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Situational awareness - February 28, 2018

Good Wednesday morning from Salt Lake City. There are just 7 working days until the end of the 2018 Utah Legislature.

Legislators wade into a controversy surrounding a plan by the Utah GOP to kick candidates out of the party. Romney visits with Republican lawmakers. White House officials worry foreign governments are manipulating White House senior adviser Jared Kushner.

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Here's what's driving the day:

Lawmakers wade into Utah GOP controversy

State lawmakers say a controversial bylaw passed by the Utah GOP on Saturday is illegal and unconstitutional. They are mulling legislation to get the state party to back off their plan to kick out Republican candidates who gather signatures to get on the ballot [Utah Policy].

Utahns support giving UTA state transit money

A new survey finds that nearly 2/3 of Utahns support state transportation funds for the Utah Transit Authority as long as lawmakers implement reforms for the beleaguered agency [Utah Policy].

Romney visits Capitol Hill

GOP Senate candidate Mitt Romney huddles with Republican lawmakers about gun control, immigration and the controversy engulfing the Utah GOP. We've also got video of his conversation with reporters [Utah Policy].

USTAR on the ropes

Lawmakers are looking to wind down a controversial public/private technology development program. Funding for the agency will be cut this year and gradually eliminated [Utah Policy].

Budget coming into focus

Lawmakers are hoping to boost the weighted pupil unit (WPU) by 4% this year, which means about $132 million for Utah's public schools. They also are looking at giving state employees a cost of living raise [Utah Policy].

Other Utah headlines

National headlines

On this day in history

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Today At Utah Policy

Poll: Utahns support giving state money to the Utah Transit Authority if lawmakers pass reforms

Nearly two-thirds of Utahns favor giving some state transportation monies to the Utah Transit Authority, as long as the beleaguered bus and train district is reformed, a new poll shows....

Lawmakers may bring out the 'big guns' to get the Utah GOP to back off a controversial new bylaw

Actions taken by the Utah Republican Party's Central Committee on Saturday is illegal, says a Utah GOP House member who opened a bill file Tuesday to make changes to state law to accommodate that action....

Romney says decision to arm teachers should be left to individual states (with video)

Utah Republican Senate candidate Mitt Romney says individual states should lead the way on a response to the deadly school shooting in Florida that left 17 people dead....

Legislative budget negotiators targeting school funding and state employee increases

The "big rocks" of the state budget are starting to come together....

Lawmakers moving to 'unwind' USTAR

USTAR, an at-times controversial high tech public/private development program mainly located at the University of Utah and Utah State University, will be restructured and partially defunded in a bill soon to hit the Legislature....

Guest opinion: Utah's looming ozone issue creating more impetus for stronger oil & gas controls

 Utah's leaders have a challenge on their hands. Unhealthy ozone levels brought on by oil and gas pollution mean counties in the state's Uinta Basin don't meet our nation's clean air standards....

New survey: Voters strongly support protecting air, water & lands

 Seventy-seven percent of Utahns want to increase state funding to protect water, improve air quality, protect natural lands, and promote clean energy.  ...

Weekly survey: Should the Utah GOP be able to kick out candidates?

A small, but vocal minority in the Utah GOP wants to revoke the party membership of candidates who gather signatures to get on the primary ballot. Should they be able to? Vote now in our weekly survey....

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Policy News

Utah consumer optimism about job security and income growth increases in February
The Zions Bank Utah Consumer Attitude Index remained unchanged from January to February at 117.9 points....

New publication features Utah's true experts on the death penalty
 A new booklet called "Voices of Utah," published by Utah Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty, shares the stories of murder victims' family members, law enforcement professionals, and conservative activists who support ending the death penalty in Utah....

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Local Headlines

Salt Lake Tribune

Op-ed: A TUF way to pay for streets at the local level

Editorial: Utah's GOP burns itself down

The performance of Utah's charter schools has been a 'grave disappointment,' according to the Republican lawmaker who created them

Lawmaker says campus sexual assaults must be treated like the felony crimes they are

Lawmaker wants to promote 'good information' by restricting public employees - including elected school board members - from talking to lawmakers

Entrepreneur revives proposed pipeline to carry Green River water from Utah to Colorado

Utah gun owners explain in their own words why they own - or don't own - 'the most political gun in America'

Gehrke: Waging war over water in the Salt Lake canyons shouldn't come down to brute politics

Lawmakers advance bill to allow drivers to run red lights - if no other cars are present

Salt Lake City Councilman Derek Kitchen announces bid for Dabakis' state Senate seat

Worries about home values, reliable drinking water prompt lawmakers to order a study of changing the Utah Constitution

Romney meets privately with Utah legislators, tells reporters gun safety issues - including whether to arm teachers - are up to states

Bill pushes plan to convert northwest Salt Lake City into an international trade hub - but city slams it as a power grab for overriding local zoning, taxing control

Lawmakers advance bill to ban 'gag clauses' that stop pharmacists from telling customers how a $90 drug could cost them only $25

Legislature serving up help for food trucks

Bill aims to prevent another Brewvies sex and alcohol lawsuit by removing unconstitutional wording from Utah law

House scales back and passes bill to create a new government oversight committee

Utah House abandons a proposal to block journalists from House floor before debates, but it adds requirements for credentials

Deseret News

Op-ed: The fight against car-sharing in Utah

Derek B. Miller: Utah's Olympic miracle

Editorial: Are Utah film subsidies a flop?

Utah House panel OKs bill setting free speech standards on campuses

Salt Lake Councilman Derek Kitchen joins race for Dabakis' Senate seat

House passes bill paving way for 'legacy scholars' to become Utah residents

Efforts to preserve history of internment camp recognized by lawmakers

Lawmakers punt on constitutional water question

Utah House passes resolution backing restorative justice practices in schools

Utahns still high on local economy, survey says

Sheriff vows 'zero tolerance' for school shooting 'jokes'

Bill to prevent 'dying from detox' moves forward at Utah Legislature

Bill would delay implementation of Utah ballot initiatives

Work requirement, other Medicaid changes sought under bill approved by Senate

As high court ruminates, Hatch, Reyes lead charge on foreign data access revamp

Poll: Voters want Utah lawmakers to protect land, air and water resources

Lawmaker's marriage counseling bill seeks to curb Utah divorce rate

Sales taxes could be increased for roads, transit projects or both under bill

Utah House passes bill creating government oversight committee

House passes bill creating sex assault reporting guidelines for Utah universities

Utah House wants lawmakers to have power to call special session

Utah lawmakers scrap plans to bar reporters from House floor before sessions

Utah Senate proposes hike in vehicle registration fees instead of sales tax increase

Ex-A.G. John Swallow sues Utah for $1.5M in attorney fees after acquittal

Northwest quadrant bill sets 'dangerous precedent,' mayor says

Group places crosses at Capitol to remember school shooting victims

Protesters urge Hatch to cast deciding Senate vote on net neutrality reversal

Mitt Romney not wading into Utah GOP signature-gathering controversy


Utah economic expert urges preparation for future Utah County population growth (Daily Herald)

National Headlines

How Trump Wins Reelection (New Republic)

Heritage Foundation: 64% of Trump's agenda already done, faster than Reagan (Washington Examiner)

Trump approval 7% higher than Obama at same time of presidency (Rasmussen)

11 people fall ill after suspicious letter opened at Fort Myer in Arlington (WJLA)

Supreme Court sounds wary of Microsoft's shield for emails stored abroad (Los Angeles Times)

Justice Dept. Backs High-Stakes Lawsuit Against Opioid Makers (New York Times)

ICE confirms 150+ arrests in California sweep, slams Schaaf's early warning (SFGate)

A Georgia Republican's threat to Delta: Stop boycotting the NRA, or you won't get your tax break (Washington Post)

How Trump Conquered Facebook-Without Russian Ads (WIRED)

Bernie Sanders's son Levi runs for Congress in New Hampshire (Washington Post)

Democrats Unveil Plan to Save Net Neutrality (or Make Republicans Look Bad While Trying) (Gizmodo)

Wise Words


"The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others." Albert Schweitzer

Lighter Side

Favorite Child

"A new study finds that parents DO actually have a favorite child. The survey also finds if you have to ask it ain't you." Jimmy Fallon

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