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Situational awareness - January 25, 2018

Good Thursday morning from Salt Lake City. 

Herbert delivers his eighth State of the State address. An anti-abortion bill on Capitol Hill may be unconstitutional. Lawmakers look to cut more than $160 million from the base budget. Trump heads to Davos.

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Here's what's driving the day:

State of the State

Governor Gary Herbert delivered his eighth State of the State speech on Wednesday night. It was a unique (for him) address that spent time looking back and forward to chart a path for Utah's future [Utah Policy].

Cut, cut, cut

Legislative leaders have told lawmakers that they should take seriously $162 million in base budget cuts identified by fiscal analysts [Utah Policy].

Picking a constitutional fight over abortion

Republicans in the House advance a controversial bill to ban abortions when the sole reason for terminating the pregnancy is the baby would be born with Down syndrome. Legislative lawyers are warning the bill may be declared unconstitutional [Utah Policy].

Romney gets closer to launching his campaign

Former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney met with top advisers in Salt Lake City on Tuesday to discuss policy positions he'll take during his run for U.S. Senate. A close confidant says Romney will likely launch his campaign by the end of the month [Utah Policy]. 

Handsfree cell phone bill battle

Lawmakers are proposing two separate bills to ban the use of handheld cell phones by drivers. One would completely outlaw the use while the other would prohibit them in school zones only [Utah Policy].

Reducing penalties for some drivers

Good news for drivers who get pulled over without proof of insurance. A proposal would eliminate fines and penalties if they can prove they were insured at the time of the traffic stop [Utah Policy].

Other Utah headlines:

National headlines:

On this day in history:

TrademissionsUtahPolicy 1 18

Today At Utah Policy

Herbert urges lawmakers to consider how their actions will be viewed a century from now

Missing were the references to Utah being ranked as one of the best states for business. Instead, Governor Gary Herbert delivered a soaring and forward-looking State of the State speech Wednesday night....

'Scene' on the Hill - Day #3

Our reporters bring you some quips and tidbits from day #3 of the 2018 Utah Legislature....

Two bills aim to ban the use of handheld cell phones for Utah drivers

State lawmakers can now choose between two bills that would restrict the use of handheld telephone devices while driving a vehicle....

House Republicans advance Down syndrome abortion bill despite being advised it's likely unconstitutional

Over the objections of the two Democrats on the committee, the House Rules Committee Wednesday morning advanced HB205, the Down syndrome abortion bill, even though legislative attorneys say there it is likely unconstitutional....

Report: Romney had policy meeting related to possible Senate run on Tuesday

Former GOP presidential candidate and likely U.S. Senate candidate Mitt Romney reportedly met with some top advisers on Tuesday in Holladay....

Legislative leaders want to cut $162 million from the base budget, but lawmakers aren't taking the request seriously

In no uncertain terms, rank-and-file GOP House members were told by their leaders Tuesday they had better take seriously the $162 million suggested cuts to the state's "base budget," or the money-saving process will just be scrapped....

Lawmaker wants to remove penalties for motorists who are insured, but can't produce proof

If a driver gets pulled over without proof of insurance, a proposed bill will allow them to waive the penalties or fines if they can prove they had insurance at the time....

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Policy News

Utah maintains AAA credit rating from all major rating agencies, saves taxpayer dollars
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and Treasurer David Damschen announced that S&P Global, Moody's Investors Service and Fitch Ratings have reaffirmed the State's AAA credit rating the highest rating a state can receive....

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Local Headlines

Salt Lake Tribune

Holly Richardson: Why do we need Better Days 2020? Because we have forgotten our heritage.

Utah's portable classrooms put kids at risk, engineering experts say

Utah's support for legalizing medical marijuana hasn't budged, with 76 percent of voters in favor, a new poll says

Utah lawmakers move ahead with expanding birth control coverage for low-income women

Trump's team wants Bears Ears, Grand Staircase lawsuits filed in D.C. sent back to Utah

Utah may end an anti-underage-drinking program - though the liquor stores that fund it brought in a record $427M last year

Utah House votes for fireworks restrictions - fewer days to shoot them off and higher fines for violations

Bill to enable toll road in Little Cottonwood Canyon advances - may lead to expanded tolls that replace state gasoline tax

This Utah mayor receives a 35 percent salary increase three weeks after taking office

No new initiatives, instead Utah Gov. Gary Herbert uses State of State address to praise Operation Rio Grande, working together

Gov. Gary Herbert, Senate leader call for Utah to follow feds' lead on taxes, but it doesn't look like that will happen

Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox to be governor during Herbert surgery

Deseret News

Jay Evensen: Thinking of new ways to take money from your wallet

A. Scott Anderson: How 'I can' will change the world

Boyd Matheson: Seize the moment and leave the swamp behind

Editorial: Disabled Utahns deserve compassionate care and better housing options

This new report says Utah is better than Arizona when it comes to retirement. Here's why

Utah Rep. John Curtis tells lawmakers he's packed a lot into first two months on the job

Bill to remove mentally unfit elected officials gets preliminary approval in Utah Senate

Senate panel endorses bill for driver license, gun permit fee increases

Senate committee moves proposal to eliminate decals on exempt plates

Bill to create toll road into Little Cottonwood Canyon rolls on

Bill aims to give Medicaid patients access to family planning services in Utah

Utah Senate committee favors replacing Philo T. Farnsworth statue in U.S. Capitol

Low-level offenders could train for jobs instead of serving Utah jail sentences

Utah lawmakers pass bill reducing fireworks days for July holidays

Herbert touts Utah's 'unique spirit of collaboration' in State of the State speech

Lawmakers worry costs 'out of control' as prison project nears $700 million


Point of the Mountain Commission presents regional vision (Daily Herald)

Lehi solar company debuts in Sam's Clubs (Daily Herald)

Expansive West Mountain rezone approved by commission to prevent new gravel pits (Daily Herald)

John Curtis discusses government shutdown, DACA at town hall (Daily Herald)

Weber County officials hold off on UTA appointment over procedural issue (Standard-Examiner)

Dual language immersion headed to middle school (Logan Herald Journal)

National Headlines

Evidence suggests a massive scandal is brewing at the FBI (New York Post)

Al Gore Defends Trump's Solar Tariff Decision At Davos (Daily Caller)

WaPo Staffers Fighting for Better Wages Told to Sit Down, Shut Up, and Be Grateful for Jeff Bezos (Splinter)

GOP feud with FBI ratchets up (The Hill)

Trump says he is 'looking forward' to testifying under oath for Mueller's Russia probe (USA Today)

Trump puts path to citizenship for some 'dreamers' on the table in immigration deal (Washington Post)

Senate narrowly approves Brownback for religious freedom job (Chicago Tribune)

Medicaid recipients sue to block new work-requirement rules (ABC News)

Cecile Richards expected to step down from Planned Parenthood (Washington Post)

Pointing to Trump Tax Cuts, J.P. Morgan Chase to Add 4,000 Jobs in the U.S. (Fortune)

Starbucks expands its paid sick leave and parental leave after tax cuts - and employee requests (Washington Post)

Wise Words

Task on Leadership

"The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been." Henry Kissinger

Lighter Side


"After his doctor earlier this week said that he would recommend Trump exercise more, the president said yesterday that he gets "more exercise than people think." Does he? I am not sure backpedaling on campaign promises counts as exercise." James Corden

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