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Programming Note: UtahPolicy.com will not publish our daily newsletter Friday, December 29 and Monday, January 1 due to the New Year's holiday.

We will return to your inboxes, computer screens, mobile devices and social media networks on Tuesday, January 2.

Have a safe and happy holiday!

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Situational awareness - January 2, 2018

 Happy new year!

Will he or won't he? That's the big political question of the week: Will Sen. Orrin Hatch reveal he's retiring, or seeking re-election? An announcement could come at any time.

While conventional wisdom says Hatch, with the encouragement of Pres. Trump, will run again, our sources are saying Hatch will retire but it's a close call. That's especially so because Hatch might run again just to spite the Hatch/Trump haters (like the Tribune editorial board that charged him with "utter lack of integrity", complete with a ghoulish image of him). If he runs, he probably wins. That would be sweet revenge.

But he's had an amazing run as a U.S. senator, and it's time to retire. And he needs to announce his plans ASAP. He's left a lot of Republicans cooling their heels for too long. All signs point to Mitt Romney immediately gearing up a campaign to replace Hatch.

Meanwhile, assuming you survived the supermoon (or wolf moon) it's back to work for Utahns after a long holiday weekend and a lot of vacation time for many. The fun is over and a big political year is ahead. Here's our Tuesday rundown:

Tick Tock:

Utah highlights

National/international highlights

On this day in history


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Today At Utah Policy

While Utah waits for Hatch's decision, website for Hatch Foundation goes live

As the political world waits with bated breath for Sen. Orrin Hatch to make up his mind about whether he'll run for an eighth term in 2018, a webpage for the Orrin G. Hatch foundation has popped up online. ...

Ideology drives opinions on possible war with North Korea

Utahns are split over whether the U.S. will go to war with North Korea, with slightly more believing we will not, a UtahPolicy.com poll by Dan Jones & Associates finds. Democrats who likely mistrust or don't like Pres. Donald Trump believe war is more likely, w...

'Political Insiders' pick the top Utah political stories of 2017

2017 was quite an eventful year in Utah politics. Here's what our "Political Insiders" and readers voted as the top-10 political news stories from the past year....

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

Should state money for UTA require governance change?
 Key Utah leaders are suggesting what not long ago was unthinkable use state money for public transit.That is a significant, and welcome, change of attitude. To this point, public transit has been mostly funded by local sales taxes, fare revenue and federal grants. The...

The time is now for tax modernization in Utah
The Salt Lake Chamber has unveiled its new campaign calling for the modernization of Utah's tax code. The Chamber believes modernizing Utah's tax code is the most critical issue facing the Legislature and must be addressed this session.Why? Because Utah's economy has changed...

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Local Headlines

Salt Lake Tribune

Editorial: In 2018, Utah voters could go where lawmakers wouldn't with medical marijuana, education funding, redistricting and more

Christmas liquor sales in Utah break record, with brisk business expected to continue as New Year's holiday nears

After hearing from lots of locals opposed to turning the former Cottonwood Mall site into a residential development, it's decision time for Holladay planners

Feds optimistic Utah's history of failing to meet air quality rules is coming to an end, new EPA boss says

Utah's hepatitis A outbreak soars to 118 cases, but health officials hope vaccination campaign will soon halt its spread

A Utah lawmaker says his proposal simply encourages self-reliance - but some see it as an attack on new, legal immigrants

Rolly: Two historic Salt Lake City churches fear new alcohol law puts them in development crosshairs

Ready for the next election? Ready or not, here it comes - beginning Jan. 2

Happy New Year: Utah will not hike the gasoline tax to kick off 2018

Tanner Ainge plans to run for Graves' seat on Utah County Commission

After more than 30 years in politics, Midvale Mayor JoAnn Seghini is retiring - but not saying goodbye to service

Two Salt Lake City Council members are leaving - and expressing their frustration with the mayor on their way out

Deseret News

Frank Pignanelli & LaVarr Webb: Some cheap and easy 2018 predictions

Op-ed: Why I stand with Rep. Curtis' national monument legislation

Op-ed: Peace officers should not be revenue generators

A. Scott Anderson: Utah's good people made 2017 an excellent year

Editorial: Utah should remain cautious in moving forward with medical marijuana

Sen. Hatch expected to announce whether he's running or retiring next week

Controversial Kaysville councilman focus of extortion investigation

Trump's monumental decision tops Beehive State's biggest stories of 2017

Legislator wants tougher law against driving with cellphone in hand

Lawmakers take aim at significant water law reform

How Carbon County is 'building a fence' to protect the community from opioids


Top 5 Utah County political stories from 2017 (Daily Herald)

Vineyard welcomes its first female mayor (Daily Herald)

Political carousel, string of homicides lead top 2017 stories (Daily Herald)

Embezzlement charges result in secret agreement for former S. Weber councilman (Standard-Examiner)

Van Tassell, Park City's state senator, to retire after 12 years (Park Record)

Park City mayor retires after tensions, triumphs (Park Record)

National Headlines

As the Dossier Scandal Looms, the New York Times Struggles to Save Its Collusion Tale (National Review)

Trump Effect: Business, Anticipating Less Regulation, Loosens Purse Strings (New York Times)

Congress heads toward showdown over 'Dreamers' (The Hill)

North Korean defector claims Kim Jong-un has ordered biggest missile yet for nation's 70th anniversary (Telegraph)

On Trump's plate: Congress, midterm elections, North Korea (Associated Press)

Five fights facing Congress in 2018 (The Hill)

New York Dems Cuomo, de Blasio still seem at odds (FOX News)

Changes In H-1B Could Impact Tech Industry, Foreign Workers (International Business Times)

Who Is Susie Tompkins Buell? Clinton Donor Gave $500000 to Fund Trump Sexual Misconduct Accusers (Newsweek)

California rolls its own recreational pot sales out for 2018 (Associated Press)

The $15 Minimum Wage Movement Is Winning, And That's Bad News For Cashiers (Forbes)

Wise Words

Still True

"A President needs political understanding to run the government, but he may be elected without it." Harry S Truman

Lighter Side


"I read that a majority of Americans would end up paying more in taxes by the year 2027. Trump said its payback for the majority of Americans who voted for Hillary Clinton." Jimmy Fallon

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