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Situational awareness - February 21, 2020

Good morning from Salt Lake City and TGIF!


There are 15 working days remaining in the 2020 Utah Legislature

The Nevada Democratic caucuses are tomorrow (2/22/2022)

8 days to the South Carolina Democratic primary (2/29/2020)

11 days to the Utah presidential primaries (3/3/2020)

20 days to the final day of the 2020 Utah Legislature (3/12/2020)

32 days to the statewide neighborhood caucus meetings (3/24/2020)

64 days to the Utah Republican and Democratic state conventions (4/25/2020)

130 days to the 2020 Utah primary elections (6/30/2020)

256 Days to the 2020 election (11/3/2020)

339 days to the start of the 2021 Utah Legislature (1/25/2021)

Here are the stories you need to pay attention to this morning:

  • Utah lawmakers have plenty of money to spend on education, but not much for everything else.
  • A new poll shows most Utah voters think their lawmakers don't listen to them.
  • Intelligence officials warned Congress that Russia was working to help President Trump get re-elected next year.


Today's question comes from Orrin Colby.

Name the Utah Doctor who in the first half of the 1900s pioneered an innovative back surgery technique. He was also known as the father of occupational medicine in Utah and served as the medical director for one of Utah's hospitals for nearly three decades.

Send your guesses via email to We will randomly select a winner from the correct answers who will get to ask next week's question.

Good luck.

Thanks for subscribing to Utah's must-read daily political news rundown.

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Today At Utah Policy

images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_25.jpgLawmakers moving to make changes to voter-approved anti-gerrymandering initiative
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
For months legislative leaders have been quietly negotiating a deal with Better Boundaries, the group behind the Prop. 4 anti-gerrymandering ballot initiative. Those talks stalled on Thursday afternoon, but lawmakers are set to move forward with plans to make changes to the voter-passed measure anyway.
images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_36.jpgUtah voters say lawmakers don't pay attention to what they want according to new poll
By Bob Bernick, Contributing Editor
Most Utahns, even most Republicans, think their Utah House and Senate member pay little or no attention to what they -- the voter -- wants, a new poll by Y2 Analytics finds.
images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_11.jpgLawmakers have more than $900 million dollars to spend following new revenue estimates
By Bryan Schott and Bob Bernick
Legislative leaders announced they will have $921 million more to spend this year following new revenue estimates for the coming fiscal year. Most of that cash is in the state's Education Fund, while the tight picture for the rest of the budget got a little looser, but not by much.
images/1000px_Mugs/Donald_Trump_15.jpgLegislative leadership sends citation of support to President Trump following impeachment
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
On Thursday, House Speaker Brad Wilson and Senate President Stuart Adams made public a citation and letter of support for President Donald Trump following his acquittal in the impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate.
images/mugs/LaVarr_Webb.jpgBernick is out of the doghouse and back in 'full fellowship'
By LaVarr Webb, Publisher
Well, veteran Contributing Editor Bob Bernick is "back in full fellowship" (as we say in Utah) at the Legislature.
images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_22.jpgAhead of new revenue projections, lawmakers recommend boosting school funding by close to $200 million
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Lawmakers anticipate they'll have somewhere in the neighborhood of $50 million more to spend on education and another $30-50 million in the cash strapped General Fund when new revenue numbers are released on Thursday morning.
images/1000px_Mugs/Wright_Winder_Newton_01.jpgThomas Wright turns in signatures to get on the ballot while Winder Newton says she'll focus on the convention instead
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Two Republican candidates for Utah governor took their campaigns for the GOP nomination in opposite directions on Wednesday.
images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_17.jpgProposal would give school districts more flexibility in how to spend property tax revenue
By Bob Bernick, Contributing Editor
 While tax reform is dead in the 2020 Legislature, some of its distant cousins are surfacing as bills.
images/1000px_Mugs/Donald_Trump_04.jpgHouse resolution to censure Romney over impeachment vote made public
By Bob Bernick, Contributing Editor
State Rep. Phil Lyman's long-awaited resolution to censure U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney for voting to convict GOP President Donald Trump on one count of impeachment was made public Wednesday.
images/1000px_Article_Photos/Police_Lights_01.jpgProposed legislation would prohibit cops from investigating themselves
By Bob Bernick, Contributing Editor
Utah cops, whether they work for a city, county, college or school district, and prosecutors should not be able to investigate themselves or those who oversee them, so says a broad-ranging bill introduced Wednesday morning.
images/1000px_Mugs/Jan_Garbett_01.jpgGarbett set to run for Utah governor as a Republican
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
The crowded Republican field for governor is about to expand by one more candidate. Businesswoman Jan Garbett tells she is set to jump into the race as soon as this weekend.
images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_34.jpgUtah voters say schools, air quality should be top priorities for lawmakers
By Bob Bernick, Contributing Editor
Most Utahns want the Legislature to do things that will make public schools better, a new poll by Y2 Analytics shows.

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Deseret News

Salt Lake Tribune




A senior intelligence official told members of Congress that Russia was already interfering in the 2020 election and the Democratic primaries to help get President Donald Trump re-elected [Washington Post].

The Kremlin ridiculed the claims that they were trying to aid Trump in the election as "paranoid announcements" [Reuters].

Peace deal

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the U.S. will sign a peace treaty with the Taliban next week [Washington Post].

Lock him up

Longtime Trump ally Roger Stone was sentenced to 40 months in jail for lying to investigators. President Trump spent part of Thursday complaining about the prosecutors in the case [CNN].


Former Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher confirmed he would get President Trump to pardon him if he turned over information proving the Russians had not been the source of leaked Democratic National Committee emails [Yahoo News].


Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told a crowd at a private gathering in England that the Trump administration "needs more immigrants" for the economy to continue growing [Washington Post].

The White House admits Trump's trade wars and protectionism stifled economic growth [Bloomberg].

Race for the White House

President Trump's campaign ads will take over the coveted advertising space on YouTube's homepage on Election Day [Bloomberg].

Democrat Michael Bloomberg's campaign spent a record $220 million in January [Bloomberg].

Online streaming services have become a hotbed for political advertising [Washington Post].

Holding steady

President Trump's job approval rating from Americans remained at 49% this week, the highest point of his career [Gallup].

Trump's approval rating among small business owners hit an all-time high at 64% [CNBC].

Uh oh!

The U.S. defense agency that handles secure communications for President Trump suffered a data breach between May and July of last year [Reuters].

Social media

Facebook executives worried removing propaganda and misinformation from their platform would disproportionately affect conservative users [Washington Post].

Twitter is testing new ways to fight misinformation [NBC News].


The Colorado River's annual flow has declined by nearly 20 percent since 2000 because of climate change [Washington Post].


The University of Southern California will offer free tuition to students from families with an annual income of less than $80,000 [AP].


Policy News

Forty-four women completed political training with Women's Leadership Institute, many already running for public office
The Women's Leadership Institute (WLI) recognized 44 women who completed its six-month bipartisan Political Development Series (PDS), many of whom are already running for public office.
Casual Friday: Weekend Events & Outdoors Report
Outdoors Report -- Salt Lake Tribune: Looking to ski in Utah without the crowds? Here's where to go.
Utah recognized as leader in digital government
he state of Utah continues to be a leader in digital government services that benefit residents and business across the state. In 2019, and the state's digital government program received 12 awards from a variety of national and international competitions including the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO), the Center for Digital Government and

More National Headlines


1842 - John Greenough is granted the first patent for the sewing machine.

1848 - Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels publish The Communist Manifesto.

1866 - Lucy Hobbs Taylor becomes the first American woman to graduate from dental school.

1878 - The New Haven, Conn., Telephone Co. published the first phone directory. It listed 50 subscribers.

1855 - The Washington Monument is dedicated.

1953 - Researchers Francis Crick and James Watson discovered the double-helix structure of the DNA molecule.

1965 - Black Muslim leader Malcolm X was assassinated at a rally in New York.

1972 - President Richard Nixon visits the People's Republic of China to normalize Sino-American relations.

1975 - Watergate scandal: Former Attorney General John Mitchell and former White House aides H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman are sentenced to prison.

Wise Words

Be Doing

"It is no use saying, 'We are doing our best.' You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary."Winston Churchill

Lighter Side

A Little Late

"Trump's former chief of staff, John Kelly, is also speaking out. Last night in New Jersey, John Kelly defended the newly fired Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who testified against the president and criticized the president's position on many subjects. Which is all well and good, but it's now a year since he left the White House. This is like a smoke detector that goes off after your house burns down."- JIMMY KIMMEL

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