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Situational awareness - December 4, 2018

Good Tuesday morning from Salt Lake City.

Thanks for reading Utah's most complete and comprehensive daily political newsletter. We help get up to speed on the most important local and national political stories of the day. Follow our social media feeds on Twitter and Facebook.

How are we doing? If you have any news tips, suggestions, complaints or just want to give us some feedback, feel free to drop us an email.

Executive summary: Lawmakers approve the medical marijuana compromise legislation. Utah expects a $1.3 billion budget surplus for next year. Special counsel Robert Mueller appears to be preparing for the endgame in the Russia investigation.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • utah economic outlook public policy summit

    Today At Utah Policy

    images/Shutterstock_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_09.jpgUtah lawmakers overwhelmingly approve medical marijuana alternative legislation

    Utah lawmakers after some inflammatory rhetoric passed in a Monday special session a "compromise" bill on medical marijuana just as they were expected to do....
    images/Shutterstock_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_07.jpgBig budget surplus means lawmakers plan to pay cash for new prison; could put millions into Utah schools

    Look for Utah GOP legislators to pay cash for the new Utah State Prison....
    images/Shutterstock_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_02.jpgUtah's budget surplus tops $1.3 billion

    Utah lawmakers announced they'll have more than $1.3 billion in surplus money to spend during the upcoming 2019 legislature....

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    Deseret News

    Editorial: The day for gene editing has not come

    $1.3B in new revenue available for next Utah legislative session, budget projections say

    'Time to move forward': Utah House, Senate overwhelmingly pass medical marijuana compromise bill

    Utah lawmakers pass driver's license changes, $235M for prison construction in special session

    How will legal medical marijuana in Utah affect the workplace?

    Salt Lake Tribune

    Editorial: Utahns had good reasons to vote this year. So they did.

    Utah coal mine keeps emitting methane a decade after it ceased operations

    Lehi's assurance that Point of the Mountain dust poses no health risk draws backlash from residents; Health Department says more study is needed

    Utah Senate, House vote to update driver licenses that are in conflict with federal rules

    Ben McAdams resigns as Salt Lake County mayor, effective Jan. 2, the day before he enters Congress

    One of every four residents in Utah's San Juan County lives in poverty. In Morgan County, just one in 25 is impoverished.

    Utah soon will have a new medical marijuana law - but not the one approved by voters in the recent election

    Cash or charge? Utah Legislature eyes budget surplus to fund new prison construction without bonding

    Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch shares a poem he wrote for former President George H.W. Bush


    Incoming Utah County Clerk Amelia Powers has big plans to improve Utah County elections (Daily Herald)

    Nordic Valley ski resort plans spur skepticism, and a little excitement in North Ogden meeting (Standard-Examiner)


    • Special counsel Robert Meuller's prosecutors are "tying up loose ends" in their investigation into Russia's attack on the 2016 election, which is the clearest indication yet that the probe is entering the endgame - https://yhoo.it/2FZl6wR

    • Special counsel Robert Mueller is required to make several court filings over the next few days that should give the public a detailed look into his investigation. Mueller will file a report on former national security adviser Michael Flynn on Tuesday and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort on Friday. The reports have the potential to be severely damaging to President Trump - https://cnn.it/2FXfHWR 

    • Legal experts are fairly certain that President Trump may have committed witness tampering with a tweet on Monday encouraging longtime associate Roger Stone not to become a witness against him - https://wapo.st/2FYCP7C 

    • Michael Cohen, President Trump's former personal lawyer, says he was in "close and regular contact" with Trump's legal team when he crafted his false statement to Congress - https://politi.co/2G0eoqh

    • Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort tried to broker a deal in 2017 to get Equador to turn over WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to U.S. authorities - https://nyti.ms/2G1Y5t1

    • Newly elected Democratic members of Congress are urging party leaders to focus on legislation, not investigating the Trump administration, when they take power in January - https://wapo.st/2G0ECc8 

    • Congress is facing a lengthy to-do list before the end of the year - http://bit.ly/2rju7Xa

    • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he's certain that lawmakers will be able to avoid a government shutdown later this month - https://on.wsj.com/2FZjaEB

    • President Trump has started courting the new Democratic majority in the House, but experts aren't sure if it will result in any legislative deals in the next Congress - https://wapo.st/2FTUPQm 

    • Millionaires comprise nearly 40 percent of Congress, but they're only 4 percent of the U.S. population - http://bit.ly/2rkHd6z

    • North Carolina officials are looking into allegations absentee ballots were tampered with in an extremely close congressional race. A set of ballots were sere signed by the same small group of people who are associated with a longtime political operative who worked for the Republican who leads the race by 905 votes - https://cnn.it/2FYCAcI 

    • Republicans in Wisconsin and Michigan, still stinging from defeat in November's elections, are moving quickly to limit the powers of Democrats before they take their seats in January - https://wapo.st/2G7IXdU

    • Mourners are paying tribute to former President George H.W. Bush in Washington, D.C. as his body lies in state in the Capitol Rotunda - http://bit.ly/2rkvzZG

    • A new poll shows Beto O'Rourke is one of the leading contenders for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. Also among the top picks are former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders - http://bit.ly/2riEryL

    • Sen. Kamala Harris, who is mulling a bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, says the race is "going to be ugly" - http://bit.ly/2riEgDL 

    • White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow says the Trump administration wants to end subsidies for electric cars and renewable energy sources - https://reut.rs/2rlhA5K

    • The French government is temporarily suspending a controversial carbon tax plan that triggered weeks of violent protests across that country - https://wapo.st/2FVVS28 

    • A Florida SWAT officer who wore a QAnon patch in a photo with Vice President Mike Pence has been demoted - http://bit.ly/2rjuNvG


    • 1783 - At Fraunces Tavern in New York City, General George Washington bids farewell to his officers.

    • 1861 - The Confederate States of America unanimously elected Jefferson Davis as President and Alexander H. Stephens as Vice President.

    • 1865 - North Carolina ratified the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, followed soon by Georgia, and slaves in the U.S. were legally free within 2 weeks.

    • 1881 - The first edition of the Los Angeles Times is published.

    • 1918 - President Woodrow Wilson sails for the World War I peace talks in Versailles, becoming the first U.S. president to travel to Europe while in office.

    • 1942 - President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the liquidation of the Works Progress Administration because of high levels of employment due to World War II.

    • 1991 - Terry Anderson is released after seven years in captivity as a hostage in Beirut.

    • 1992 - President George H.W. Bush ordered U.S. troops into Somalia.

    Policy News

    images/Resized_Logos/CYBER24_season_2_logo.jpgCYBER 24 Episode 38 - Cybersecurity expert panel - Part II
    The world of cybersecurity faces some significant challenges over the next several years. In this week's episode of CYBER24, we bring you the second part of a two-part series from the panel discussion we led at a recent cybersecurity summit hosted by VLCM....
    New report finds more kids in Utah uninsured
    The number of uninsured children nationwide increased by about 276,000 children last year, the first significant increase in a decade, according to a new report released by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families....
    Senate calls on State Department to continue search for missing Utahn
    Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) secured unanimous consent Thursday for passage of a Senate resolution calling on the State Department to continue its investigation into the likelihood that Utahn David Sneddon was abducted by the current totalitarian North Korean regime....

    More National Headlines

    How George H.W. Bush's broken 'no new taxes' pledge changed American politics and policy forever (Washington Examiner)

    CNN's Zucker: I'm Interested in Running for Office (Free Beacon)

    ISIS Group's NYC New Year's Threat: 'Harvest Them with Silencers and Snipers' (PJ Media)

    Trump can ignore environmental laws to build border wall after Supreme Court declines to hear challenge (CNBC)

    Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: Capitol Hill staff and interns need 'living wage' (CBS News)

    Michael Avenatti Preps for Two Weeks of Hell: Child Support, Debts, and Abuse Allegations (Daily Beast)

    Man planned to assassinate Trump with a forklift: authorities (New York Post)

    U.S. wants to end subsidies for electric cars, renewables (Reuters)

    Media swipes at George H.W. Bush legacy fuel outrage: 'Should be ashamed' (FOX News)

    Dow rises 288 points on US-China trade ceasefire (CNN)

    Trump view on Powell has changed from 'not even a little bit happy' to 'pleased' after the chairman's 'just below' speech (MarketWatch)

    Wise Words


    "Do you want to know who you are? Don't ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you." Thomas Jefferson


    Lighter Side


    "I'm not saying Trump's running out of friends, but today [Nov 30] he asked Rosie O'Donnell if she wanted to get lunch." - JIMMY FALLON


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