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Situational awareness - February 6, 2019

Good Wednesday morning from Salt Lake City.

Wednesday's news at a glance: Trump gives his State of the Union address. Herbert says lawmakers are on the right path with their Medicaid expansion plans. Utah could ditch straight-party voting on ballots. 

Talk to us! Send us your news tips, suggestions, complaints or feedback here

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 37th day of the year. There are 328 days remaining in 2019.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Today At Utah Policy

images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_20.jpgWill Utah get a Medicaid waiver for limited expansion? Republicans in the Legislature are confident it will happen

Gov. Gary Herbert said Tuesday he believes Utah lawmakers are on the right track with their alternative plan for Medicaid expansion that supplants the voter-approved Prop. 3....
images/1000px_Article_Photos/Vape_Pens_01.jpgLawmakers will again consider raising taxes on e-cigarettes

 Perhaps the second time will be the charm....
images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_13.jpgProposal requires smaller counties to use the commission form of government

 Saying he wants to protect small counties from heavy-handed special interest political meddling, state Rep. Phil Lyman has a bill that would require the commission form of government only for counties of the fourth, fifth and sixth class....
images/1000px_Article_Photos/Ballot_Box_01.jpgThis could be the year Utah does away with straight-party voting on ballots

 This may be the year the Utah Legislature does away with straight party-line voting on ballots and if it is, you can probably thank Salt Lake County voters....
images/1000px_Screenshots/20190205_Chaffetz_Fox.jpgChaffetz says he wants Trump to call for the country to come together in SOTU, but says Democrats 'can't do it'

Former Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz, who is mentioned as a possible candidate for Utah Governor in 2020, says he hopes President Donald Trump calls for national unity during Tuesday's State of the Union address, but he doubts Democrats will be able to....
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....

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9 days until the government runs out of funding.

State of the Union 2019

  • President Donald Trump's called for bipartisan Unity on Tuesday night while, at the same time, warning about a national crisis at the southern border - https://wapo.st/2GrAzo0

  • Trump called for an end to the investigations against him, calling out "ridiculous" and "partisan" probes. Lots of people immediately drew a parallel to Nixon calling for an end to the Watergate investigation during his State of the Union in 1974 - http://bit.ly/2Gu6eF5

  • President Trump announced he will meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at the end of this month in Vietnam - https://nyti.ms/2GnL63z

  • Trump called on Congress to outlaw late-term abortions during the speech - http://bit.ly/2GsbF7N

  • Democrat Stacy Abrams bashed Trump for the government shutdown "stunt" during the response to the president's speech. She also warned about the growing problem of voter suppression - https://politi.co/2GqbXMq

  • Speaker Nancy Pelosi said "it will take days to fact check" Trump's speech. She also accused the president of threatening Congress - http://bit.ly/2Gqd66G

  • Conservative pundit Ann Coulter blasted Trump's speech as the "lamest, sappiest" SOTU ever. She was upset he didn't spend more time talking about the need for a border wall - http://bit.ly/2GoXeRQ

  • Speaker Pelosi's sarcastic clapping toward President Trump immediately became an internet sensation - https://wapo.st/2GrBqF9

  • Snap polling found a mostly positive response from Americans toward the president's address - http://bit.ly/2GscKfR

2020 watch.

  • The Democratic field seeking the 2020 nomination may be much smaller than we were initially expecting - http://bit.ly/2GqcnCu

  • Texas Democrat Beto O'Rourke tells Oprah Winfrey he'll decide on whether to run for president before the end of the month - http://bit.ly/2Gqiy9v

  • Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar will announce whether she's running for president on Sunday - http://strib.mn/2Gs2Ryw

  • Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren apologizes for identifying herself as a Native American - https://wapo.st/2GtTluP

  • A Democratic super PAC is unloading tons of opposition research against potential independent candidate Howard Schultz - https://cnb.cx/2SzWzDm

Trump's travel to Mar-a-Lago has cost taxpayers about $64 million so far. The Congressional Budget Office says Trump's first four trips to his Florida resort in 2017 cost $14 million - https://wapo.st/2GqhvGB

Republicans in Congress are ready to make a government funding deal, without funding for Trump's border wall. GOP Senators say they need to find a bipartisan deal regardless if President Trump will sign it or not - https://wapo.st/2Gt7poC

Documents show how the Trump organization pursued a Trump Tower deal in Moscow during the 2016 campaign. The cache of documents contradict President Trump's claim that the negotiations with Moscow were not very far along - http://bit.ly/2SuuMVa

More trade talks with China on tap. Senior U.S. and Chinese officials will meet next week in Beijing in an attempt to avert a March 2 increase in tariffs - https://reut.rs/2GrxIeL

Scientists discover a huge hole beneath an Antarctic glacier. They're worried the ice sheet is melting much faster than previously thought - http://bit.ly/2GsO6LO


1778 - In Paris, the Treaty of Alliance and the Treaty of Commerce are signed by the United States and France signaling official recognition of the United States.

1788 - Massachusetts becomes the sixth state to ratify the Constitution.

1862 - Forces under the command of Ulysses S. Grant and Andrew H. Foote give the Union its first victory of the Civil War, capturing Fort Henry, Tennessee.

1899 - The Treaty of Paris, a peace treaty between the U.S. and Spain ending the Spanish-American War, is ratified by the United States Senate.

1918 - British women over the age of 30 who meet minimum property qualifications, are given the right to vote by Parliament.

1952 - Princess Elizabeth became sovereign of Great Britain upon the death of her father, King George VI. She was crowned Queen Elizabeth II on June 2, 1953.

1998 - Washington National Airport is renamed Ronald Reagan National Airport.

Policy News

Senate passes resolution renaming VA outstation after Major Brent Taylor
 The United States Senate agreed unanimously to rename the North Ogden Department of Veteran's Affairs Outstation the Major Brent Taylor Vet Center Outstation Tuesday....
The Road Home has been awarded a $1.9 M grant that will enhance their rapid re-housing programs for families in the community
 The Road Home announced it has been selected to receive an exclusive grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) that will total $1.9 million over the next five years....
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...

More National Headlines

Wise Words


"The greatest gifts you can give your children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence." Denis Waitley

Lighter Side


"It was freezing cold in New York City today, with a wind chill that was down to negative 17. Even crazier, that's still higher than Trump's approval rating." - JIMMY FALLON

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