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Situational awareness - March 23, 2020

Good Monday morning from Salt Lake City


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

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

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

303 days to inauguration day [01/20/2021)

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

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

  • A massive fiscal stimulus bill hits a roadblock in the U.S. Senate.
  • Sen. Luz Escamilla said she has tested positive for the coronavirus.
  • Sens. Mike Lee and Mitt Romney have entered self-quarantine after Sen. Rand Paul tested positive for coronavirus.
  • Countries begin pulling out of the 2020 Olympic games.


Many of our readers knew George Sutherland graduated from Brigham Young Academy and served in both houses of Congress.

Out of dozens of correct guesses, we randomly selected Chase Thomas as our winner. He gets the honor of asking this Friday's question.

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Today At Utah Policy

images/1000px_Article_Photos/coronavirus_02.jpgUtah Economic Response Task Force is moving fast
By LaVarr Webb, Publisher
The Utah Coronavirus Economic Response Task Force, organized and announced by Gov. Gary Herbert just a week ago, is moving rapidly to provide support to businesses and their employees with the goal of keeping Utah's economy as strong as possible during the crisis.
images/1000px_Mugs/Luz_Escamilla_01.jpgSen. Luz Escamilla says she's tested positive for COVID-19
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Sunday night, Sen. Luz Escamilla, D-Salt Lake City, announced she had tested positive for the coronavirus.
images/1000px_Mugs/Ben_McAdams_03.jpgRep. Ben McAdams hospitalized with coronavirus
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Democratic Rep. Ben McAdams said Sunday he was hospitalized over the weekend due to the COVID-19 virus.
images/1000px_Mugs/Malissa_Morrell_01.jpgPodcast: Managing anxiety and stress during the coronavirus outbreak
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Coronavirus and social distancing have many Utahns on edge as they try to adapt to a new normal. Add an earthquake into the mix, and it makes for an anxiety-inducing week for many in the state.
images/1000px_Mugs/Romney_Lee_05.jpgSens. Lee and Romney to self-quarantine
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Utah Sens. Mike Lee and Mitt Romney have decided to self-quarantine after their colleague, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, tested positive for the coronavirus on Sunday.
images/1000px_Article_Photos/20200322_Utah_Jobs.jpgUtah's unemployment rate held steady at 2.9% in February
By News Release
Utah's nonfarm payroll employment for February 2020 grew by an estimated 2.9%, adding 44,300 jobs to the economy since February 2019. Utah's current employment level registers 1,579,700. January's year-over job growth has been minimally revised down to 2.8%. 
images/1000px_Logos/Bernick_and_Schott_Logo_1000.jpgCorona Quake Swallow - Bernick and Schott on politics podcast
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Bryan Schott and Bob Bernick help you understand the news that shaped another nerve-jangling week in Utah politics.
images/1000px_Mugs/Bernick_Mug_01.jpgBob Bernick's notebook: Picking a running mate is a crucial choice
By Bob Bernick, Contributing Editor
Three of the Republican gubernatorial candidates this year are going with a tried-and-true method in picking their lieutenant governor running mates: Get someone who has already won an election in Utah, and is likely on your political right.
images/1000px_Mugs/John_Swallow_03.jpgJohn Swallow, who resigned in the wake of multiple scandals, is running for Utah Attorney General again
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Former Utah Attorney General John Swallow, who resigned due to a wave of scandals, is seeking a return to that office.
images/1000px_Mugs/Cox_Henderson_01.jpgCox taps Henderson as his running mate
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Just one day after she withdrew from her re-election bid for the Utah Senate, Deidre Henderson joined Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox as his running mate. 
images/1000px_Mugs/Peter_Reichard_01.pngGuest opinion: Coronavirus, an earthquake and lessons learned from a past crisis
By Peter Reichart
The impacts surrounding the coronavirus, coupled with a significant earthquake, have me thinking back to a dark period. In New Orleans in 2005, I watched a piece of American civilization fall into confusion, the city half-destroyed (and my own house looted). But I was lucky, with "only" about $40,000 in damage from floodwaters.
images/1000px_Screenshots/20200319_McAdams_Today.jpgVideo: McAdams says America needs to increase availability of coronavirus testing
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Rep. Ben McAdams is the second member of Congress to test positive for the COVID-19 virus. He said Thursday morning testing should be expanded to cover more Americans.
images/1000px_Article_Photos/2020_Election_03.jpg2020 Utah candidate tracker - Statewide and congressional races
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Keep up to date with the latest candidate filings in the race for governor and Utah's four seats in Congress.
images/1000px_Article_Photos/2020_Election_02.jpg2020 Utah candidate tracker - Utah Senate
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
2020 means another election cycle is upon us. Half of the Utah Senate seats are up for election this year. Here's a running list of declared candidates.

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Deseret News

Salt Lake Tribune



Stimulus bill stalls

"Senate Democrats blocked a massive coronavirus stimulus bill from moving forward Sunday as partisan disputes raged over the legislation that's aimed at arresting the economy's precipitous decline" [Washington Post].

Democrats objected to a $500 billion "slush fund" for corporate America. The money would be controlled by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and would allow him to keep secret for six months the names of the companies that receive federal money and how much they got [Politico].

Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said the financial stimulus package will include an average payment of $3,000 for a family of four [The Hill].

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the House will move forward with its own bill to address the crisis [Politico].

Global markets plunged as the fiscal relief bill stalled Sunday night [CNN Business].

Brutal week ahead for the economy

The U.S. economy is deteriorating more quickly than expected as more than 80 million Americans are staying home to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus [Washington Post].

The president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis predicted the U.S. unemployment rate may hit 30 percent in the second quarter because of shutdowns to combat the coronavirus. He also forecasted gross domestic product could drop 50 percent [Bloomberg].

Starbucks has closed most of its stores in the U.S. and Canada and moved them to drive-through only for two weeks to combat the spread of the virus [Reuters].

The FAA temporarily halted flights to New York and Philadelphia airports because of "staffing issues" at air traffic control stations [NBC New York].

Fighting the spread of the virus

Experts say it will take extraordinary measures and lots of cash to stop the virus in the U.S. [New York Times].

President Donald Trump promised to roll out the National Guard to help control the spread of the illness [Yahoo! News].


Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden says he will begin vetting potential VP picks "in a matter of weeks." Biden has said he will select a woman as his running mate [Politico].


Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made an unannounced visit to Afghanistan Monday to try and mediate a political crisis surrounding a disputed presidential election from last year [Washington Post].

Olympic games

The International Olympics Committee will take a month to decide whether the 2020 games in Tokyo will proceed as planned. The games could be delayed for one year until 2021 [Variety].

Canada officials said they would not send athletes to the games in Tokyo this summer because of the coronavirus [New York Times].

The Australian Olympic Committee told athletes to prepare for the Tokyo Games to be delayed for a year [The Guardian].


Policy News

images/1000px_Logos/SL_Chamber_Logo_1000.jpgLeaders share best practices to support economy through pandemic
Governor Gary R. Herbert and industry leaders shared strategies, ideas and best practices to combat and mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus. Some ideas include: using take out at restaurants; scheduling shopping, home viewings, and other necessary and appropriate gatherings; and, maintaining social distance at all times. 
images/1000px_Logos/CYBER_24_Logo.jpgCYBER 24 Episode 74: How deep learning beats machine learning in detecting threats
Detecting increasingly sophisticated malware attacks requires complex defenses. Security companies are using more and more advanced types of machine and deep learning to blacklist malware and prevent it from ever getting to your employees or your computer systems.
Governor appoints Representative Logan Wilde as the new commissioner for the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food
Gov. Gary R. Herbert has announced the appointment of Rep. Logan Wilde as the commissioner of the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food. 
Salt Lake City, DTA and Ty Burrell develop 'Tip Your Server' relief plan for food and beverage industry
Relief will soon be on the way for some employees in Salt Lake City's deeply impacted food and beverage industry.
Casual Friday: Weekend Events & Outdoors Report
Most indoor events are cancelled or postponed right now, but it's still a great time to get outdoors and enjoy some hiking. We'll continue to provide links to local stories highlighting outdoor activities, and a different hike every week.Outdoors Report-- Hike of the Week: Johnson Canyon Trail in Snow Canyon State Park-- Salt Lake Tribune: With coronavirus travel limits, Utah's national parks may be your best -and safest - bet for a getaway-- Salt Lake Tribune:Zion Canyon gets clogged with cars as park idles shuttles; Moab says stay away-- KSL.com: Want a healthy method of social distancing? Get out into the great outdoors-- KSL.com: BLM, National Park Service temporarily waive entrance fees-- KSL.com: No red rock respite from COVID-19 as new health order for Moab puts tourism in limbo
NHMU helps students impacted by school closures with Research Quest Live, an interactive version of the award-winning online platform
The Natural History Museum of Utah is now offering an interactive version of its award-winning free online education program, Research Quest, to students throughout Utah and the country. Research Quest Live allows for students to have live sessions with professional educators from the Natural History Museum of Utah while schools are closed.

More National Headlines


1775 - Patrick Henry delivers his speech - "Give me liberty, or give me death!" - in Richmond, Virginia.

1933 - The Reichstag passes the Enabling Act of 1933, making Adolf Hitler dictator of Germany.

1977 - The first of the Nixon Interviews (12 will be recorded over four weeks) are videotaped with British journalist David Frost interviewing former President Richard Nixon about the Watergate scandal.

1983 - The world's first recipient of a permanent artificial heart, Barney Clark, died in a Salt Lake City hospital.

1983 - President Ronald Reagan called for the development of an anti-missile defense system to protect the U.S. from nuclear attacks. The Strategic Defense Initiative was dubbed "Star Wars."

Wise Words

The Gambler

"You gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, know when to run."Kenny Rogers

Lighter Side

Good One Pete

"But when you don't have a real audience, you have to fake one, just like Trump's inauguration." Pete Buttigieg

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