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Situational awareness - February 1, 2019

Good morning from Salt Lake City and TGIF!

Welcome to February. 

Friday's news at a glance: GOP leaders are racing to pass the alternative to Medicaid expansion. A controversial transgender bill may be unconstitutional. Utah could allow the permanent storage of depleted uranium.

Friday's political trivia: Gov. Gary Herbert delivered his 10th State of the State address this week. Herbert is currently the third longest-serving governor in Utah's history. Who is the longest-serving governor in the history of the U.S. and what other high offices did he hold? Send your guesses here via email. The first three people to get it right will get a shout out in Monday's newsletter.

Talk to us! Send us your news tips, suggestions, complaints or feedback here

The UtahPolicy.com daily newsletter gets you up to speed on the top local and national news about politics and public policy. Our news is curated by Managing Editor Bryan Schott, along with help from Golden Webb. ((Click here to subscribe))


Today is the 32nd day of the year. There are 333 days remaining in 2019.

4 days until President Trump gives his State of the Union address (2/5/2019)

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

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

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

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

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

277 days to the 2019 municipal elections (11/5/2019)

360 days to the first day of the 2020 Utah Legislature (1/27/2020)

368 days to the 2020 Iowa Caucuses (2/3/2020)

636 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

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Today At Utah Policy

images/1000px_Article_Photos/Transgender_flag_02.jpgLegislative lawyers warn a bill barring transgender Utahns from legally changing their sex on birth certificates may be unconstitutional

Legislative lawyers are warning a proposed bill to ban transgender Utahns from legally changing their gender on their birth certificate may be found unconstitutional if the law is challenged in court....
images/mugs/bernick-mug.jpgBob Bernick's notebook: Legal protections for leaking to the media

As it now appears, any Utah legislator can request, and then release to the press and public, what is known as a "constitutional note" on any bill, not just their own bill....
images/1000px_Logos/Bernick_and_Schott_Logo_1000.jpgA quarter of a billion dollars - Bernick and Schott on politics Ep. 407

It's week one of the 2019 Utah Legislature. Bob Bernick and Bryan Schott take you through the big stories from the past week in Utah politics:...
images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_05.jpgGOP leaders want to get the Medicaid bill to Gov. Herbert's desk by next week

Legislative leaders are fast-tracking SB96, the bill to undo the voter-approved Medicaid expansion, and say they plan to have the bill on Governor Gary Herbert's desk no later than next Friday....
images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_17.jpgHouse Republicans block 'right to die' bill, likely killing the legislation for 2019

A Democratic-sponsored, end of life bill is, for now, dead in the Utah Legislature....
images/1000px_Article_Photos/Nuclear_Waste_01.jpgProposal would allow permanent storage of depleted uranium in Utah

Utah would be able to take depleted uranium byproducts for permanent storage under a bill being proposed by state Rep. Carl Albrecht....
images/1000px_Logos/SL_Chamber_Logo_1000.jpgBuilding Utah: 2019 Clear the Air Challenge kickoff

The 2019 Clear the Air Challenge starts Friday, February 1, 2019. The Challenge, issued by business, government and community leaders, is a month-long competition designed to encourage Utahns to reduce their vehicle emissions by choosing alternatives to driving alone....
images/Resized_Mugshots/Ben_McAdams_23.JPGUtahns say having a Democrat represent the state in Congress is a positive development

When Ben McAdams eked out a narrow 694 vote win in November, he became the first Democrat to represent Utah in Congress since 2014. A majority of Utahns say having a Democrat as part of the state's Congressional delegation is a positive for the state....
images/Resized_Mugshots/Jason_Chaffetz_07.jpgUtah Republicans say Chaffetz was lobbying to replace Lee if Trump had tapped him for the Supreme Court

Last summer Sen. Mike Lee was being mentioned as a possible nominee for the Supreme Court when Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement. Amid that speculation, a surprising person was angling to be named as a possible replacement for Lee - former Rep. Jason Chaffetz....
images/1000px_Mugs/Herbert_SOTS_Address.jpgHerbert's State of the State address includes a call for education funding and the biggest tax cut in Utah history

Gov. Gary Herbert gave an upbeat State of the State address Wednesday in the Utah House Chamber saying despite drought, wildfires and other problems in 2018, "The state of our state is strong, it is resilient and our outlook is very bright."...
images/1000px_Logos/Democratic_Donkey_01.jpgUtah Democrats may have torpedoed an effort to deal with sexual misconduct claims because they violated their own rules

A yearlong effort by the Utah Democratic Party to address complaints of sexual harassment involving a former party official may be for naught because they didn't follow their own rules....
images/1000px_Article_Photos/Guns_01.jpg'Red flag' bill allows a judge to confiscate guns if a person is deemed to be dangerous

State Rep. Steve Handy has introduced his so-called "red flag" gun bill, and while he says he's already "fatigued" by the controversy it has arisen, he will see it through the 2019 Legislature....
images/1000px_Mugs/Gary_Herbert_01.jpgPodcast: Gov. Gary Herbert on tax cuts, Medicaid expansion and gun rights

Gov. Gary Herbert is set to deliver his 10th State of the State address Wednesday night.Managing Editor Bryan Schott and Contributing Editor Bob Bernick sit down with Herbert ahead of his annual address to discuss some of the most pressing political issues including:...
images/1000px_Logos/USTAR_1000.pngUSTAR-supported technologies help pave way for STEM workforce development

 Utah's economy is facing a dichotomy. While the state is leading the nation in job growth, it is also facing a shortage of skilled laborers....

utah clean the air challenge


Deseret News

Op-ed: Licensing hurts, not helps, Utahns

Op-ed: Actually, we can afford Medicaid expansion

Op-ed: Prop. 3 may inject billions into Utah's economy

Jay Evensen: Is it time to restrict voter initiatives?

Bill aims to help rural areas with tire recycling costs

Utah Democrat to file bill to track environmental impact of Utah inland port

Utah House OKs bill to allow candidates to use campaign funds for child care

Did former lawmaker Mike Noel influence monument reduction? Investigation says no

Widow of Utah mayor killed in Afghanistan to attend State of the Union

More than 40 faith leaders oppose efforts to 'delay or limit' Utah's Medicaid expansion

Utah State School Board votes to oppose legislation that would eliminate 'elected' board

Utah tech leaders throw down $5M education gauntlet at Silicon Slopes Summit

Utah House greenlights bill that would allow cyclists to roll through stop signs

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert's proposed sales tax cut 'not going to happen,' lawmaker says

Salt Lake Tribune

Op-ed: Keeping a clear head on sales tax reform

Holly Richardson: Tips for getting lawmakers to read your emails

John Warnock: Utah's Engineering Initiative has boosted state's high-tech boom

Only 45 percent of Utah's high school graduates enroll in college the following year - one of the lowest rates in the nation

Most Utahns say they support passage of hate crimes legislation as proposal receives first hearing since 2016

Special UTA buses for legislative session averaged 5 passengers per trip last year, but are offered again

Jennie Taylor, wife of fallen Utah soldier Brent Taylor, to attend Trump's State of the Union address

The Legislature's Medicaid bill replacing voter-approved Prop 3 could be on the governor's desk next week

Gov. Herbert seeks $12.5M to buy two new state planes. But lawmakers question whether to sell off aging state craft and fly charter.

For cyclists, red lights soon may not mean stop - but rather slow, look and go if clear

'Fringe gambling' bill headed to vote in full House

A Utah lawmaker is pushing a digital privacy bill that would bar warrantless searches of data uploaded to apps or cloud platforms


Utah County commissioners aim to rise above dysfunction (Daily Herald)

Jennie Taylor, widow of Maj. Brent Taylor, to attend State of the Union address (Standard-Examiner)

Cache lawmakers weigh in on bill to amend Medicaid expansion (Logan Herald Journal)


14 days until the government runs out of funding.

President Donald Trump calls negotiations over funding for his border wall a "waste of time." In an interview with the New York Times, Trump said he will probably take action to build the border wall without Congress. Trump also brushed off several investigations that have ensnared several of his associates - https://nyti.ms/2GfIvIK

Pelosi: No wall money, period. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday there would not be any money for President Donald Trump's wall in any funding bill passed by Congress - https://nbcnews.to/2SifliJ

The White House is preparing to declare a national emergency to build the border wall. The Trump administration is quietly meeting with outside political groups to build support for President Trump to take such an action - https://politi.co/2GdTBxW

Donald Trump Jr.'s mysterious phone calls weren't with his dad. Senate investigators have new information showing a mysterious phone call from a blocked phone number to Donald Trump Jr. following a 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer in Trump Tower were with business associates, not his father. The information appears to contradict Democratic suspicions that the call was from then-candidate Donald Trump - https://cnn.it/2Ghdp3m

President Trump bizarrely says top intelligence officials were "misquoted" by the press. The officials contradicted several claims by Trump about national security earlier this week during a public hearing that was carried live on television - https://wapo.st/2Ge7zjq

Trump says the presidency has cost him money. Trump said during an interview on Thursday that he has lost "massive amounts of money" while serving in the White House - http://bit.ly/2GdEGUm

Trump will be surrounded by women during next week's State of the Union address. Along with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Trump will have a record number of women serving in Congress in the audience next week - http://bit.ly/2GkiCrv

Trump will focus on abortion during next week's speech. The president says he plans to incorporate anti-abortion language into the State of the Union address - https://politi.co/2GlTn8f

Polls! Polls! Polls!

  • 62% of Americans believe President Trump was aware of people associated with his campaign were trying to mislead government investigators or Congress - http://bit.ly/2Ggfc90

  • 70% of Americans, including 54% of Republicans, support higher taxes on the super-rich - https://wapo.st/2GdTRNq

Trump has a massive cash advantage over potential Democratic rivals ahead of 2020. President Trump's campaign raised more than $21 million over the final three months of 2018 - https://wapo.st/2Sn4MLa

Booker joins the 2020 Democratic field. The New Jersey Senator said Friday he would seek the Democratic nomination - https://wapo.st/2GgpxBZ

The US set to withdraw from nuclear treaty with Russia. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will announce the U.S. is pulling out of the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. That is fueling fears of a new nuclear arms race with Russia - https://cnn.it/2Ggd1SS

Polar vortex lets up. The extreme cold gripping the midwest is starting to break. So far the cold is responsible for at least 21 deaths - https://nyti.ms/2ScZjGX

2019 could be the worst year for measles in the U.S. in three decades. More than 300 cases of the disease were identified last year. Several outbreaks this year has health officials alarmed - http://bit.ly/2GeM95H


1790 - The U.S. Supreme Court convened in New York City for its firs session.

1861 - Texas secedes from the United States.

1865 - President Abraham Lincoln signs the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which abolished slavery.

1964 - The Beatles have their first number one hit in the U.S. with "I Want to Hold Your Hand."

1979 - Iranian Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returns to Iran after nearly 15 years of exile.

2003 - Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated during reentry into the Earth's atmosphere, killing all seven astronauts aboard.

Policy News

images/1000px_Logos/SL_Chamber_Logo_1000.jpgSalt Lake Chamber announces Fred Lampropoulos as the Chamber's 40th Giant in our City
 The Salt Lake Chamber, Utah's largest and longest-standing statewide business association, announced Fred Lampropoulos as the 40th Giant in our City....
images/1000px_Logos/GOED_ProgramLogos_Color_EDCUtah.pngUtah outpacing nation in health care innovation, Cambia Grove report finds
 Cambia Grove, a healthcare-focused hub where innovators and entrepreneurs convene and catalyze new solutions, and the Economic Development Corporation of Utah (EDCUtah), published a new report that found Utah is a national hotbed for health care industry inno...

More National Headlines

Hey, Democrats, you're roasting Howard Schultz when you should be working hard to find a centrist candidate (FOX News)

Roger Stone: I will not lie to special counsel (Washington Examiner)

Trump to throw spotlight on abortion in State of the Union (Politico)

Here's how much Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett could pay under Bernie Sanders' tax plan (CNBC)

Schultz presidential rollout ignites fury on left (The Hill)

Partisan anti-Howard Schultz zealotry leads liberals to disparage the poor (Washington Examiner)

Dem co-sponsor of late-term abortion bill apologizes, says she did not read the text (FOX News)

Networks, CNN and MSNBC largely ignored Virginia Gov. Northam's abortion bill remarks, analysis shows (FOX News)

Warren expected to announce candidacy on Feb. 9 (Politico)

Trump Jr.'s mysterious calls weren't with his father (CNN)

Trump says he'll meet with China's Xi after trade talks end with no deal (FOX News)

Wise Words

Strength and Courage

"Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage." Lao Tzu

Lighter Side

Chapo and Pena

"El Chapo might have bribed the ex-Mexican president $100 million. Although, to be fair, the Mexican president has already denied it from the deck of his $101 million yacht." - TREVOR NOAH

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