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The UtahPolicy.com daily newsletter gets you up to speed on the top local and national news about politics and public policy. Send news tips or feedback to lwebb@utahpolicy.com,.

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Situational Analysis - Nov. 18, 2020

Welcome to Wednesday. Today is National Princess Day and National Vichyssoise Day. Just thought you'd want to know. And Mickey Mouse's birthday. And NBA draft day.


5 days to the State Board of Canvassers meeting 11/23/2020 at noon
27 days until the Electoral College meets (12/14/2020)
48 days to Utah inauguration day (1/4/2021).
63 days to the start of the 2021 Utah Legislature (1/19/2021)
64 days to presidential Inauguration Day (01/20/2021)
108 days to the end of the 2021 Utah Legislature (3/5/21)

Today At Utah Policy

Utah's state finances are in good shape, but uncertainties lie ahead
By Staff
Even though Utah State government has suffered financially because of the pandemic, the state is actually doing better than originally anticipated, and certainly much better than most other states.The Legislature's top bosses, sitting as the Executive Appropriations Committee, Tuesday after heard report after report, most showing how well the state is doing considering what it has faced in the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in expected tax collections.
images/mugs-300/LaVarr_Webb.jpgWebb Wrap: Utah's big voter turnout . . . Vaccine distribution in Utah . . . Legislative fundraising . . . 10 trends to watch in coming year
By LaVarr Webb
Utah is going to end up with 90%-plus voter turnout for the election just completed. That is truly remarkable. It wasn't many years ago when turnout was very low. Former Gov. Jon Huntsman even convened a commission (I was a member) to consider ways to boost voting and civic engagement. I guess we were successful. Two things seem to increase turnout: 1. Citizens passionate about candidates or causes and, 2. Ease of voting. This year we had plenty of both. Donald Trump turned out both sides: His ardent supporters and his ardent critics. Nothing was going to keep his adoring base from voting for him; and nothing was going to keep those who hate him from trying to remove him from office.
Policy Savant Panel: Can Utah become a top-tier education state with low per-pupil funding?
By Staff
We regularly query leaders from the state's policy institutes/think tanks regarding timely policy issues important to the state. Here is our latest question and responses from our panel of policy savants: In normal (non-pandemic) times, Utah's public education system performs quite well, despite our lowest-in-the-country spending per pupil. But if Utah aspires to be a top-five education state, can we do so at current per-pupil spending levels? At what spending level can we achieve top-in-the-country public education performance?

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Utah Headlines

Deseret News

Salt Lake Tribune


National Headlines

Policy News

Romney statement on Afghanistan & Iraq troop withdrawal plans
U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) released the following statement after the Pentagon announced that the U.S. plans to withdraw thousands of troops from Afghanistan and Iraq by January 15, 2021.
A message from Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson
Dear Salt Lake County Residents,Among what seems like a consistent stream of frightening and unclear news about COVID-19 in our community, sometimes it is important to find those stories that uplift us and remind us of the sacrifices and struggles that families overcome to make a better life, even more so as we enter the holiday season.November is Adoption Awareness Month and along with our partners at Utah Foster Care, I was proud to sign a proclamation to declare it so in Salt Lake County. Every child deserves a chance to be raised in a loving, stable home and adoption is just one way to build a family. For more information about how you can help Utah foster children, visit UtahFosterCare.org. Even though the holidays will be different this year, there are still ways to share love throughout the community. You can think about participating in the 2020 Giving Tree Project to spread cheer with the elderly (more information HERE).
Take a survey to help Move Utah seminar series
Move Utah is hosting a series of free webinars focused on important topics related to Active Transportation planning and implementation happening throughout Utah. To help inform our selection of the topics, speakers, and timing of these webinars, we're encouraging Utahns to complete a brief, 5-minute survey. The input will be instrumental in helping to shape the content for the webinar series. Please complete the survey by Sunday, Nov. 22.
A Hatch Center webinar: 2021 policy forecast; Will Congress break down or break through?
The Hatch Center is pleased to host an insightful discussion on the upcoming 117th Congress with Martin B. Gold, Partner at Capitol Counsel, and Antonia Ferrier, Chief Strategy & Communications Officer at CGCN Group, with Matt Sandgren, Orrin G. Hatch Foundation Executive Director, acting as moderator. The webinar will be Dec. 3 at 11 a.m.Register HERE.
Governor appoints Gregory Lamb to the Eighth District Court
Gov. Gary R. Herbert has appointed Gregory Lamb as a judge to fill a vacancy on the Eighth District Court bench. "Gregory Lamb has proved himself a knowledgeable and experienced attorney, and I believe he will be a good judge," said. Gov. Herbert. "I am confident he will serve those in the Eighth District with integrity, wisdom, and with a good heart." 
Utah Senate Requests Public Comment on Judicial Nominee
The Utah Senate Judicial Confirmation Committee is seeking public comment on attorney Gregory Lamb who was appointed by Gov. Gary Herbert as a judge for the 8th District Court. Those who desire to comment should contact Utah Senate Judicial Confirmation committee staff, Jerry Howe at the Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel, by 5:00 p.m. Thursday, December 3, 2020, at the Utah State Capitol, House Building, Suite W210, PO Box 145210, Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-5210. All statements should include the respondent's name, telephone number and mailing address.
Curtis speech: Bipartisan legislation to help individuals overcoming addiction
Washington, DC - Congressman John Curtis (R-UT) on Tuesday addressed his colleagues on the House Floor and called for the passage of H.R. 2281, bipartisan legislation to increase access to medication-assistant treatment for those overcoming addiction. "Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 2281, which is an important bill to help thousands of Americans who struggle with addiction.
Senate approves bill to name Federal Courthouse in honor of former Sen. Orrin Hatch
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Senate has approved legislation introduced by U.S. Senators Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Mike Lee (R-UT) to name the federal courthouse in Salt Lake City in honor of former Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT). The legislation now awaits consideration by the House of Representatives. Senators Romney and Lee issued the following joint statement:

Business Headlines

On This Day In History

(From History.com)

1883 - American and Canadian railroads create and begin to use four continental time zones to end the confusion of dealing with thousands of local times. The bold move demonstrated the power of the railroad companies.

1928 - Cartoon character Mickey Mouse appears for the first time in Steamboat Willie. It was the first successful sound-synchronized animated cartoon film produced by Walt Disney.

1966 - L.A. Dodgers ace pitcher Sandy Koufax retires at age 30 after a stellar season leading the Dodgers to a National League pennant and winning his 3rd Cy Young Award. He suffered from chronic arthritis.

1978 - Peoples Temple founder Jim Jones leads hundreds of his followers in a mass murder-suicide at the agricultural commune in a remote part of Guyana in South America. Over 900 people died.

Wise Words

Purpose: "We are here to add what we can to life, not to get what we can from life." William Osler

Lighter Side

LIving Comfortably

A car hit an elderly man. The paramedic says, "Are you comfortable?"

The man says, "I make a good living."  Reader's Digest 

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