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Situational awareness - January 2, 2019

Good Wednesday morning, and welcome back to work following the holiday season.

Executive summary: Mitt-storm! Mitt Romney rips Donald Trump for a lack of character. President Trump to meet with Congressional leaders Wednesday to try and end the government shutdown. Democrats take control of the House on Thursday.

Thanks for subscribing to Utah's must-read daily political news roundup. Please add info@utahpolicy.com to your contacts in order to ensure delivery.


  • 26 days until the first day of the 2019 Utah Legislature (1/28/2019)

  • 71 days until the final day of the 2019 Utah Legislature (3/14/2019)

  • 122 days to the Utah State Republican Party Organizing Convention (5/4/2019)

  • 152 days until the municipal election filing period opens (6/3/2019)

  • 156 days until the municipal election filing period ends (6/7/2019)

  • 223 days to the 2019 Utah primary elections (8/13/2019)

  • 307 days to the 2019 municipal elections (11/5/2019)

  • 397 days to the 2020 Iowa Caucuses (2/3/2020)

  • 666 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

  • SL Chamber year in review

    Today At Utah Policy

    images/Shutterstock_article_photos/2019_predictions.jpgThe year in preview: Some bold predictions for 2019

    As we greet the new year in the Beehive State, let's take a moment and peer into the murky mists and see what 2019 might hold for us in the coming 12 months....
    images/Shutterstock_Mugshots/Mitt_Romney_07.jpgRomney assails Trump in WaPo op-ed, saying the president's character is lacking

    Incoming Sen. Mitt Romney fired off a volley at President Donald Trump just days before he is sworn into the U.S. Senate, saying Trump has not risen to the lofty demands of his office....
    images/Shutterstock_article_photos/Crystal_Ball_01.jpgOur "Political Insiders" and readers give us their predictions for 2019

    Now that 2019 is here, we asked our "Political Insiders" and readers to make their fearless predictions for the coming year in Utah politics....
    images/Resized_Mugshots/Mike_Lee_and_Donald_Trump.jpgLee says he will endorse President Trump's re-election bid in 2020

    Sen. Mike Lee famously opposed Donald Trump's candidacy in 2016, joining a last-gasp attempt to keep him from winning the GOP presidential nomination at the Republican National Convention. Now, Lee says he intends to back Trump's re-election bid in 2020....
    images/Logos/SL-Chamber-Logo.pngPresident's message: Addressing Utah's growth, all-hands-on-deck

    2019 is here and for many of us the start of a new year is the perfect time to reflect on our past and look toward our future....

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    Deseret News

    Pignanelli and Webb: A look at the new year: national, state, local

    Jay Evensen: You might not know it from 2018, but things are steadily getting better

    Editorial: New .05 DUI law is a tool to keep Utahns safe

    Utah Gov. Gary Herbert proposes big boost for public defender system

    IPOs, deals, arrival of Facebook, Amazon mark 'historic' year in Utah tech

    Pensions, pot and gambling? Not a Utah problem

    Utah police shootings rise, so does distrust between D.A., cops

    Utah 2018 homicides dip slightly, but police shootings way up

    'You can get justice': Utah rape kit initiative pushing for prosecution statewide

    Utah agency claims VA 'overscreens' homeless applicants' addiction histories, leading to vacant beds

    Salt Lake Tribune

    Op-ed: Utah's new BAC law should show mercy for first-time offenders

    Editorial: Can the Great Salt Lake be great again?

    Trump's steel tariffs have produced losers in Utah and at least one big winner

    Changes to Utah Democratic Party's anti-harassment policy aim to plug 'loopholes' exposed when a former candidate was accused of sexual misconduct

    Utah's gas tax will go up a bit as the New Year arrives

    Proposed Utah legislation would criminalize the use of fake urine and other methods for duping a drug test

    Sen. Orrin Hatch's 42-year legacy includes passing sweeping legislation, working across the aisle while sometimes being sharply partisan

    Sen. Hatch often said what he really thought - sometimes followed by an apology

    Hatch had a laundry list of legislative accomplishments

    Utah now has the strictest drunken driving limit in the nation

    Utah homeless service providers working toward a fresh start when new shelters open next year

    U.S. Rep. Mia Love was absent from most House votes since losing re-election


    Weber County commissioners foresee focus on economic growth, cooperative efforts in 2019 (Standard-Examiner)

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    • President Donald Trump will meet with Congressional leaders Wednesday morning at the White House to try and find a way to end the partial government shutdown, now in its second week. Trump says he will not back off demands that any funding package includes $5 billion for his proposed border wall - https://wapo.st/2F5QOXf

    • House Democrats, who will be in the majority come Thursday, have a plan to swiftly move on a series of funding bills to put pressure on Senate Republicans and President Trump to reopen the government. However, the White House says the plan from incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi is DOA - http://bit.ly/2F5R88p 

    • President Trump's strategists believe incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi will be open to making a deal to end the government shutdown - https://politi.co/2F1mSLG

    • The partial government shutdown has led to trash and overflowing toilets at many of the nation's national parks with no staffers on site - https://wapo.st/2F09R4W 

    • The Smithsonian, National Gallery, and National Zoo are closing to tourists on Wednesday due to the government shutdown - https://wapo.st/2F0CnUe

    • Former Nevada Democratic Sen. Harry Reid, who is dying from pancreatic cancer, called President Trump "amoral" and said he had "no conscience" in an interview. He also said Trump was "without question the worst president we've ever had" - https://nyti.ms/2F0n2TD

    • Fox News host Leland Vittert says President Donald Trump still has no real plan for building a wall on the border - http://bit.ly/2F0D8N4

    • The Border Patrol used tear gas and pepper spray on more than 100 migrants who tried to enter the country illegally along the southern border in California - https://cnn.it/2F6PzXR

    • The Democratic 2020 will get a lot more crowded this month. Following the announcement that Sen. Elizabeth Warren is running for president, several other Democrats will jump into the race soon. Sen. Cory Booker, Sen. Kamala Harris, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and others are expected to announce their presidential candidacies in January - http://bit.ly/2F0Asiu 

    • Former V.P. Joe Biden is paving the way for a possible presidential run in 2020 - https://nyti.ms/2F3BF8M 

    • House Republicans in Washington are finding life more difficult as they are in the minority for the first time since 2010. The media is increasingly ignoring them and their influence over the legislative process will be almost nonexistent - https://nyti.ms/2F1QxUZ

    • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said he was committed to denuclearization, but warned his country may have to pursue "a new way" if the U.S. continued to make "one-sided demands" in negotiations - https://cnn.it/2F1Prsl

    • A U.S. citizen was arrested in Russia on charges of spying. Paul Whelan could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted - http://bit.ly/2F6QR59

    • Ivanka Trump plans to launch an effort in 2019 focusing on increasing economic development for women around the globe - http://bit.ly/2F6kwuS

    • Netflix blocked an episode of the show "Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj" from airing in Saudi Arabia after the government complained the episode was critical of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his alleged role in the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi - https://nyti.ms/2F3H7s0

    • New York City introduces a gender-neutral option on birth certificates. New Yorkers who don't identify as male or female can choose a third option, "X," on the documents - http://bit.ly/2F6lCH0


    • 1788 - Georgia becomes the fourth state to ratify the Constitution.

    • 1811 - Timothy Pickering, a Federalist from Massachusetts, became the first U.S. senator to be censured after being accused of publicly revealing secret presidential documents.

    • 1900 - American diplomat John Hay announces the Open Door Policy to promote trade with China.

    • 1967 - Ronald Reagan is sworn in as Governor of California.

    • 1974 - President Richard Nixon signs a bill lowering the maximum speed limit to 55 MPH in order to conserve gasoline during an OPEC embargo.

    Policy News

    Utah Division of Consumer Protection to receive $10M in multi-state settlement with Wells Fargo for alleged unfair and deceptive practices
    Francine A. Giani, Executive Director of the Department of Commerce, announced that the Utah Division of Consumer Protection will receive 10 million dollars in settlement funds as the result of a $575M nationwide lawsuit against Well Fargo for violating state consumer protec...

    More National Headlines

    Kanye West Reaffirms His Support of Trump in His First Tweets of 2019 (Billboard)

    President Trump signs Ashanti Alert Act into law (AJC)

    Vape shop employee fired for refusing service to customer in pro-Trump clothes (The Hill)

    In California's red counties, sheriffs decry sanctuary laws after crime spree, cop killing (Los Angeles Times)

    Trump issues fewest regulations ever, 'Unconstitutionality Index' reaches record low (Washington Examiner)

    US military tweets, deletes New Year's Eve message about dropping bombs (CNN)

    The Top Ten Democrats for 2020 (The Hill)

    Washington bans anyone under 21 from buying assault rifles (NBC News)

    'Real Justice Department' veteran emerges as Mueller's top courtroom adversary (Washington Times)

    Wise Words


    "Resolution One: I will live for God. Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will." Jonathan Edwards


    Lighter Side

    Dollar Tree

    "Dollar Tree bought Family Dollar for about $8 billion. It would have been $10 billion, but Family Dollar was dented."@JoeToplyn


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