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Situational awareness - February 5, 2018

Good Monday morning from Salt Lake City.

Here's an interesting bit of trivia for you history buffs out there. The Berlin Wall stood for 10,315 days. Today is the 10,315th day since the wall fell on November 9, 1989.

Utah lawmakers may nix tax hikes to fund Utah's schools, even if voters approve them in November. Romney eyed for a leadership spot in the U.S. Senate. The government runs out of money on Friday.

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Here's what's driving the day:

More shenanigans with ballot initiatives

Rep. Mike Schultz is proposing more money for education, but his bill also rolls back the proposed tax hikes in the "Our Schools Now" ballot initiative even if voters approve it in November [Utah Policy].

Senate Republicans want Mitt Romney for a leadership spot

Even though he's not even a candidate yet, Senate Republicans are talking about Mitt Romney as the next chair of the NRSC, their campaign arm [Utah Policy].

Romney could join a small fraternity this year

Only three former presidential candidates have gone on to win a U.S. Senate seat since 1972 [Utah Policy].

Signatures, convention or both?

Our "Political Insiders" say Mitt Romney should take both the signature and convention route to the ballot when he runs for Senate this year [Utah Policy].

Wilson's campaign cash

Democrat Jenny Wilson's campaign raised a little more than $124,000 in campaign funds during the most recent quarter. They also have about that much left in the bank [Utah Policy].

Stewart says intelligence committee memo does not exonerate Trump

Rep. Chris Stewart says a controversial memo released on Friday does not support President Trump's claim that he's been "exonerated" in the Russia investigation, but it does raise serious questions about bias in the FBI [Utah Policy].

In polling, questions matter

LaVarr Webb says we should be skeptical of a poll released last week showing failing support for the "Our Schools Now" ballot initiative [Utah Policy].

Campaign cash limits

Sen. Jim Dabakis wants to propose extremely modest limits on how much cash can be donated to political candidates [Utah Policy].

Other Utah headlines:

National headlines:

On this day in history:

TrademissionsUtahPolicy 1 18

Today At Utah Policy

School funding bill would roll back 'Our Schools Now' tax hikes if the initiative passes in November

A Utah House budget leader has a new bill he says will funnel upwards of $700 million to public schools over three years and thus remove the need for the Our Schools Now citizen initiative petition now headed for the November ballot....

Dabakis proposes modest limits on campaign donations

Right now, Utah is the wild west when it comes to campaign money. Anybody, or any entity, can give unlimited amounts to a non-federal candidate....

'Political Insiders' hope Romney uses both signature, convention route to GOP primary ballot

Mitt Romney is expected to jump into the race for U.S. Senate next week. While it's widely expected that Romney will gather the required 28,000 signatures to get on the ballot, our "Political Insiders" say he should go through the caucus/convention system too. ...

Observations: OSN poll, New Urbanism, and homeless in L.A.

Changing public opinion with more 'information.' Last week, the Libertas Institute publicized a poll purporting to show that tax increases under the Our Schools Now ballot proposal "stand to fail when voters learn about their impact."...

Guest opinion: Education choice is all about giving students what they need to learn

Education choice is a principle, not a specific policy. And more people agree with this concept than you might think....

Stewart says Nunes memo does not exonerate Trump (with video)

Rep. Chris Stewart said on Fox News Sunday the memo authored by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes does not exonerate President Donald Trump, but it does raise questions about possible bias in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation....

Romney would only be the fourth former presidential candidate to win a U.S. Senate seat since 1972

If Mitt Romney is able to win Utah's U.S. Senate seat this November, he would join an exclusive fraternity of former presidential hopefuls who were later able to win a seat in the Senate....

Report: Republican Senators are already eyeing Romney for a leadership position

Even though Mitt Romney won't officially launch his campaign until February 15, he's already being pushed by several GOP Senators for a leadership position in Washington....

Wilson reports raising $124k in campaign cash

Democratic Senate candidate Jenny Wilson's fundraising has been remarkably consistent since she jumped into the U.S. Senate race in July. ...

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Policy News

GOED announces Rural Businesses of the Year Award winners
At Rural Day on the Hill, the Governor's Office of Economic Development announced the winners of the Rural Businesses of the Year awards....

Local Headlines

Salt Lake Tribune

Op-ed: Count My Vote would take away accountability of elected officials

Op-ed: Don't forget those who suffer from chronic pain

Op-ed: A new way of doing business on water

Editorial: Give us the tax debate, legislators

Trump's new small-business leaders want to help rural Utahns

A Utah lawmaker is planning to cancel a tax hike for education, even if voters approve it

How Utah made $1.8 million from tiny piece of state-owned wildlife habitat

Utahns may lead on air quality awareness, but poll shows they lag on taking personal action

Conservative 'small government' Utah Legislature is busy pushing a record number of bills

Utah House Republicans aren't giving up their bid to create a powerful new committee to investigate state and local agencies

How do you pass a tax hike in an election year? Target out-of-state visitors, not voters.

Utahraptor claws closer to becoming state dinosaur

Call for another Olympics bid advances in Utah Legislature

Utah is a step closer to changing its definition of domestic violence to include an abuser whom a victim has dated but hasn't lived with

3 of 4 Utahns support tougher ban on cellphone use while driving

What will Trump's reshaping of Interior Department mean for Utah and the West?

$144M wish list in hand, Salt Lake City leaders start the hard work of figuring out how much taxpayers can afford

Utah's polygamous wives see a Martha Hughes Cannon statue in Washington, D.C., as a symbol of what women - including them - can accomplish

Gehrke: If Utah can import Canadian drugs safely and save millions, then why the heck shouldn't we do it?

Deseret News

Frank R. Pignanelli and LaVarr Webb: The wild card in Utah political races - Trump

Boyd Matheson: Mayor Biskupski - tear down these walls!

Op-ed: Minimal support for raising Utah's minimum wage

Op-ed: Hatch should close out career by reauthorizing home visiting program

Editorial: Shifting monetary policy could impact Utah's investments

House passes bill to provide grant money for convicts seeking technical careers

Bills strengthening domestic violence laws moving through Utah Legislature

Bill creating legislative oversight committee pitched

Lawmaker unveils bill to undo Our Schools Now ballot initiative

Interior deputy pitches agency overhaul to Utah's rural leaders

Committee approves bill naming Utahraptor state dinosaur

Bill limiting powers of temporary replacements for elected officials advances

Resolution advances proclaiming Utah 'ready, willing and able' to host another Olympics

Lawmaker mulling bill that usurps cannabis ballot initiative, could include implementation barriers

Utah lawmakers seek to snuff out smoking at the Capitol

Utah lawmaker seeks to ease burden on diabetics renewing drivers' licenses

Committee puts bill banning cellphone use in school zones on hold

Utah, like most places, is struggling to find qualified police officers. What can be done about it?

Required testing doesn't devour instruction time, Utah school district audit shows


Proposed legislation will make it easier for Utah County to change form of county commission (Daily Herald)

UTA board supports bill that would drastically shrink its size (Standard-Examiner)

Recognizing Weber County's 'pro-business environment' key in spurring growth (Standard-Examiner)

Utah Legislature considering tweaks to process of changing county government (Standard-Examiner)

Park City Rep. Tim Quinn breaks with party lines, supports eliminating grocery tax (Park Record)

National Headlines

Polls swing toward GOP, easing fears of midterm disaster (The Hill)

Trump Jr. suggests Russia investigation akin to 'McCarthyism,' says Dems are 'left of commie' (ABC News)

Tech giants are the robber barons of our time (New York Post)

Secret Alliance: Israel Carries Out Airstrikes in Egypt, With Cairo's OK (New York Times)

US Congress gridlocked as budget, immigration deadlines loom (AFP)

The GOP memo proves the 'deep state' is real (New York Post)

Think California politics is on the far-left fringe? Just wait for the next elections. (Washington Post)

Trump: Service members make Super Bowl Sunday possible (Associated Press)

Pat Robertson, prominent televangelist, is recovering from a stroke (Washington Post)

A male backlash against #MeToo is brewing (New York Post)

Powell Takes Over as Fed Chairman With Economy Primed to Heat Up (Bloomberg)

Wise Words


"Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth." George Washington

Lighter Side

Obstruct Justice

"It's come out that President Trump's director of communications, Hope Hicks, may have partially obstructed justice. Trump said he's furious with Hicks because he hired her to fully obstruct justice." Conan O'Brien

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