racist' For New Jobs (Daily Caller)

GOP senators eager for Romney to join them (The Hill)

GOP leaders face most difficult shutdown deadline yet (The Hill)

What's the Matter with California? (PJ Media)

Lawsuit Claims Surgeon At West Haven Veterans Affairs Hospital Left Scalpel In Patient (Hartford Courant)

Nafta Trio to Gather in Davos as Negotiations Resume in Canada (Bloomberg)

The battle to shut down Obama's presidential center (Washington Examiner)

NAACP Says MLK's Vision Can't Be Achieved Without Fighting Global Warming (Daily Caller)

Worker who sent out Hawaii missile alert is reassigned (New York Post)

Iowa lawsuit pits gay rights against religious freedom (Associated Press)

Christie leaving governor's office as Democrat takes over (Washington Post)

Wise Words


"Our fatigue is often caused not by work, but by worry, frustration and resentment." Dale Carnegie

Lighter Side

Wall Security

"Trump will be visiting San Diego this month to look at prototypes for the border wall. He says he really wants to test how strong the walls are, so he told his staff to invite the Kool-Aid man to come, too." Jimmy Fallon

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