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Situational awareness - February 8, 2018

Good Thursday morning from Salt Lake City.

16 years ago today, the 2002 Winter Olympic games opened in Salt Lake City. Tonight the 2018 games open in Peyongchang, South Korea. My, how time flies.

A Utah lawmaker suddenly resigns with little explanation. The "victim targeting" bill is dead for another year. Congress cuts a deal to avoid a shutdown.

Tick Tock:

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Here's what's driving the day:

Rep. Jon Stanard resigned suddenly with little explanation

Stanard was considered a rising star in the House Republican caucus. He was the vice-chair of the powerful rules committee. Then he told House Republican leaders Tuesday night he was resigning immediately for personal reasons [Utah Policy].

Victim targeting bill is kaput

Sen. Daniel Thatcher was trying to put a spin on traditional "hate crimes" legislation that could win support from reluctant conservatives. It didn't work this year as Senate President Wayne Niederhauser says there are not enough votes for it to even get a committee hearing this year [Utah Policy].

Oh, irony is so ironic!

The group that wants to kill the ability for candidates to gather signatures to get on the primary ballot is hiring paid signature gatherers (at a rate of $30/hour) to get their ballot initiative on the ballot. Follow that? [Utah Policy].

Free Martha!

The resolution to replace the statue of Philo Farnsworth in Washington, D.C. with one of Martha Hughes Cannon finally makes it out of the House Rules Committee after being blocked by Rep. Mike Noel [Utah Policy].

Terrible accusations against Hatch's former chief of staff

Rob Porter, who was once Sen. Orrin Hatch's chief of staff and is now a top aide to President Donald Trump, has been accused by two of his ex-wives of physically abusing them. Porter will reportedly step down on Thursday from his position. The FBI made the White House aware of the allegations against Porter during his background check for the White House job. Hatch initially called the report on Porter "vile," then walked it back, then reversed himself again, saying he should fight to keep his job [Utah Policy].

Other Utah headlines: 

National headlines:

On this day in history:

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Today At Utah Policy

Senate leaders say victim targeting bill dead this session

Senate President Wayne Niederhauser says a bill to provide enhanced penalties for crimes that target people because of their sexual orientation or personal characteristics is dead for the 2018 session....

Group proposing to end signature route to the ballot seeking paid signature gatherers so they can get on the ballot

Talk about irony. A group pushing to eliminate the signature gathering route to the primary ballot for candidates is now seeking paid signature gatherers to help them get on the ballot....

Rep. Jon Stanard resigns from Utah House

State Rep. Jon Stanard abruptly resigned his House seat Tuesday night, with fellow GOP House members being tight-lipped on exactly what has happened....

Protecting our freedom and our security: Hatch's CLOUD Act is all silver lining

Two things have really bugged me in the last 15 years: one is the persistent, cliched use of the "freedom versus security!" debate in pop culture and the other is the free pass on that issue given to the Obama Administration....

CYBER 24 podcast episode 17: Tips to thwart tax fraud and looking out for skimmers

All across the country, millions of American workers are starting to do their taxes. With so many people receiving various tax forms in the mail from their employer and using other sensitive information, this is a time of high opportunity for cybercriminals....

Martha Hughes Cannon statue resolution finally freed in the Utah House

The "Free Martha" movement succeeded Tuesday....

Rob Porter, former chief of staff for Sen. Orrin Hatch, resigns from White House job after allegations he assaulted his ex wife

Rob Porter, a top aide to President Donald Trump, has resigned following a report that he physically assaulted two ex-wives....

Weekly survey: Down syndrome abortion bill

Utah lawmakers are considering a bill to prohibit abortions when the sole reason is the child has Down syndrome. Legislative lawyers are warning the bill is likely unconstitutional. Do you think they should continue with the bill even though it may spark a lawsuit?...

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Local Headlines

Salt Lake Tribune

Editorial: We don't need any more laws to protect the powerful

Utah will seek to host the Olympics again, aiming for 2030, but would take 2026

Rocky Mountain Power helping to restore Utah tax breaks on solar panels, but is the utility just looking out for itself?

Utah investigated the polygamous Kingston Group for welfare fraud 2 years ago. It didn't find any.

Rep. Jon Stanard resigns abruptly with little explanation

White House staff secretary, and former chief of staff to Sen. Orrin Hatch, Rob Porter resigns after allegations of spousal abuse

The Utah Department of Public Safety says violent crime is increasing, but that it's losing officers to higher-paying jobs

Utah lawmakers pass 'free-range kids' bill to say that kids playing or walking to school alone don't mean parents are neglectful

Could Utah's sales tax on food vanish?

Parties - not voters - would select nominees in future special congressional elections, according to proposed bill

After courts started allowing gay couples to use surrogates, a Utah senator wants to repeal the law he once championed

Gehrke: The Legislature shouldn't meddle with voters who have taken matters into their own hands

Deseret News

A. Scott Anderson: The health care transformation - changing to serve people better

Op-ed: In search of paid family leave built for America

Editorial: Ballot measures are useful, but should be used with caution

Audit would compare costs of death penalty cases

Bill offers help with workers' comp for first responders

Utah lawmakers pass bill legalizing 'free-range parenting'

Bill calls for report projecting future need for nurses in Utah

Bill removing state sales tax from food advances to Utah House

Utah lawmakers approve rooftop solar compromise bill

Medical cannabis bill that 'bridges the gap' between sides has good chance of passing, insider says

Utah school districts could use local property taxes for technology under bill

Bill regulating sale and labeling of CBD oil, allowing doctor recommendations, passes committee

GOP Rep. Jon Stanard unexpectedly resigns from Utah House

Small-business owners converge on Utah Capitol to visit with lawmakers

Lawmaker proposes delaying Utah's controversial DUI law to 2022


Ogden DACA recipients mull return to shadows as U.S. immigration debate sputters (Standard-Examiner)

Hill Air Force Base pumped $3.4B into economy last year (Standard-Examiner)

National Headlines

Trump numbers on the rise with help from strong economy and tax reform (CNN)

Mattis Defends Plan to Deploy Small Nuclear Arms (Free Beacon)

Oil World Turns Upside Down as U.S. Sells Oil in Middle East (Bloomberg)

Eagles quarterback to speak at National Prayer Breakfast (The Hill)

De Blasio Faces Criticism For Kissing Women Lawmakers Hello (CBS News)

George Soros, the man who 'broke the Bank of England', backing secret plot to thwart Brexit (Telegraph)

Seattle is putting fences under its bridges to keep campers out - and some say that's wrong (Seattle Times)

New FBI texts show Obama wanted updates on Clinton investigation (Daily Mail)

Ivanka Trump teams up with conservatives to push Democratic themes (USA Today)

Airlines sue over new Washington state sick leave law (ABC News)

New Fed Chairman Powell could have a few surprises in store for the market (CNBC)

Wise Words


"I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past." Thomas Jefferson

Lighter Side

Hatch and Lincoln

"President Trump today said that Sen. Orrin Hatch called him the greatest president in the history of our country. I guess Hatch is still mad at Abraham Lincoln for stealing his girlfriend in middle school." Seth Meyers

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