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Situational awareness - March 4, 2020

Good Wednesday morning from Salt Lake City!


There are 7 working days remaining in the 2020 Utah Legislature

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Sanders wins Utah, but Biden romps pretty much everywhere else on Super Tuesday.
  • Utah lawmakers prepare to unveil a plan to revamp education funding.
  • Poll shows Utahns want lawmakers to cut taxes this year.


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_27.jpgLawmakers proposing changes to education funding earmark while guaranteeing money for public education
By Bryan Schott and Bob Bernick
The idea, is told, is to basically add three words to the Utah Constitution: "disabled and children."
images/1000px_Logos/2020_Buttons.jpgSanders, Trump win Utah Super Tuesday vote
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Moving Utah's presidential nominating contest from a caucus to a primary, and putting it on Super Tuesday paid off in spades for the state this year. 
images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_16.jpgExclusive: Lawmakers are in negotiations with stakeholders over possible changes to education funding
By Bryan Schott and Bob Bernick
Legislative leaders and education stakeholders have been quietly discussing either changing or eliminating Utah's constitutional requirement that all income taxes must be spent on public or private education. At the same time, a new poll shows a slim majority of Utahns would support doing away with that constitutional earmark.
images/1000px_Logos/Bernick_and_Schott_Logo_1000.jpgWho doesn't love a blimp? - Bernick and Schott on politics podcast
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Bryan Schott and Bob Bernick discuss the top Utah political news as we careen into the final weeks of the 2020 Utah Legislative session.
images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_03.jpgPoll shows Utahns want legislators to cut taxes this year
By Bob Bernick, Contributing Editor
Three-fourths of Utahns want the state Legislature and Gov. Gary Herbert to cut taxes now, a new Y2 Analytics poll finds.
images/1000px_Mugs/David_Hursey_01.jpgGuest opinion: The coronavirus: A black swan?
By David Hursey
White swans have historically been so common that black ones were almost mythical. Nowadays, the phrase has been popularized by author Nassim Taleb as a phenomenon that comes as a surprise, has a huge impact, and then gets inappropriately rationalized later with the benefit of hindsight.
images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_35.jpgHouse Republicans lobbying to pass Arent's straight-ticket voting ban
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Some Republican House members are pushing hard to get a Democratic-sponsored bill to eliminate the straight-party vote option on Utah's ballots over the finish line this year.
images/1000px_Article_Photos/Transgender_flag_02.jpgUtah would study the use of a drug to help minors transition genders under proposed legislation
By Bob Bernick, Contributing Editor
Should the Utah state government study the use of a hormonal drug now used to help minors "transition" to the opposite sex?
images/1000px_Article_Photos/Coronavirus_01.jpgLawmakers eyeing up to $16 million to fight coronavirus outbreak
By Bob Bernick, Contributing Editor
A state representative wants to allocate $14 million to $16 million now in preparation for a possible coronavirus outbreak in Utah.
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.

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Deseret News

Salt Lake Tribune



Biden's super Tuesday

Former Vice President Joe Biden won nine states on Super Tuesday, but Bernie Sanders took the biggest prize of the night in California. Biden currently holds a lead over Sanders in pledged delegates [New York Times].

Michael Bloomberg emerged from Tuesday with a handful of delegates to show for the millions of dollars he poured into the race [Washington Post].

Elizabeth Warren is reportedly reassessing her campaign after a disappointing showing Tuesday [Politico].


The Federal Reserve cut interest rates by half a percentage point in an emergency response to the threat posed to the economy by the coronavirus [CNBC].

Leaders of the worlds wealthiest countries appear to have limited options to minimize the economic damage from the virus [New York Times].

Stocks tumbled again as investors worried the emergency rate cut from the Federal Reserve won't be enough to combat the economic impact from the spread of the coronavirus [Bloomberg].


The CDC is lifting restrictions on testing for the virus and will be releasing new guidelines for more testing [New York Times].

The Trump administration is considering paying hospitals for treating coronavirus patients who are uninsured [Wall Street Journal].

The World Bank has committed $12 billion in aid for battling the spread of the virus in developing countries [BBC].


Defense Secretary Mark Esper has told military commanders to not take any actions to protect their troops from the coronavirus that would contradict President Trump's messaging about the spread of the disease [New York Times].


International inspectors say Iran appears to have enough enriched uranium to produce a single nuclear weapon [New York Times].


Policy News

images/1000px_Article_Photos/20200303_Coronavirus.jpgLearn how to protect your workplace from the coronavirus
Employers, are you concerned about the coronavirus (COVID-19) and how it may impact your business?
Press release: Devin Thorpe declares candidacy in 3rd congressional district
Devin Thorpe, a Democrat, has announced he is running to represent the people in Utah's 3rd Congressional District.
Community partners announce initiative aimed at preserving Utah's existing affordable housing
The Clark and Christine Ivory Foundation, Intermountain Healthcare, Utah Nonprofit Housing Corporation and Zions Bank announced today, the new Utah Housing Preservation Fund, aimed at addressing the state's housing shortage and affordability.
Why talking politics is America's most feared pastime
In 2020, we may gain a new president, but we'll also lose more friends. A new survey by VitalSmarts, home of Crucial Conversations Training, shows an alarming and increasing trend of hurtful trash-talking politics among coworkers and friends.

More National Headlines


1789 - In New York City, the first Congress of the United States meets, putting the Constitution into effect. The Bill of Rights is written and proposed to Congress.

1791 - Vermont is admitted as the fourteenth state.

1794 - The 11th Amendment, which restricts the ability of individuals to bring lawsuits against states in federal court, is passed by Congress.

1797 - John Adams is inaugurated as the 2nd President of the United States.

1801 - Thomas Jefferson became the first president to be inaugurated in Washington.

1917 - Jeannette Rankin of Montana becomes the first female member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

1933 - Frances Perkins becomes U.S. Secretary of Labor, the first female Cabinet member.

1966 - In an interview, The Beatles' John Lennon declares the band is "more popular than Jesus now."

1987 - President Ronald Reagan acknowledged his administration swapped arms to Iran for U.S. hostages and said, "It was a mistake."

Wise Words

True Today

"The circulation of confidence is better than the circulation of money."James Madison

Lighter Side

Virus Messaging

"From now on, Mike Pence will control all coronavirus messaging from health officials. Yes, and his first order is renaming the National Institutes of Health, 'Pray Away the Plague.'"- STEPHEN COLBERT

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