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Situational awareness - February 27, 2020

Good Thursday morning from Salt Lake City


There are 11 working days remaining in the 2020 Utah Legislature

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Legislative leaders have reached an agreement with Better Boundaries over changes to Prop. 4.
  • Lawmakers looking to put aside cash in case the economy sours.
  • President Trump puts Vice President Pence in charge of the coronavirus response.

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Today At Utah Policy

images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_24.jpgLawmakers plan to establish several 'rainy day' funds in case Utah's economy cools off
By Bryan Schott and Bob Bernick
Legislative leaders are growing increasingly concerned that Utah's economic good times won't last. They're considering socking away possibly hundreds of millions of dollars from this year's extra cash to prepare for a downturn.
images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_15.jpgLawmakers and Better Boundaries reach agreement over changes to independent redistricting initiative
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Legislative leaders and representatives for the Better Boundaries group have reached an agreement over changes to the voter-passed initiative to create an independent redistricting commission.
images/1000px_Mugs/Dana_Meier_01.jpgGuest opinion: Balanced bonding program makes sense for Utah
By Dana Meier, WSP Vice President & Area Manager for Utah, Idaho and Montana
There is some discussion in the current Utah legislative session about bonding to accelerate important transportation projects.  That would be a welcome and important step, because Utah's population is growing rapidly and little is more critical to economic development and quality of life than a good transportation system.
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."

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Deseret News

Salt Lake Tribune



"We're very, very ready for this"

President Donald Trump sought to ease fears about the spread of the coronavirus during a rare press conference on Wednesday. During the conference, Trump announced he put Vice President Mike Pence in charge of the government's response to the virus [New York Times].

The CDC confirmed that a person in Northern California has contracted the virus without traveling to regions hit by the outbreak of the disease or coming in contact with anyone known to have the infection [Washington Post].

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is calling for $8.5 billion in emergency funding to combat spread of the virus [CBS News].

More than 600 people in Massachusetts have been monitored for signs of the virus [Boston Globe].

A top official at the FDA warned the virus is on track to become a pandemic [Bloomberg].

Saudi Arabia is limiting travel by religious pilgrims to Mecca and the Kaaba [Fox News].

Markets tumbled again on Wednesday, but not as drastic as Monday or Tuesday [Bloomberg].

Trump supporters see a conspiracy by "deep state" actors to use the virus to damage his re-election chances in November [Politico].


A federal appeals court in New York ruled the Trump administration can withhold millions of dollars in law enforcement grants from so-called "sanctuary cities" [AP].


The House passed legislation to make lynching a federal hate crime [Washington Post].


Donald Trump's 2020 presidential campaign sued the New York Times for libel over a 2019 opinion piece on the Russia scandal [Politico].


New home sales in the U.S. climbed 7.9% in January [AP].


Earth has a brand new natural moon that is approximately the size of a car [EarthSky].


Policy News

Utah business leader writes that Iranian people must forge a path to a constitutional democracy
Note: Khosrow B. Semnani and Amir Soltani recently published an op-ed about Iran in The Washington Times. An excerpt and a link to the full article are below. Semnani, a long-time Utahn, is an Iranian-American industrialist, community leader and philanthropist. Amir Soltani, a human rights activist, is the author of "Zahra's Paradise," an award-winning graphic novel on Iran's 2009 protests.
Michelle Flynn appointed as new Executive Director of The Road Home
After an extensive national search, The Road Home, a nonprofit provider of emergency shelter, housing and other homelessness services in Salt Lake County, today announced that its board of trustees has selected Michelle Flynn to serve as the new executive director. 
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.

More National Headlines


1782 - American Revolutionary War: The House of Commons of Great Britain votes against further war in America.

1922 - A challenge to the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution, allowing women the right to vote, is rebuffed by the Supreme Court in Leser v. Garnett.

1933 - Reichstag fire: Germany's parliament building in Berlin, the Reichstag, is set on fire. Marinus van der Lubbe, a Dutch Communist claims responsibility. The Nazis use the fire to solidify their power and eliminate the communists as political rivals.

1939 - The U.S. Supreme Court rules sit-down strikes violate property owners' rights and are therefore illegal.

1951 - The Twenty-second Amendment to the Constitution, limiting Presidents to two terms, is ratified.

1973 - Members of the American Indian Movement (AIM) began a 71-day occupation at Wounded Knee, S.D., to protest the federal government's failure to live up to its agreements with Indian nations.

Wise Words


"About all I can say for the United States Senate is that it opens with a prayer and closes with an investigation."Will Rogers

Lighter Side

South Carolina Primary

"As a native son, I'm gonna be on this election like shrimp on grits, like mustard sauce on barbecue, like Confederate flags on more vehicles than I'm comfortable acknowledging." Stephen Colbert

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