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Situational awareness - March 14, 2019

Good Thursday morning from Salt Lake City.

Here are the stories we're following today:

  • It's the final day of the 2019 Utah Legislature.
  • Utah on track to get the first of two Medicaid waivers from the Trump administration.
  • Lawmakers pass a controversial abortion bill that will trigger a lawsuit if Gov. Herbert signs it.
  • Rumors are flying that Rep. Chris Stewart is in the running to become Air Force Secretary.
  • Beto O'Rourke jumps into the 2020 presidential fray.

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Email us anytime with feedback, questions, story suggestions, news tips, etc... Send us an email at this link.

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 73rd day of the year. There are 292 days remaining in 2019.

Today is the final day of the 2019 Utah Legislature (3/14/2019)

37 days to the Utah Libertarian Party state convention (4/20/2019)

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

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

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

100 days to the Utah State Democratic Party Organizing Convention (6/22/2019)

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

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

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

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

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

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Today At Utah Policy

images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_29.jpgMedicaid waiver 'on track' to be granted prior to April 1 according to lawmakers

Legislators say the state is on track to have the first of two required waivers from the Trump administration approved which will allow them to implement a scaled back Medicaid expansion plan at the beginning of next month.
images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_13.jpgBudget deal will allow lawmakers to assess whether they want to keep funding several state programs

One of the side benefits to "scrubbing" various one-time cash accounts and putting that money into ongoing programs the essence of the budget deal House and Senate Republicans made Tuesday in SB2 -- is time to review many of those "special" programs, and see if they are worthy of continuation.
images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_03.jpgLegislature passes bill that bars signature candidates in special congressional elections as rumors swirl Rep. Chris Stewart may be up for a Trump administration job

No sooner had rumors started on Utah's Capitol Hill about U.S. Rep, Chris Stewart once again being considered by President Donald Trump for U.S. Secretary of the Air Force than Utah House members passed a new law giving power in picking a U.S. congressman replacement to party delegates.
images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_08.jpgHate crimes bill wins final passage. Herbert says he will sign it

After years of trying, Sen. Daniel Thatcher's hate crimes bill is on the way to Gov. Gary Herbert's desk.
images/1000px_Logos/USTAR_1000.pngUtah Technology Innovation Summit to explore clean air, rural economic development policy challenges

On April 1, 2019, entrepreneurs, researchers, business leaders and policy experts will come together at the second annual Utah Technology Innovation Summit to discuss ways Science-based technology innovation can shape Utah's economy, policies and business climate.
images/1000px_Logos/Political_Bracket_Challenge_2019.jpg2019 'Political Bracket Face-Off' nominations are open

It's back again! The Utah political version of March Madness starts next week, and we're taking your nominations for the field of 64.
images/1000px_Article_Photos/20190312_Gibson_Podcast.jpgEmergency podcast: House and Senate Republicans strike a budget deal

House Majority Leader Francis Gibson, R-Mapleton, joins Managing Editor Bryan Schott and Contributing Editor Bob Bernick to speak about the budget deal House and Senate Republicans agreed to on Tuesday afternoon. 
images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_12.jpgIt's a deal! House and Senate GOP leaders agree to a budget

House and Senate leaders have agreed to a deal that will take more than $300 million in ongoing obligations and fund them with one-time money in next year's budget.
images/1000px_Article_Photos/Supermarket_01.jpgSenate GOP floats idea of reinstating sales tax on food, but polling suggests that idea may fall flat

On Tuesday, Senate Republicans floated the idea of reimposing the state portion of the sales tax on unprepared food as a possible solution to the structural tax imbalance that currently exists with the state's General Fund.
images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_04.jpgBudget negotiations 'better,' but talks still ongoing

GOP legislative leaders appeared to be working toward a budget deal Tuesday morning.
images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_27.jpgNo budget deal yet as House and Senate Republicans continue negotiations

House and Senate leaders are still searching for common ground as they attempt to hammer out a budget for next year.

kued hinckley report


Deseret News

Salt Lake Tribune


Beto is running. Democrat Beto O'Rourke announced he will run for president in 2020 following his near-miss Senate campaign in Texas. He joins an already crowded field seeking the Democratic nomination - https://cnn.it/2Jfd3NV

  • O'Rourke's announcement came after a lengthy profile of him was published in Vanity Fair, complete with an Annie Leibovitz cover photo - http://bit.ly/2JlZ1Ki

GOP Set to rebuke Trump. The U.S. Senate today will vote on a resolution to block President Donald Trump's emergency border declaration. There are enough votes to pass the measure, setting up what will likely be Trump's first veto as president - https://politi.co/2Jm0S1I

  • Republicans in the Senate, led by Utah's Mike Lee, tried to avoid the tough vote by proposing a bill to curb future emergency declarations. But, the effort was torpedoed by Trump who phoned Lee during a luncheon to say there would be no deal - https://nyti.ms/2JbUuKo
  • The Senate voted Wednesday to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen. The resolution now heads to the House where members passed a nearly identical resolution earlier this year - https://wapo.st/2JbJIUH

Manafort sentenced. A federal judge in Washington added another 43 months in prison to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's sentence, meaning he will spend 7 1/2 years in prison for financial crimes stemming from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation - https://nyti.ms/2JdaV9y

  • Minutes after Manafort's sentence was announced, New York state prosecutors charged Manafort with 16 state felonies. The new charges mean, if convicted, Manafort cannot be pardoned by President Trump in the state charges - https://nyti.ms/2JcIOau

Trump appeared to dangle a pardon for Cohen. A 2018 email from an attorney who was speaking with Trump's legal team reassured Michael Cohen, Trump's former personal lawyer, that he could "sleep well tonight" because he had "friends in high places." The emails do not specifically mention a pardon from Trump, but Cohen submitted the documents to Congress to bolster his claims that Trump dangled a pardon before he agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors. The attorney who wrote the emails called Cohen's interpretation "utter nonsense" - https://cnn.it/2JbnXnV

How lobbying has changed under Trump. Lobbyists are now paying shills for their clients to go on Fox News and hyper-targeting social media ads to get Trump's attention - http://bit.ly/2Jbr0N2

Grounded. President Trump directed the FAA to ground all Boeing 737 Max planes after a fatal crash in Ethiopia. The U.S. is the last country to ground the planes after several reports of problems with the aircraft - https://cnn.it/2JeqTjD

  • President Trump privately disparaged the 737 plane, saying it "sucked," before issuing the order to ground the fleet - https://wapo.st/2JdpsCd

Facebook under criminal investigation. Federal prosecutors are looking at deals Facebook struck with some of the world's largest tech companies to share data about users - https://nyti.ms/2Jdc68Y

  • The social media giant suffered a massive outage on Wednesday, which they say was the result of database problems - https://cnn.it/2JadKrO


1794 - Eli Whitney is granted a patent for the cotton gin.

1812 - The government authorized the issue of America's first war bonds to pay for military equipment for use against the British.

1900 - The Gold Standard Act is ratified, placing U.S. currency on the gold standard.

1903 - The Hay-Herran Treaty, granting the U.S. the right to build the Panama Canal, is ratified by the Senate.

1950 - The FBI's "10 Most Wanted Fugitives" list appeared for the first time.

1964 - A jury in Dallas finds Jack Ruby guilty of killing Lee Harvey Oswald, the assumed assassin of President John F. Kennedy.

1973 - Navy pilot John McCain and 107 other American prisoners of war were released by North Vietnam. He spent more than five years in a prison camp after his plane was shot down.

Policy News

images/Resized_Logos/Zions_Bank_Logo_01.pngWasatch Front CPI sees biggest month-to-month drop in more than three years as transportation prices slip
The Zions Bank Wasatch Front Consumer Price Index (CPI) fell 0.5 percent from January to February on a non-seasonally adjusted basis - the biggest month-to-month drop in 39 months. Year-over-year, the Wasatch Front Consumer Price Index has grown 3.9 percent, while the national Consumer Price index has increased 1.5 percent since February of last year.
New technology helps Unclaimed Property Division reunite more lost money with rightful owners
Utah State Treasurer David Damschen announced that the August implementation of the new unclaimed property management system has resulted in increased efficiencies and a better user experience.

More National Headlines

Wise Words

Goal of Education

"The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education." Martin Luther King, Jr.

Lighter Side

Personal Information

"Google is currently working on a new Android feature that would allow users to store a digital version of their driver's license on their phone. You have to admit, Google is definitely making it easier and more convenient - for your personal information to be stolen by Google." - JAMES CORDEN

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