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Situational awareness - January 30, 2020

Good Thursday morning from Salt Lake City

There are 42 days remaining in the 2020 Utah Legislature, but only 30 working days until sine die.

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:

  • Herbert says the state of the state is "the best."
  • Lawmakers say there's plenty of money for education, but not much for everything else.
  • Republicans are barreling toward acquitting President Trump.


Days to the 2020 Iowa Caucuses: 4 (2/3/2020)

Days to the New Hampshire primaries: 12 (2/11/2020) 

Days to the Utah presidential primaries: 33 (3/3/2020)

Days to the final day of the 2020 Utah Legislature: 42 (3/12/2020)

Days to the 2020 Utah primary elections: 152 (6/30/2020)

Days to the 2020 election: 278 (11/3/2020)

Days to the start of the 2021 Utah Legislature: 338 (1/25/2021)

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Today At Utah Policy

images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_30.jpgUtah has plenty of money to spend on education this year, but there's not much for everything else
By Bryan Schott and Bob Bernick
The legislature will have plenty of money to spend on public and higher education this year, but the message to lawmakers on other state spending is to tighten their belts.
images/1000px_Mugs/20200129_Herbert_SOTS.jpgHerbert takes a victory lap in his final State of the State address
By Bob Bernick, Contributing Editor
Utah GOP Gov. Gary Herbert gave his final State of the State address to Utahns Wednesday night, and as expected he touted all of the good things happening in the Beehive State.
images/1000px_Mugs/Mitt__Romney_06.jpgLawmaker introduces measure to recall U.S. Senators, but says it's not about Mitt Romney
By Bob Bernick, Contributing Editor
A state lawmaker wants Utahns to be able to recall their U.S. senators if enough want to do so.
images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_35.jpgLawmakers off to slow start in 2020 Utah Legislature
By Bob Bernick and Bryan Schott
Well, you don't see this very often.When the 75-member Utah House and the 29-member Senate met for chamber debate and voting Wednesday morning, they had no bills before them.
images/1000px_Mugs/Michael_Christensen_01.jpgImpeachment: An Historical Overview (Part 3)
By Michael E. Christensen, Ph.D.
Editor's Note: This is the third of a four-part series by renowned public policy scholar Michael Christensen placing the impeachment of Donald Trump into historical context. Part 3 focuses on the impeachment of Bill Clinton; Part 4 will provide observations and describe what history teaches about the Trump impeachment.
images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_34.jpgLawmakers may add other programs that benefit children to education funding earmark
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Utah's constitution says income tax money can only go toward public and higher education. As lawmakers look for ways to create more flexibility in the budgeting process, they are exploring adding other state programs to that constitutional earmark.
images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_33.jpgHouse Republicans still eyeing tax relief despite failure of reform package
By Bob Bernick, Contributing Editor
 As Utah lawmakers moved Tuesday to officially repeal the huge tax reform package, talk was surfacing about what to do with the $160 million that would have come in state income tax cuts if the reform had held.
images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_25.jpgLawmakers quickly repeal tax overhaul bill as referendum effort officially qualified for the ballot
By Bryan Schott and Bob Bernick
With little debate, the House and Senate repealed the huge tax reform package members passed just over five weeks ago. The repeal effort passed with just one vote against in both the House and Senate. 
images/1000px_Logos/Bernick_and_Schott_Logo_1000.jpgThe quest for parking spaces - Bernick and Schott on politics podcast
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
The 2020 Utah Legislature is underway as lawmakers quickly decide to repeal the tax reform bill they passed just one month ago. Don't expect much else to happen with tax reform this year, though.
images/1000px_Mugs/Michael_Christensen_01.jpgImpeachment: An Historical Overview (Part 2)
By Michael E. Christensen, Ph.D.
Editor's Note: This is the second of a four-part series by renowned public policy scholar Michael Christensen placing the impeachment of Donald Trump into historical context. Part 1 provides an introduction and an overview of the Andrew Johnson impeachment. Part 2 focuses on the impeachment of Richard Nixon; Part 3 will focus on the impeachment of Bill Clinton. Part 4 will provide observations and describe what history teaches about the Trump impeachment.

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Deseret News

Salt Lake Tribune


A startling impeachment defense

Alan Dershowitz argued that a president could do nearly anything to win re-election as long as they believe their election is in the public interest [Washington Post].

Impeachment trial continues

Here are the questions Senators asked during President Donald Trump's impeachment trial on Wednesday [USA Today].

Republicans are increasingly confident they will have enough votes to block witnesses [New York Times].

If the vote to call witnesses ends in a 50-50 tie, Chief Justice John Roberts may cast the deciding vote [Politico].

Moderate Democrats are facing pressure as they consider voting to acquit the president [Washington Post].

Chief Justice John Roberts blocked Sen. Rand Paul from naming the alleged whistleblower in the Ukraine scandal, but Paul may force the issue [Fox News].

Trump vs. Bolton

President Trump raged at Bolton on Twitter Wednesday, saying he would have caused "World War Six" [NBC News].

The White House assumed a "disgruntled" John Bolton would write a tell-all book after he was fired [New York Times].

Even though it's slated for publication in March, Bolton's book could be tied up past November because the White House claims it contains classified material [Politico].


Experts call on the World Health Organization to declare the coronavirus outbreak a world health emergency [South China Morning Post].

The number of new cases of the virus in China is growing by more than 1,000 per day [Washington Post].

Trade deal

President Trump signed a new trade pact with Mexico and Canada on Wednesday [Bloomberg].

Big price tag

House Democrats unveil a five-year, $760 billion infrastructure plan [New York Times].


The European Union signed off on Britain's departure from the organization ahead of its exit tomorrow [New York Times].


The Fed kept interest rates steady [Bloomberg].

Good news

Life expectancy in the U.S. ticks upward as the number of fatalities from cancer and drugs drop [Washington Post].


Policy News

images/1000px_Logos/SL_Chamber_Logo_1000.jpgSalt Lake Chamber lauds passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada-Agreement
The Salt Lake Chamber lauds the action of President Donald Trump and the United States Congress with the signing of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), a vital trade pact the Chamber has promoted throughout most of 2019.
images/1000px_Logos/WTC_Utah_Logo.pngStill time to join us on Feb. 5 for a lunch seminar on legal strategies when doing business with China
Join the World Trade Center Utah and Harris Bricken to learn what to expect while doing business in China under phase 1 of the newly signed trade deals. Learn from international attorneys Dan Harris, Rob Lamb and Jonathan Bench as they discuss how the legal landscape is changing how business is done in China. Lunch will be provided.
Utah Department of Health gears up for coronavirus response
The Utah Department of Health has activated its incident command structure and is actively preparing a response to the ongoing outbreak in China of respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus, "2019-nCoV." This virus is spreading from person-to-person in China and exported cases have been detected in a number of countries internationally, including the United States. Five cases have been confirmed in the U.S. in four states Arizona, California, Illinois, and Washington. However, there is no evidence that 2019-nCoV is currently spreading from person-to-person in the U.S.
images/1000px_Logos/Congressional_News_02.jpgRomney: We must act now to prevent looming debt crisis
U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT), a member of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs participated in a hearing on the causes of America's unsustainable fiscal path.
images/1000px_Logos/Congressional_News_01.jpgSen. Lee statement on President's Middle East peace plan
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) issued the following statement Tuesday after reviewing President Trump's Vision for Peace, Prosperity, and a Brighter Future for Israel and the Palestinian People:

More National Headlines


1649 - British King Charles I was beheaded by order of Parliament.

1798 - The first fight to break out on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives began when one congressman spat in another's face.

1835 - A gunman fired twice on Andrew Jackson, the first attempt on the life of a U.S. president. Jackson wasn't injured.

1933 - Adolf Hitler is sworn in as Chancellor of Germany.

1948 - Mahatma Gandhi is assassinated by a Hindu extremist.

1968 - Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army forces launched a massive attack, known as the Tet Offensive, against South Vietnam, the United States, and their allies.

1969 - The Beatles' last public performance on the roof of Apple Records in London. The impromptu concert is broken up by the police.

1979 - The Iranian government announced it would let Shiite Muslim leader Ayatollah Khomeini return from exile. Washington responded by ordering the evacuation of all U.S. dependents from Iran.

Wise Words


"Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved."Helen Keller

Lighter Side

Twitter Time

"Senate Republicans said they were looking forward to hearing President Trump's side of the story. Which means I guess they're not on Twitter. He's been tweeting nonstop - he pretty much told us everything he thinks while sitting on a toilet in Switzerland."- CONAN O'BRIEN

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