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Situational awareness - February 5, 2019

Good Tuesday morning from Salt Lake City. Happy lunar new year! 

President Donald Trump delivers his second State of the Union address this evening. Georgia Democrat Stacy Abrams is responsible for the Democratic response.

Tuesday's news at a glance: Utahns give Herbert and Cox high job approval ratings. The bill to override Prop. 3 sailed through the Senate but may face more resistance in the House. Federal prosecutors issued sweeping subpoenas to the Trump inauguration committee.

Quick theater review: I was fortunate enough to attend the Hale Center Theater's production of "A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder" this weekend. The musical tale of the systematic offing of the D'Ysquith family is well worth the ticket price. Lots of laughs and catchy tunes. You'll be singing "Why are all the D'Ysquith's dying?" to yourself for days afterward. If you have the time, catch the show before it's gone.

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The UtahPolicy.com daily newsletter gets you up to speed on the top local and national news about politics and public policy. Our news is curated by Managing Editor Bryan Schott, along with help from Golden Webb. ((Click here to subscribe))


Today is the 36th day of the year. There are 329 days remaining in 2019.

President Donald Trump gives his State of the Union address tonight (2/5/2019)

37 days until the final day of the 2019 Utah Legislature (3/14/2019)

88 days to the Utah State Republican Party Organizing Convention (5/4/2019)

118 days until the municipal election filing period opens (6/3/2019)

122 days until the municipal election filing period ends (6/7/2019)

189 days to the 2019 Utah primary elections (8/13/2019)

273 days to the 2019 municipal elections (11/5/2019)

356 days to the first day of the 2020 Utah Legislature (1/27/2020)

364 days to the 2020 Iowa Caucuses (2/3/2020)

632 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

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Today At Utah Policy

images/1000px_Article_Photos/20180204_Herbert_Cox_Approval.pngUtahns give Herbert, Cox high job approval ratings

  Utah Republican Gov. Gary Herbert continues to knock it out of the ballpark in his job approval ratings, a new UtahPolicy.com poll shows....
images/1000px_Screenshots/20190204_Stewart_CNN.jpgStewart tangles with CNN's Chris Cuomo over Russia investigation

 Rep. Chris Stewart continued his full-throated defense of President Donald Trump on Monday night, telling CNN's Chris Cuomo there's no evidence that anyone associated with his campaign tried to collude with Russia....
Thomas Wright re-elected as Vice Chair for Republican National Committee's Western Region

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel released the following statement congratulating Utah's National Committeeman Thomas Wright on his re-election as Vice Chair for the western region:...
images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_06.jpgBill to override Prop. 3 sails through the Senate Monday morning, but it may face more opposition in the House

The legislature's plan to replace the Medicaid expansion approved by voters with a more scaled-back version easily passed the Utah Senate on Monday morning. But, there may be rougher waters waiting ahead of them once the bill gets to the House....
images/1000px_Logos/SL_Chamber_Logo_1000.jpgPresident's message: The business case for clean air

  While Utah's superb business climate is unquestionably one of the top reasons businesses move here, Utah's quality of life remains a major selection factor for both corporations and people looking to relocate to our state.  However, one factor that can negat...
images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_12.jpgLegislative bill to supplant Prop. 3 rolls back all Medicaid expansion in Utah if the state can't get waivers from the Trump administration

The scaled-back Medicaid expansion plan from lawmakers to supplant Prop. 3 depends wholly on the state securing waivers from the Trump administration. If they can't get those waivers, then all Medicaid eligibility granted from the expansion efforts would be taken away....
images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_19.jpgUtahns overwhelmingly oppose reinstating the sales tax on food

Utahns really oppose putting the state sales tax back on unprepared food, a new UtahPolicy.com poll shows....
images/1000px_Article_Photos/Grand_Jury_01.jpgBill aims to reform grand juries in Utah, making them a more useful part of the judiciary

Utah police officers shot and killed a record number of people last year, yet in the Beehive State, like the rest of the nation, only a small percent of officers are ever charged in such deaths, ever convicted....
images/1000px_Screenshots/20190203_Chaffetz_Fox.jpgChaffetz says outrage surrounding Northam blackface photo would be 'exponentially worse' if he were a Trump supporter

Former Utah Rep., and possible 2020 gubernatorial candidate said the furor surrounding a Democrat in Virginia would be "exponentially worse" if he were a supporter of President Donald Trump....
images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_18.jpgNewest proposal to replace Medicaid expansion will cost estimated $72 million over two years, but may save millions if Utah is given a waiver by the Trump administration

 A newly-introduced version of the bill to supplant Prop. 3 with a scaled-back version of Medicaid expansion will cost Utah taxpayers about $72 million over the next two years, but could result in hundreds of millions of dollars in savings within 3 years. However, that'...
images/1000px_Screenshots/20190202_McAdams_Fox.jpgMcAdams: Both parties are caught up in symbolism of a border wall

Freshman Rep. Ben McAdams said Friday on Fox News that Congress should shift the immigration conversation away from President Donald Trump's border wall, and instead focus on border security....
images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_03.jpgRomero introduces bill to end underage marriages in Utah

Two Democratic-sponsored bills relating to Utah marriage provisions were introduced Friday, one outlawing any marriages for minors under 18 years old....
images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_02.jpgLegislature's Medicaid bill replacing Prop. 3 will cost $30-40 million extra to implement (UPDATED)

Lawmakers are scrambling to find between $30 and $40 million extra to pay for the first year of the Medicaid expansion proposal that will supplant the voter-approved Prop. 3....
Sponsored article: Utah decided - now is time to expand Medicaid

On Nov. 6, Utah voters passed Proposition 3 and finally put to rest a years-long debate. ...

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10 days until the government runs out of funding.

President Donald Trump delivers his second State of the Union address Tuesday night. Will we get "teleprompter" Trump or "Twitter" Trump? Aides say the president will call for comity in Washington, but his political foes are skeptical - https://politi.co/2GlZf18

Democrats are trolling Trump with their SOTU guests. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is bringing the activist who shouted down Sen. Jeff Flake during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings. Others are bringing current undocumented immigrants who worked at Trump's golf resort or as his housekeeper. Many Democrats plan to wear white, which is a symbol of the women's suffrage movement in a show of solidarity against the president. - http://bit.ly/2Gr150D

Woah! Federal prosecutors issue sweeping subpoenas for documents from the Trump inaugural committee. They're looking for information about donors, vendors, bank accounts and information about foreign donors to the committee. The subpoena indicates prosecutors are looking into money laundering, mail fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy to defraud the United States - https://wapo.st/2GoZ84O

Hmm. A lobbyist at the infamous Trump Tower meeting got half a million dollars in suspicious payments. A former Soviet military officer turned lobbyist deposited large amounts of cash in the months before and after the meeting where a Russian lawyer offered Trump campaign officials dirt on Hillary Clinton - http://bit.ly/2Gq0zjG

Republicans in Congress are balking at Trump's possible national security declaration to build the border wall. GOP leaders warn the president that his plan to circumvent Congress would spark a rebellion in his own party, and possibly a vote to overrule him - https://nyti.ms/2GnoxMl

Polls! Polls! Polls!

  • 56% of Americans disapprove of President Trump's job performance - https://politi.co/2SyUKGO

  • Pelosi's popularity jumps. A new CNN poll shows the favorability for Democratic Speaker of the House surged 8 points over the last month - http://bit.ly/2Sv5FRU

  • 43% of Americans say this is the worst-run government they've seen in their lifetimes - https://cnn.it/2SyTTWC

Keeping Trump's taxes secret. The Treasury Department is readying plans to thwart plans by the Democratic-led House to subpoena President Trump's tax returns - https://politi.co/2SrtqdI

Trump taps Bernhardt for Interior. President Trump names David Bernhardt, a former oil lobbyist, as the next Secretary of the Interior - https://nyti.ms/2Gpm9Vk

Public hangings for cop killers? Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler wants President Donald Trump to call for the death penalty by public hanging for cop killers - http://bit.ly/2SsySNq

Too many administration vacancies. GOP Senators are expressing concern that there are too many unfilled openings in the Trump administration - https://wapo.st/2GtJPYu

Virginia politics in chaos. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is rebuffing calls for him to resign after a racist photo from his medical school yearbook surfaced. The man who would succeed him, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax is denying a sexual assault allegation from a conservative website - https://wapo.st/2GpdHVX

North Korea is hiding their nuclear missiles. A UN report says the country is trying to ensure its missile programs remain safe from U.S. military strikes - http://bit.ly/2SrGrnD

Ruth Bader Ginsburg makes her first public appearance since surgery for cancer last year. The 85-year-old Supreme Court Justice attended a performance in Washington, D.C. - https://wapo.st/2GmTWOY

Global warming will melt a third of the glaciers in the Himalayas by 2100. A new report says the melting of glaciers in the region where Mt. Everest is located could imperil the water supply of more than a billion people -  http://bit.ly/2Sp22gx


1631 - British clergyman Roger Williams, who founded the colony of Rhode Island, arrived in Salem, Mass., seeking religious freedom.

1778 - South Carolina becomes the second state to ratify the Articles of Confederation.

1917 - Congress passes the Immigration Act of 1917 over President Woodrow Wilson's veto. The legislation imposed literacy tests on immigrants and barred immigration from the Asia-Pacific zone.

1945 - American troops led by Gen. Douglas MacArthur returned to Manila, liberating the Philippine capital from Japanese authority.

1958 - A hydrogen bomb known as the Tybee Bomb is lost by the US Air Force off the coast of Savannah, Georgia, never to be recovered.

1994 - White supremacist Byron De La Beckwith was convicted of the 1963 killing of civil rights leader Medgar Evers.

Policy News

McAdams named a Housing Task Force Co-Chair
 Congressman Ben McAdams has been named Co-Chair of the New Democrat Coalition Housing Task Force....
Sen. Lee delivers remarks on Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act
 Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) spoke on the Senate floor regarding the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, to be considered by the Senate....
Cicero Group welcomes newest principals
Cicero Group, a market leader in data insights and implementation, is pleased to announce the advancement of three new Principals: Allison Miller, Cameron Nelson and Dan Case. With the addition of these Principals, Cicero Group is poised to enter 2019 with an eye toward grow...
Curtis protects Utah priorities with new tariff safeguard legislation
Congressman John Curtis (R-UT), member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released the following statement after introducing the Bicameral Congressional Trade Authority Act of 2019 with a group of bipartisan legislators....

More National Headlines

Wise Words


"History never really says goodbye. History says, 'See you later.'" Eduardo Galeano

Lighter Side

Border Narrative

"The White House looked into this and found no evidence to back up the president. It's a bad sign when even the White House is like, 'We have no idea what he's talking about either.' And even nuttier, someone figured this out: The prayer mats and duct tape, these were all plot points from the movie 'Sicario.' So, it's a good thing the president hasn't seen 'Star Wars,' because he'd probably be asking for money to build the Death Star." - JIMMY KIMMEL

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