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Situational awareness - March 2, 2020

Good Monday morning from Salt Lake City


There are 9 working days remaining in the 2020 Utah Legislature

The Utah presidential primary election is tomorrow (3/3/2020)

10 days to the final day of the 2020 Utah Legislature (3/12/2020)

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Hopes for a tax cut begin to fade among lawmakers.
  • Where do the Republican candidates for governor stand on SB54?
  • Another Republican is eyeing a challenge to Ben McAdams.
  • Pete Buttigieg drops out of the Democratic presidential race.


That's more like it! Several readers knew Tyrone Medley was the first African American district court judge in Utah. He was appointed by Gov. Scott Matheson.

Congratulations to Camille Anthony, who was randomly selected as this week's winner. As such, he gets the honor of being our quizmaster this coming Friday.


It's almost time for our third-annual "Utah political bracket" contest where we pit the 64 top Utah politicos against each other in our own version of March madness.

Will last year's winner, Greg Hughes, triumph again, or will another claim the championship belt?

If you would like to be part of our selection committee to set the field of 64, send me an email at

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

If you know of friends or colleagues who would benefit from our daily news roundup, please encourage them to sign up for our emails.

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Today At Utah Policy

images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_05.jpgSpooked by economic instability, Utah lawmakers turn their attention away from tax cuts
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Chances of a tax cut this year are fading as lawmakers are getting skittish because of recent instability in the financial markets.
images/1000px_Logos/2020_election_01.jpgRepeal or reform? Where do the GOP candidates for governor stand on the SB54 compromise?
By Bob Bernick, Contributing Editor
Five of the six major GOP candidates for governor don't like SB54 as it now stands -- the law that allows candidates to decide whether to gather voter signatures to make their primary ballot, or go to the traditional delegate convention, or take both routes at the same time.
images/1000px_Mugs/Trent_Christensen_01.jpgAnother Republican candidate considering jumping into race against Ben McAdams
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Another Republican is throwing his hat into the ring to challenge Democrat Ben McAdams in Utah's 4th Congressional District.
images/1000px_Logos/Bernick_and_Schott_Logo_1000.jpgHygiene tips for political junkies - Bernick and Schott on politics podcast
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Bryan Schott and Bob Bernick give you the ins and outs from a wild week in Utah politics.
images/1000px_Mugs/Ron_Gibson_01.jpgGuest opinion: Mental health is important for America's farmers
By Ron Gibson, President, Utah Farm Bureau
During Agricultural Safety Awareness Week (March 1-7), Utah Farm Bureau encourages everyone to end the stigma around mental health. Recent studies have shown stress and depressive symptoms are prevalent in the agricultural community, with as many as 35% of farmers and ranchers experiencing symptoms of depression.
images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_30.jpgBill to undercut signature-gathering path for candidates is dead this year
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
A bill to undermine the SB54 compromise by creating a convention-only path to the primary ballot is dead for the 2020 legislative session.
images/1000px_Article_Photos/20200227_Prop_4_Presser.jpg'This is a good compromise.' Lawmakers and Better Boundaries discuss changes to Prop. 4
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Lawmakers and Better Boundaries took the wraps off their grand bargain to make changes to the voter-approved Prop. 4 on Thursday, with both sides heaping praise on the deal to create an independent redistricting commission.
images/1000px_Mugs/Gary_Herbert_06.jpgHerbert casts doubt on tax cut this year
By Bob Bernick, Contributing Editor
The chances that Utahns will see a tax cut or rebate from this Legislature dimmed a bit Thursday, when GOP Gov. Gary Herbert told reports, "I don't know" if tax relief is coming now.
images/1000px_Mugs/Christine_Cooke_02.jpgGuest opinion: Utah Legislature grapples with civics education
By Christine Cooke
Utah's discussion about civics education continues.

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Deseret News

Salt Lake Tribune



2020 shakeup

Pete Buttigieg ended his presidential bid on Sunday after a disappointing finish in Saturday's South Carolina primary [New York Times].

Joe Biden won big in South Carolina on Saturday, boosting his campaign ahead of Super Tuesday [USA Today].

Billionaire Tom Steyer also ended his presidential campaign [Bloomberg].

Next up - Super Tuesday

Bernie Sanders is hoping a big win in California and Texas on Tuesday will put him on a path to the Democratic nomination [New York Times].

Barack Obama told Joe Biden he won't endorse any Democratic candidate yet [CNN].


There have been two confirmed deaths from the virus in the United States as of Sunday night [New York Times].

There are now an estimated 89 cases in the U.S. [Twitter].

A new study concludes the virus may have been circulating undetected for weeks in a suburb of Seattle [Washington Post].

The global economy is showing signs it could slip into contraction for the first time since 2009 because of the virus [Bloomberg].

A top adviser to Iran's Supreme leader died from the virus [Fox News].

The NCAA is getting pressure to hold "March Madness" tournament games without a crowd to fight the spread of the virus [CNBC].


The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments this week over a Louisiana law requiring doctors who perform abortions to be able to admit patients to a local hospital [The Hill].

North Korea

The country launched at least one unidentified projectile on Monday, the first launch of 2020 [Fox News].

Campaign cash

Bernie Sanders' campaign raised a record $46.5 million last month [CNN].

President Donald Trump's campaign has so much money, they're spending it on blimps [Politico].


Policy News

images/1000px_Logos/CYBER_24_Logo.jpgCYBER24 Episode 71: Protecting business from employees with itchy clicker fingers
We know internet users love to click on links, often with too little regard for how trustworthy the source may be. And that can have bad results for everyone.
Utah House Bill 158 moves to the House floor: Proposes protection for companies from national and international data privacy regulations
Parsons Behle & Latimer attorney Tsutomu Johnson successfully argued House Bill 158 - Data Privacy Amendments before the House Judiciary Committee. The bill will now move to the House floor. 
Casual Friday: Weekend Events & Outdoors Report
Outdoors Report--Salt Lake Tribune: Moab's Slickrock Trail spared from energy leasing as BLM withdraws'Utah's cultural heritage is under threat': Archeologists seek solutions as vandalism You can now hunt at most of Utah's state is one step closer to designating Utahraptor State ParkConcerts-- Danzn: A Journey to Latin America, Southwest Symphony, Friday, Cox Performing Arts Center, Dixie State University, 225 South 700 East, Saint George, $15-$28-- Guest Artist: Primrose Memorial Concert, Friday, 7:30 p.m., Madsen Recital Hall, Harris Fine Arts Center, Brigham Young University, Campus Drive and Heritage Drive, Provo, free-- Noteworthy, Friday, 7:30 p.m., De Jong Concert Hall, Harris Fine Arts Center, Brigham Young University, Campus Drive & Heritage Drive, Provo, $11-$13-- "Shut Up & Dance A Midsummer Night's Dream in Vegas!" Odyssey Dance Theatre, Friday and Saturday, 7:30 p.m.; also Saturday, 2 p.m., Kingsbury Hall, University of Utah, 1395 East President's Circle, Salt Lake City, $20-$40-- "Singin' in the Rain: Film in Concert with theUtah Symphony," Friday and Saturday, 7:30 p.m., Abravanel Hall, 123 West South Temple, Salt Lake City, $29.50-$95
images/1000px_Logos/WTC_Utah_Logo.pngJoin WTC Utah for a luncheon with the Ambassador from Saudi Arabia
World Trade Center Utah, in partnership with the Governor's Office of Economic Development and the Salt Lake Chamber, invites you to a luncheon welcoming Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to the United States. Lunch will be provided. 
Utah business leader writes that Iranian people must forge a path to a constitutional democracy
Note: Khosrow B. Semnani and Amir Soltani recently published an op-ed about Iran in The Washington Times. An excerpt and a link to the full article are below. Semnani, a long-time Utahn, is an Iranian-American industrialist, community leader and philanthropist. Amir Soltani, a human rights activist, is the author of "Zahra's Paradise," an award-winning graphic novel on Iran's 2009 protests.

More National Headlines


1807 - Congress passes the Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves, disallowing the importation of new slaves into the country.

1836 - Texas proclaimed independence from Mexico.

1867 - Congress passes the first Reconstruction Act.

1877 - Just two days before the inauguration, Congress declares Rutheford B. Hayes the winner of the presidential election even though Samuel J. Tilden won the popular vote.

1903 - In New York City the Martha Washington Hotel opens, becoming the first hotel exclusively for women.

1933 - The film King Kong opens at New York's Radio City Music Hall.

1962 - Wilt Chamberlain sets the single-game scoring record in the NBA by scoring 100 points.

1965 - The US and Republic of Vietnam Air Force begin Operation Rolling Thunder, a sustained bombing campaign against North Vietnam.

1995 - Yahoo! is incorporated.

Wise Words


"Well done is better than well said."Benjamin Franklin

Lighter Side

Virus Crisis

"This is the greatest crisis of Trump's presidency, and his first response is, 'Mike, you're up. You take it.'"- STEPHEN COLBERT

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