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Situational awareness - January 17, 2020

Good morning from Salt Lake City and TGIF!

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

If you know of friends or colleagues who would benefit from our daily news roundup, please encourage them to sign up for our emails.

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

  • Trump's impeachment trial gets underway.
  • Rob Bishop teams up with Thomas Wright.
  • Mike Bloomberg set to campaign in Utah.


MLK Day 01

We will not publish our morning newsletter on Monday, Jan. 20 because of the MLK Day holiday. Expect us to return to our normal publishing schedule on Tuesday, Jan. 21.


This week's question comes from Ken Sizemore:

Name the seven Utah interlocal entities established in the early 1970s to provide a common forum to identify, discuss, study and resolve area wide problems.

Send your answers to me at mailbag@utahpolicy.com. The third reader to submit the correct answer gets to ask next week's question as well as one of our laptop stickers.

Good luck!


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_Article_Photos/20200116_Bishop_Wright.jpgThomas Wright picks Rob Bishop as his 2020 running mate
By Bob Bernick, Contributing Editor
 At first glance, GOP gubernatorial candidate Thomas Wright's pick of retiring U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop to be his lieutenant governor running mate -- announced Thursday -- may appear odd.
images/mugs/LaVarr_Webb.jpgWhy polling is helpful -- even if you dislike the results
By LaVarr Webb, Publisher
As readers know, at UtahPolicy.com we conduct regular survey research with Y2Analytics on public policy topics, political races and politician popularity.
images/1000px_Screenshots/20200116_Stewart_Fox.jpgStewart says Democrats are 'giddy' over impeaching president Trump
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Rep. Chris Stewart slammed Democrats on Thursday for being "giddy" over the impeachment of President Donald Trump.
images/1000px_Mugs/Michael_Bloomberg_01.jpgDemocratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg to campaign in Utah on Saturday
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg will make a campaign stop in Utah on Saturday.
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.

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Deseret News

Salt Lake Tribune



President Trump is officially on trial

The Senate began the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on Thursday. The first day of the official proceedings were marked by conflict over whether to call witnesses and new evidence about President Trump's dealings in Ukraine [Washington Post].

The Senate is cracking down on reporters covering the impeachment trial, hindering their ability to do their job covering the proceedings [CNN].

Ukraine scandal

Lev Parnas, the indicted former associate of Rudy Giuliani, alleged President Trump was fully aware of efforts to push the Ukrainian government to open an investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden. Parnas also says Trump tried to fire Ambassador Maria Yovanovitch multiple times [Politico].

Parnas accused former Energy Secretary Rick Perry of telling Ukraine's president he had to announce an investigation into Joe Biden and the energy company that hired Biden's son as a board member when he attended the new president's inauguration last May [Bloomberg].

The non-partisan Government Accountability Office says the Trump administration broke the law when it withheld aid to Ukraine [New York Times].


Iran's supreme leader called President Trump a "clown" who will "push a poisonous dagger" into the backs of the Iranian people [AP].

Several U.S. service members were injured during last week's Iranian missile attack on an Iraqi air base despite initial claims that no casualties had taken place [CNN].

Trade deal

The Senate passed the revamped North American trade agreement to re-write the rules of trade with Mexico and Canada [NBC News].

Tax cuts

The Trump tax cuts delivered a $32 billion windfall to the top six U.S. banks as they cut jobs, cut back on new borrowing and delivered bigger payouts to shareholders [Bloomberg].


A Georgia election server contains evidence it was possibly hacked before the 2016 presidential election according to an election security expert [Politico].


A new poll shows black Americans are deeply pessimistic about opportunities available to them in the United States. The survey also finds that more than 8 in 10 black Americans believe President Trump is a racist and he has made racism a bigger problem in the country [Washington Post].

Mystery virus

A mysterious SARS-like virus has spread from China to Japan [Bloomberg].


Policy News

Rep. Patrice Arent announces retirement at end of 2020
Representative Patrice Arent (D - House District 36) has issued the following statement:
Mayor Mendenhall announces plan for temporary winter shelter
After weeks of work in coordination with the Salt Lake City Council, service providers, Salt Lake County, and State partners, Mayor Erin Mendenhall today announced the temporary expansion of up to 145 beds available to unsheltered individuals in Salt Lake City.
images/1000px_Logos/WTC_Utah_Logo.pngJoin WTC Utah on Jan 24 for a business luncheon with the Consul General of Switzerland in San Francisco
World Trade Center Utah, in partnership with the Governor's Office of Economic Development and the Salt Lake Chamber, invites you to a luncheon welcoming The Honorable Benedikt Wechsler, Consul General of the Confederation of Helvetica (Switzerland) in San Francisco.
Casual Friday: Weekend Events & Outdoors Report
Outdoors Report--Salt Lake Tribune:Sutherland Institute's campaign against Bears Ears was relentless, effective and mostly funded by a tight circle of activists-- Salt Lake Tribune: Utah cities and counties looking to restrict hunting-- Salt Lake Tribune: Having lived through avalanches, female pro backcountry skiers imbue fear, education through clinics--KSL.com:Featured hike: Jenni's Trail offers soaring views from Park City Mountain-- KSL.com: Public input sought for campground, trails in San Juan County; bike use on Arches pathwayNew Films-- Dolittle: Deseret News reviewConcerts-- Black Violin, Cache Arts, Friday, 7:30 p.m., The Ellen Eccles Theatre, 43 South Main, Logan, $20-$40-- Body Logic Dance Company 10th Anniversary Concert, Friday, 7:30 p.m., Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, 138 West 300 South, Salt Lake City, $12-$18-- Faculty Composers Recital, Friday, 7:30 p.m., Madsen Recital Hall, Harris Fine Arts Center,Brigham Young University, Campus Drive and Heritage Drive, Provo, free-- Salt Lake City Junior and Young Artists Preliminary Round Competition, Friday and Saturday, 12:30 9:30 p.m., Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, 138 West 300 South, Salt Lake City, free
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.

More National Headlines


1605 - Don Quixote was published.

1946 - The U.N. Security Council met for the first time.

1961 - In his farewell address, President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned against "the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex."

1977 - Convicted killer Gary Gilmore was executed by firing squad in Utah. It was the first execution since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty the previous year.

1988 - President Bill Clinton became the first U.S. president to testify as a defendant in a criminal or civil suit when he answered questions from lawyers for Paula Jones, who had accused Clinton of sexual harassment.

Wise Words


"It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men."Frederick Douglass

Lighter Side

Canada Here They Come

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced that they'll no longer be senior members of the royal family and they might move to Canada. I give them a lot of credit - tons of celebrities always threaten to move to Canada; they're actually doing it."- JIMMY FALLON

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