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Situational awareness - January 16, 2020

Good Thursday morning from Salt Lake City

Thanks for subscribing to Utah's must-read daily political news rundown.

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

  • An indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani says President Trump was fully aware of the plot to pressure Ukraine into investigating the Bidens.
  • "Secret" bills abound ahead of the 2020 Utah Legislature.
  • Herbert cancels bawdy anti-HIV campaign.


Days to the first day of the 2020 Utah Legislature: 11 (1/27/2020)

Days to the 2020 Iowa Caucuses: 18 (2/3/2020)

Days to the New Hampshire primaries: 26 (2/11/2020) 

Days to the Utah presidential primaries: 47 (3/3/2020)

Days to the final day of the 2020 Utah Legislature: 56 (3/12/2020)

Days to the 2020 Utah primary elections: 166 (6/30/2020)

Days to the 2020 election: 292 (11/3/2020)

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Today At Utah Policy

images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_02.jpg'Secret' bills abound on Utah's Capitol Hill ahead of 2020 session
By Bob Bernick, Contributing Editor
 So, officially who is the most secretive Utah state legislator? At least as bill introductions are concerned.(How's that for a teaser story opening?)
images/1000px_Article_Photos/20200115_Utah_Condoms.jpgGov. Herbert stops HIV awareness program featuring bawdy Utah-themed condoms
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Gov. Gary Herbert ordered the Utah Department of Health to rework an HIV awareness campaign that featured several Utah-themed condoms featuring suggestive state-themed packaging.
images/1000px_Mugs/Conn_Carroll_01.jpgFeedback: Sen. Mike Lee's office responds to Webb column
By Conn Carroll, Communications Director, Sen. Mike Lee
Dear Mr. Webb,I caught your "beef" with Sen. Leebeef" with Sen. Lee and just wanted to make sure what the senator has been consistently saying is not being misinterpreted.
images/1000px_Logos/SL_Chamber_Logo_1000.jpgUtah has more employment opportunities than employees
By Salt Lake Chamber
A new analysis by the United States Chamber of Commerce highlights America's tight labor market and places Utah fifth among states with the lowest ratio of individuals looking for work and actual positions available. According to the report, Utah has less than three workers available for every four open jobs, a situation that if not appropriately addressed can adversely affect the state's long-term economic growth.
images/1000px_Mugs/Rob_Bishop_01.jpgPodcast: Interview with Rep. Rob Bishop
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Rep. Rob Bishop announced on Monday he would not run for Utah Governor in 2020, instead offering his endorsement of Republican Thomas Wright.
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.

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Deseret News

Salt Lake Tribune



Parnas pins Ukraine scandal on Trump

Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas said President Donald Trump "knew exactly what was going on" with the effort to pressure the Ukranian government to dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden and his son [NBC News].


The House delivered the articles of impeachment to the Senate on Wednesday, laying the groundwork for President Donald Trump's trial [Washington Post].

President Trump's legal team is aiming to block the Senate from calling witnesses during the trial and push for a quick acquittal of the president [Washington Post].

Sen. Rand Paul threatens to force votes on calling Hunter Biden and the whistleblower who revealed the Ukraine scandal if his fellow Republicans side with Democrats to demand witnesses or new evidence [Politico].

Sanders vs. Warren

Sen. Elizabeth Warren accused Sen. Bernie Sanders of calling her a liar during a tense post-debate exchange on Tuesday night. Sanders and Warren sparred on the debate stage over her claim that Sanders told her a woman could not win the presidency [CNN].


President Trump secretly threatened to impose tariffs on European automobiles if Germany, France and Britain didn't accuse Iran of breaking the 2015 nuclear deal [Washington Post].

Equal Rights Amendment

Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the ERA, setting up a court battle over whether the amendment will officially be added to the Constitution [Washington Post].


The entire Russian government resigned on Wednesday after President Vladimir Putin proposed constitutional changes that would allow him to stay in power beyond 2024 when he is required to leave office [Reuters].


The Earth is warming faster than at any time in the history of civilization. 2019 was the second-hottest year on record, capping off the hottest decade ever [Bloomberg].


Policy News

images/1000px_Logos/Congressional_News_02.jpgSenate passes Romney bill to confront rise of China
U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) released the following statement after the Senate last night unanimously passed the Indo-Pacific Cooperation Act of 2019, legislation he introduced with Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Todd Young (R-IN), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Chris Coons (D-DE), and Ted Cruz (R-TX) that would require the U.S. to partner with allies in the Indo-Pacific region, Europe, and elsewhere, to develop a unified approach to address the rise of China.
images/1000px_Logos/Congressional_News_01.jpgReps. Cloud, Case, and Sen. Lee request debt servicing costs estimates
Congressmen Michael Cloud (TX-27), Congressman Ed Case (HI-01), and Senator Mike Lee (UT-R) sent a bicameral, bipartisan letter to the House and Senate Budget Committees, asking them to require the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to include debt servicing costs whenever they produce an official cost estimate.
images/1000px_Logos/Congressional_News_05.jpgRomney to support USMCA trade deal
U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT)released the following statement regarding the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade deal, which revises and modernizes the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
images/1000px_Logos/Congressional_News_04.jpgStewart leads bipartisan suicide prevention efforts
Congressman Chris Stewart (R-UT) joins Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-CA) in introducing the Suicide Prevention Act. This bipartisan legislation aims to provide new resources to help reverse the tragic rise of suicide across the nation.
RMS President Sharlene Wells Hawkes joins Sutherland's Board of Directors
Sutherland Institute President and CEO Rick Larsen announced that Sharlene Wells Hawkes is joining the organization's Board of Directors. 
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.

More National Headlines


1847 - John C. Fremont is appointed Governor of the new California Territory.

1920 - Prohibition began as the 18th Amendment to the Constitution took effect.

1991 - The White House announced the start of Operation Desert Storm to drive Iraqi forces out of Kuwait.

2003 - The space shuttle Columbia and its crew of seven blasted off from Cape Canaveral. The shuttle broke up during its return descent on Feb. 1, killing everyone on board.

2007 - Sen. Barack Obama launched his successful bid for the White House.

Wise Words

Be Intentional

"Never leave that till tomorrow which you can do today."Benjamin Franklin

Lighter Side

Derangement Syndrome

"'All is well.' That's not how you address the nation on matters of war. That's how a sophomore addresses his parents on a postcard from a trip abroad."- SETH MEYERS

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