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Situational awareness - March 12, 2020

Good Thursday morning from Salt Lake City


Today is the final day of the 2020 Utah Legislature (3/12/2020)

12 days to the statewide neighborhood caucus meetings (3/24/2020)

44 days to the Utah Republican and Democratic state conventions (4/25/2020)

110 days to the 2020 Utah primary elections (6/30/2020)

236 Days to the 2020 election (11/3/2020)

319 days to the start of the 2021 Utah Legislature (1/25/2021)

Here are the stories you need to pay attention to this morning:

  • Trump bans travel from Europe for 30 days. 
  • The NBA suspends its season after a Utah Jazz player tests positive for coronavirus.
  • Lawmakers, education stakeholders reach a deal on school funding


Next week we begin our third annual March "Political Madness" contest. 

Let us know who you think should be in our field of 64 Utah political figures (politicians, lobbyists, community activists, etc.). Send your nominations to

Thanks for subscribing to Utah's must-read daily political news rundown.

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Today At Utah Policy

images/1000px_Screenshots/20200311_Leavitt_Fox.jpgLeavitt: Now is the time to prepare, not panic, because of coronavirus
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Former Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt says now that the COVID-19 virus has reached pandemic status, it's time for Americans to remain calm but prepare for the worst.
images/1000px_Article_Photos/20200311_Ed_Funding_Agreement.jpg'A strong step forward for schools.' Lawmakers, teachers hail landmark education funding agreement
By Bob Bernick, Contributing Editor
With the agreement announced Wednesday afternoon between pro-education groups -- especially Utah's main teacher union -- and GOP state bosses, 2020 could be the best year for public school funding ever.
images/1000px_Article_Photos/Utah_Congressional_Districts_Map.jpgHouse gives final approval to independent redistricting commission changes
By Bob Bernick, Contributing Editor
Utah will have a new independent redistricting commission next year.
images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_12.jpgLegislators, Teachers reach agreement on massive education funding compromise, but tax cuts are probably dead this year
By Bob Bernick and Bryan Schott
Legislative leaders and representatives from the Utah Education Association have reached an agreement on a huge proposal to change funding for public schools in Utah. The agreement will be unveiled in a news conference later this afternoon has learned. However, a proposed cut to taxes on Social Security income is probably not going to happen this year.
images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_30.jpgLawmakers, teachers close to a deal on constitutional changes to school funding
By Bob Bernick and Bryan Schott is told that the last large group needed to make a significant change to how colleges and public schools are funded, now and in the future -- the Utah Education Association -- is close to coming on board with a legislative grand compromise.
images/1000px_Article_Photos/Coronavirus_01.jpgState leaders discuss plans for fighting coronavirus spread
By Bob Bernick, Contributing Editor
Utah has started "random" testing for the coronavirus from samples doctors and hospitals have already taken from patients who were sampled for colds and the flu, said Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, the state point-man in fighting the fast-moving disease.
images/1000px_Logos/Bernick_and_Schott_Logo_1000.jpgPlease stop shaking hands - Bernick and Schott on politics podcast
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
There's less than a week to go in the 2020 Utah Legislature. Bryan Schott and Bob Bernick get you caught up on the fast-moving news from Capitol Hill.
images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_18.jpgHouse, Senate leaders in budget tug of war over Social Security tax break
By Bryan Schott and Bob Bernick
House and Senate Republicans have hit an impasse over whether to give a tax cut to senior citizens now, or to wait in case of an economic downturn.
images/1000px_Article_Photos/20200310_Lege_Board_Colors.jpgNew color-coding scheme helping lawmakers keep track of bills that cost money
By Bob Bernick, Contributing Editor
So, you ask dear reader, how does the House and Senate keep track of all these bills that cost money as lawmakers start passing bills right and left the final three days of the session?
images/1000px_Screenshots/20200310_Huntsman_Fox.jpgVideo: Huntsman says states, not the feds, should take the lead in responding to coronavirus outbreak
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Former Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman said Tuesday that individual states should take the lead on responding to the coronavirus outbreak rather than the federal government.

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Deseret News

Salt Lake Tribune



Washington takes on COVID-19

President Donald Trump said Wednesday night that he was suspending most travel to the U.S. from Europe, except for the UK, for 30 days to combat the spread of the coronavirus [Politico].

President Trump reportedly urged Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to put pressure on Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell to do more to stimulate the economy in the face of the coronavirus outbreak [Washington Post].

House Democrats are expected to vote Thursday on a multi-billion coronavirus response package [Politico].

The White House ordered federal health officials to treat meetings about the coronavirus as classified [Reuters].

A staffer in the office of Sen. Maria Cantwell has tested positive for the virus [Politico].

Coronavirus shock

The World Health Organization officially labeled the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic [NBC News].

The NBA suspended their season after a player for the Utah Jazz tested positive for the virus prior to a game Wednesday evening [Fox News].

Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, both tested positive for the coronavirus in Australia [Deadline].

The NCAA announced fans would be banned from their upcoming basketball tournaments [New York Times].

It's becoming increasingly likely that the Tokyo Olympics will hold competitions without spectators in the stands [Bloomberg].

Hospitals are bracing for an onslaught of patients as the coronavirus spreads in the U.S. [The Hill].

More colleges and universities are telling students to leave campus and take classes online [New York Times].

Coronavirus hits the economy

The Dow tipped into a bear market for the first time in 11 years because of the worsening coronavirus outbreak [New York Times].

It's no longer "if" the economy enters a recession, but how long it will take to recover [Reuters].

Economic forecasters are lowering estimates for GDP growth in the U.S. next quarter [Bloomberg].

The coronavirus has disrupted supply chains for nearly 75% of U.S. companies [Axios].

Amtrak says the rail carrier is set to lose several hundred million dollars after bookings plunge [Reuters].

We're starting to see the first wave of coronavirus-related layoffs in the U.S. [Washington Post].

Sanders stays

Bernie Sanders says he will not drop out of the presidential race despite a string of losses in the Democratic primary [New York Times].

War powers

Despite a veto threat, Congress approved a bipartisan measure to limit President Trump's authority to launch military operations against Iran [AP].


The Supreme Court gave a victory to the Trump administration, allowing the "remain in Mexico" policy for immigrants to stay in place [Axios].


Policy News

Mayor Erin Mendenhall declares state of local emergency
Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall declared a State of Local Emergency Tuesday evening to prepare for the potential spread of COVID-19.
Utah Department of Veterans & Military Affairs shares COVID-19 protective measures
Effective immediately, the Utah Department of Veterans & Military Affairs (UDVMA) will follow novel coronavirus screening protocols for the department's facilities, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Avalon Healthcare.  
Utah COVID-19 Community Task Force recommends establishment of satellite COVID-19 testing sites
The Utah COVID-19 Community Task Force met and recommended that Utah's hospital and healthcare systems immediately work to establish designated sites to screen for novel coronavirus infections, including screening options for rural Utah.
Utah seeks USDA school lunch waivers to assist schools in emergency planning
The Utah State Board of Education (USBE) is seeking four waivers from the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to assist local schools and participating child care centers in serving school lunch in the event of school closures should the novel coronavirus spread widely in the state.
Committee announces Utah Valley University as the new home for Philo T. Farnsworth statue
After careful review and deliberation, the Martha Hughes Cannon Statue Oversight Committee has selected Utah Valley University (UVU) as the new home for the statue of Philo T. Farnsworth. The statue will be removed from National Statuary Hall in Washington, D.C. and transported back to the state prior to the installation of the statue of Dr. Martha Hughes Cannon later this year. 

More National Headlines


1894 - Coca-Cola is bottled and sold for the first time in Vicksburg, Mississippi, by local soda fountain operator Joseph A. Biedenham.

1912 - The Girl Guides (later renamed the Girl Scouts of the USA) are founded.

1933 - Franklin Roosevelt addresses the nation for the first time as President of the United States. This is also the first of his "fireside chats."

1938 - Nazi Germany invaded and occupied Austria.

1947 - In a speech to Congress, President Harry Truman outlined what became known as the Truman Doctrine, calling for U.S. aid to countries threatened by communist revolution.

2003 - Elizabeth Smart, who had been kidnapped from her Salt Lake City home in June of 2002, was found alive in Sandy, Utah.

2008 - New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer resigned after being caught in a high-priced prostitution scandal.

2009 - Financier Bernie Madoff pleads guilty in New York to scamming $18 billion, the largest in Wall Street's history.

Wise Words


"America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand."Harry S Truman

Lighter Side

Warren Remorse

"Warren is gone. That's it. She's out of the race. Further proof that America cannot have nice things."- STEPHEN COLBERT

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