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Situational awareness - March 24, 2020

Good Tuesday morning from Salt Lake City


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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Candidates are pressuring Gov. Gary Herbert to change signature-gathering rules because of the coronavirus.
  • Utah public schools will remain closed until May 1.
  • Senate Democrats and the White House are closing in on a massive coronavirus stimulus deal.

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Today At Utah Policy

images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_09.jpgGov. Gary Herbert's office has no plans to change signature gathering requirements for candidates despite coronavirus outbreak. Some are mulling a lawsuit to force a change
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Although Gov. Gary Herbert has asked Utahns to limit contact during the coronavirus pandemic, several political campaigns are still working to get enough signatures to secure a spot on the June primary ballot. Despite the guidelines to stop the spread of the virus, Herbert's office says they don't have any plans at present to modify the number of signatures candidates are required to secure.
images/Shutterstock_article_photos/Classroom.jpgUtah extends K-12 school closure to May 1
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Gov. Gary R. Herbert, State Superintendent Syd Dickson, and Acting Commissioner of Technical Education Jared Haines announced today that Utah's K-12 public schools will extend their dismissal through Friday, May 1st, and that Utah's technical colleges will suspend teaching from Monday, March 30 until Friday, May 1. These entities will continue to evaluate the situation to make a determination about the remaining school year.
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.

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Deseret News

Salt Lake Tribune



Coronavirus deal close 

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer say they are "very close" to a deal on a nearly $2 trillion economic stimulus package to combat coronavirus [Politico].

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unveiled her own $2.5 trillion stimulus bill to help shape the Senate discussions [Bloomberg].

If the Senate approves the coronavirus package, the House may attempt to pass the deal by unanimous consent, so House members would not have to return to Washington for a vote [Politico].

Re-open for business

President Donald Trump said Monday he intends to restart the American economy in a matter of weeks, not months, which is counter to what medical experts say is needed. He also claimed without evidence that keeping businesses closed would result in more deaths than the coronavirus pandemic [AP].

Coronavirus warning

U.S. intelligence agencies were warning about a likely pandemic from the coronavirus in January and February while President Donald Trump and lawmakers were downplaying the threat [Washington Post].

Economic fallout

Analysts are warning the American economy could quickly slip into a depression rather than a recession [Politico].

The Federal Reserve will buy unlimited amounts of debt to keep the economy from collapsing because of the coronavirus pandemic [New York Times].

Major airlines are bracing for a shutdown of all domestic flights in the U.S. [Wall Street Journal].

A House panel says the Postal Service could be insolvent by June unless Congress steps in with billions of dollars of aid [Politico].

The real estate market is beginning to cool down because of the virus, although many sellers are not pulling listings [Forbes].

Human toll

The United States reported more than 100 deaths in a single day from the coronavirus on Monday [Washington Post].

California officials warn they are short 17,000 hospital beds needed to treat victims of the virus [New York Times].

An Arizona man died after ingesting chloroquine phosphate because he believed it would protect him from the coronavirus. His wife has been hospitalized. President Trump has touted the potential benefits of the substance in treating the virus [NBC News].

Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said Monday that "lots of" grandparents would be willing to die in order to save the economy for their grandchildren [Axios].

Death penalty

Colorado abolished the death penalty on Monday, becoming the 22nd state to do so [New York Times].

Olympic games

IOC member Dick Pound says the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will be postponed because of the coronavirus [USA Today].


Policy News

images/1000px_Logos/Congressional_News_05.jpgRomney announces resource to keep Utahns informed on coronavirus
Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) announced the launch of a new webpage designed to keep Utahns informed during the coronavirus pandemic.
images/1000px_Logos/Congressional_News_04.jpgRep. Curtis sends letter to Treasury Department advocating for small business relief
Representative John Curtis (R-UT) sent a letter to United States Department of the Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin asking for relief for small businesses who are obligated to make paid leave payments to employees under the newly signed Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
images/1000px_Logos/Congressional_News_03.jpgRomney introduces COVID-19 Graduate Relief Act
With students across the country graduating amid an economic downturn as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) introduced the COVID-19 Graduate Relief Act, legislation that would make students graduating this year eligible for a deferment of their federal loans for up to three years.
Division of Consumer Protection aggressively pursuing price gouging complaints
Since receiving an influx of reports of price gouging over the weekend, investigators with the Division of Consumer Protection are aggressively pursuing reports of price gouging in the State of Utah. 
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.

More National Headlines


1664 Theologian and colonist Roger Williams is granted a charter to colonize Rhode Island.

1832 Mormon Prophet Joseph Smith is beaten, tarred and feathered in Ohio.

1925 KSL-AM in Salt Lake City begins radio transmissions.

1953 U.S. performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site.

1958 Elvis Presley joins the Army.

1989 Exxon Valdez runs aground and leaks 11 million gallons of crude oil in Alaska's Prince William Sound.

Wise Words


"If a man has not discovered something that he will die for, he isn't fit to live."Martin Luther King, Jr.

Lighter Side


"I would understand if Trump made mistakes, right, if this whole thing was off the cuff. But how is it possible to get so many things wrong in a prewritten speech? This is crazy! Watching an Oval address shouldn't be a game of Two Truths and a Lie."- TREVOR NOAH

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