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Situational awareness - February 26, 2020

Good Wednesday morning from Salt Lake City


There are 12 working days remaining in the 2020 Utah Legislature

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Health officials warn about the inevitable spread of the coronavirus in the U.S.
  • Utah lawmakers consider putting $100 million into the state's rainy-day funds.
  • Romney warns the Trump administration is not prepared to fight the coronavirus.

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Today At Utah Policy

images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_19.jpgLawmakers may put $100 million aside this year as a hedge against an economic downturn
By Bryan Schott and Bob Bernick
Majority Republicans in the Utah Legislature are discussing putting as much as $100 million of extra income tax money into the state's rainy day funds as a hedge against any number of bad economic situations.
images/1000px_Mugs/Mitt_Romney_10.jpgRomney says the Trump administration is not prepared to battle the coronavirus
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Sen. Mitt Romney confronted Trump administration officials on Tuesday over a lack of preparedness to fight a potential outbreak of the coronavirus in the United States.
images/1000px_Article_Photos/DUI_01.jpgUtahns arrested for DUI will have to tell cops where they got the booze under new liquor bill
By Bob Bernick, Contributing Editor
In a massive alcohol control bill introduced Tuesday, are a few lines that say an arresting DUI officer must ask the offender where he/she got the alcohol which made them legally drunk -- and report the source.
images/1000px_Logos/Bernick_and_Schott_Logo_1000.jpgIf you like it, then you better put an arch on it - Bernick and Schott on politics podcast
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
 We're heading into the home stretch of the 2020 Utah Legislature. Bryan Schott and Bob Bernick help you keep your head above water with all of the big developments.
images/1000px_Article_Photos/2020_Election_01.jpgShould the Utah Legislature cut taxes this year? We ask the GOP candidates for governor what they would do
By Bob Bernick, Contributing Editor
Five of the six main GOP gubernatorial candidates this year tell that they want the Republican-controlled Legislature to cut taxes this session.
images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_37.jpgLegislative leaders deny they're moving to repeal Prop. 4 as they continue to seek a deal
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Legislative leaders and representatives from the Better Boundaries group are still involved in talks over changes to the voter-approved anti-gerrymandering initiative. But, lawmakers deny there is any move to repeal the measure as supporters have claimed.
images/1000px_Mugs/Bernick_Mug_01.jpgBob Bernick's notebook: Guarding against the blowback from anti-Romney resolution
By Bob Bernick, Contributing Editor
For those who watch the Utah Legislature closely -- as I do -- it was interesting to see that the legislative attorney who wrote Rep. Phil Lyman's "censure" resolution condemning U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney's vote to impeach GOP President Donald Trump was John Fellows.
images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_20.jpgProposal would make it illegal to disrupt a public meeting
By Bob Bernick, Contributing Editor
A state senator has introduced a bill that would make it a Class B misdemeanor -- with jail time and a fine -- for disrupting an official meeting of "public servants."
images/1000px_Article_Photos/Congress_B_W_01.jpgUtah voters say Republicans in Congress are doing a better job than Democrats
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Utah voters believe Republicans in Congress are handling their jobs better than Democrats, but most disapprove of both groups.
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_Article_Photos/Vape_Pens_01.jpgOne lawmaker is proposing a total ban on vaping in Utah
By Bob Bernick, Contributing Editor
State Rep. Paul Ray has a solution to the competing e-cigarette bills now battling each other on Capitol Hill -- ban vaping completely, make it illegal.

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Deseret News

Salt Lake Tribune



"This could be bad"

The Centers for Disease Control warned Tuesday that an outbreak of coronavirus in the U.S. is inevitable, and the disruption to everyday life from the disease could be severe [New York Times].

Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, contradicted the CDC on Tuesday saying the U.S. has contained the spread of the virus saying, "It's pretty close to airtight" [CNBC].

The Trump administration asked Congress for $2.5 billion in additional funding to fight the coronavirus, but Democrats said that sum was insufficient [Politico].

President Donald Trump is reportedly furious about the drop in the stock market over fears about the spread of the virus [Washington Post].

The Dow Jones dropped more than 800 points for the second straight day [CNBC].

San Francisco has declared a state of emergency over the coronavirus despite no cases being reported in the city [San Fransisco Chronicle].

The International Olympic Committee warned the Summer Olympics in Tokyo could be canceled because of the coronavirus outbreak [AP].

A messy Democratic debate

The Democratic presidential field ganged up on Sen. Bernie Sanders in the final debate before the South Carolina primary and Super Tuesday elections [Washington Post].

A wild story

The White House has hired a college senior to be one of the top officials in the Presidential Personnel Office [Politico].


Policy News

Utah Council on Financial and Economic Education kicks off year of savings with Utah Saves Week
Utah State Treasurer David Damschen announced that Utah is kicking off a savings-focused year with "Utah Saves Week" and urges Utahns to automate their savings.
Hatch to receive religious liberty's highest honor
Orrin G. Hatch, Chairman Emeritus of the Orrin G. Hatch Foundation, has been named Becket's 2020 Canterbury Medalist for his instrumental role in the passing of fundamental legislation in defense of religious liberty for people of all faiths.

More National Headlines


1616 - Galileo Galilei is formally banned by the Roman Catholic Church from teaching or defending the view that the earth orbits the sun.

1815 - Napoleon Bonaparte and 1,200 men left his exile on the Isle of Elba to start his 100-day campaign to regain France.

1919 - President Woodrow Wilson signs an act of Congress establishing the Grand Canyon National Park.

1929 - President Calvin Coolidge signs an executive order establishing Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.

1993 - A truck bomb parked below the North Tower of the World Trade Center explodes, killing six and injuring over a thousand.

2012 - George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla.

Wise Words

Strong or Shallow

"Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect."Ralph Waldo Emerson

Lighter Side

Barr Tweets

"William Barr, caused a stir . . . . by telling reporters the president should stop tweeting about pending justice department cases "in other words, he's like, 'Listen, moron, how am I supposed to do your dirty work if you keep telling people about it?" said [Jimmy] Kimmel. "I think it's a PR move," he said. "If Barr did this without Trump's OK he'd be covered in tweet vomit right now. He'd be covered in little orange fist marks all over his face."

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