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Situational awareness - January 18, 2018

Good Thursday morning from Salt Lake City. 

I don't know how much longer we're going to have to do this "will he, won't he" kabuki dance around Mitt Romney's potential run for the U.S. Senate, but until then the media is latching on to every little piece of information we can get. Here's what we know: Everybody around Mitt Romney says he's getting ready to run in some manner, a few of them have come right out and said he's running. We don't know when he'll make it official, and nobody really has any idea when that will happen. Believe me, we're getting as tired of this phase of the story as you are.

We're inching closer and closer to a government shutdown. Herbert says he's pushing Romney to run. Utahns want stricter background checks for gun purchases but aren't sure stronger gun laws would have prevented mass shootings like what happened in Las Vegas.

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 news tips, story ideas, want to submit an op-ed, or want to talk about why Hall and Oates is the greatest musical group ever, hit me up at bschott@utahpolicy.com. I'm always available.

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Here's what's driving the day:

Herbert says he has personally urged Mitt Romney to run

Gov. Gary Herbert tells UtahPolicy.com he has spoken to Mitt Romney and urged him to run for US Senate, but he won't elaborate on what Romney's reply was [Utah Policy].

Mega-donors getting ready to back Romney's Senate bid

It looks like the deep-pocketed donors who powered Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential bid are getting ready to throw campaign cash his way again. Romney doesn't need the money, but the growing consensus is he could challenge for, and win, a leadership position in Congress because of his clout and high profile [Utah Policy].

Poll: Utahns have mixed opinions on gun control measures

An overwhelming number of Utahns say they support background checks for all gun sales, but they're not sure that stricter gun laws would have prevented recent mass shootings in Las Vegas and at a Texas church [Utah Policy].

Other Utah headlines:

National headlines:

On this day in history:

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Today At Utah Policy

Herbert says he's personally urged Romney to run for US Senate

Gov. Gary Herbert says he's spoken to Mitt Romney about Utah's open U.S. Senate seat, but he won't discuss whether Romney told him if he was going to run. ...

Most Utahns support background checks on gun sales, but aren't convinced more gun laws would stop mass shootings

Nine out of 10 Utahns support government requiring background checks on ALL gun sales, a new UtahPolicy.com poll finds....

Report: GOP mega-donors set to back Romney's Senate bid

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert says Mitt Romney will have the support of some of the GOP's biggest donors if he decides to run for Senate this year. ...

Weekly survey: Will the Utah Legislature be able to pass tax reform?

Lawmakers get back to work next week. One of the big items on their agenda is tax reform designed to lower tax rates but broaden the base of taxpayers. Do you think they'll be able to accomplish that goal?...

CYBER 24 podcast: Cyber attacks may have big legal ramifications for unprepared businesses

A cybersecurity incident can do significant damage to your business, costing you customers and damaging your reputation....

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

Fox files: 'What's up down South?'
A few members of our team, including our Board Chair (Jay Francis with Larry H. Miller Group of Companies) and our Board Vice Chair (Mayor Bob Stevenson with Layton City), recently attended the St. George Area Economic Summit in St. George, Utah....

A great Utah exodus? Think again
In 2016, Utah was ranked 3rd fastest growing state nationally, partly a result of Utah's high birth rate. ...

Salt Lake Chamber announces 2018 legislative priorities at Utah Economic Outlook & Public Policy Summit
The Salt Lake Chamber, Utah's largest and longest-standing statewide business association, held the Utah Economic Outlook & Public Policy Summit, in partnership with the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, to preview the business community's priorities for the upcoming 2018...

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Local Headlines

Salt Lake Tribune

Holly Richardson: To get more women elected, we need to move beyond lip service

Utah's governor launches youth suicide task force as state reveals 44 suicide deaths among 10-to-17-year-olds in 2017

Democrat Kathie Allen takes swipe at new senator's religion

If government shuts down Friday, Interior Department is telling national parks to stay open

Delta wants longer lease at Salt Lake City airport in deal that could help pay for expansion.

Deseret News

Jay Evensen: Is Utah becoming like California?

Sen. Mike Lee questions international court opinion favoring gay marriage in Costa Rica

New California declares independence from California. Is a 51st state on the way?

Lawmakers talk school funding, Medicaid expansion in advance of session

Salt Lake City showcases clean-fuel buses for Capitol Connector

New electric vehicle charging stations installed to help create 'clean air corridor'

Utah governor assembles team to tackle surge in teen suicides

Salt Lake FanX? Website signals official name change for Salt Lake Comic Con


Group working to bring Outdoor Retailer back to Utah after 2017's messy exit (Standard-Examiner)

National Headlines

No, the US did not spend $43 million on a gas station in Afghanistan (The Hill)

Protesters demanding Obama sign community benefits agreement make voices heard (Sun-Times)

Voters Currently Don't Want Oprah to Run for President (Morning Consult)

Oprah 2020 gets low ratings from voters (Politico)

Jeff Flake delivers anti-Trump speech to nearly empty Senate chamber (Daily Mail)

Trump Hands Out 'Fake News Awards,' Sans the Red Carpet (New York Times)

New California? 5 times Californians failed to split the Golden State (USA Today)

Border Patrol brain drain: Agency losing more agents than it can hire (FOX News)

Trump administration creating civil rights division to shield health workers with moral or religious objections (Washington Post)

'It might get ugly': Bay Area cities brace for ICE sweeps (Mercury News)

Trump's on-and-off relationship with Graham hits the skids (Politico)

Wise Words


"Anger is the enemy of non-violence and pride is a monster that swallows it up." Mahatma Gandhi

Lighter Side


"U.S. immigration agents targeted hundreds of 7-Eleven stores . . . . to investigate the legal status of store employees. Hey, if you're going to investigate something at 7-Eleven, how about the hot dogs? How long have THEY been in the country?" Seth Meyers

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