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Situational awareness - March 7, 2018

Good Wednesday morning from Salt Lake City. Welcome to Utah's must-read daily political news roundup. There are 2 working days remaining in the 2018 Utah Legislature.

Trump still below 50% approval in Utah. Backers of the proposed legislative deal with Our Schools Now are scrambling to find votes. The Justice Department sues California over "sanctuary" laws.

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Here's what's driving the day:

Most Utahns still don't support President Trump

Our new survey finds only 48% of Utahns say they approve of President Trump's job performance, which is the highest-ever mark since we've been tracking that number. Trump, who only got 45% in Utah in 2016, still has never broken the 50% mark in public support [Utah Policy].

Scrambling for votes

Backers of the school funding deal with Our Schools Now are trying to find the 38 votes they need to pass the measure out of the House. GOP leaders say they won't bring the bill up for a vote unless they have 38 firm "yes" votes. Meanwhile, Governor Gary Herbert says he's on board with the OSN deal [Utah Policy].

Herbert and Dabakis - strange bedfellows

Gov. Gary Herbert says he supports Sen. Jim Dabakis' call to eliminate the state school board in favor of a single superintendent who would be appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate [Utah Policy].

Utah Transit Authority overhaul

LaVarr Webb argues that the move to makeover the UTA is a good one, but the agency needs adequate funding to accomplish its mission [Utah Policy].

Another vacancy on the Hill

Rep. Justin Fawson is leaving the Utah Legislature this spring. He plans to resign this spring because he's relocating to North Carolina [Utah Policy].

Other Utah headlines:

National headlines

On this day in history

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Today At Utah Policy

Lawmakers considering naming a Utah highway after President Trump, but less than half of Utahns say they approve of him

Republican President Donald Trump's job approval rating has crept up a bit in Utah, a new poll shows....

Herbert backs Dabakis' plan to eliminate the state school board

Can it be that the most liberal member of the Utah Senate, Sen. Jim Dabakis, is the architect of the most radical reform in Utah public education since statehood?Maybe....

Our Schools Now deal in limbo as House Republicans scramble to find votes

GOP legislative leaders tell that the ball is in the Our Schools Now political court if the citizen petition group and its advocates in the Utah House can find 38 votes for a compromise, the bill will be considered before adjournment midnight&n...

Two concerns about SB136: Name change...and funding

I've written previously about my support for SB136 and the excellent work of the Transportation Governance & Funding Task Force that recommended this visionary legislation....

Guest opinion: Ethics proposals could protect public officials against complaints

As we head into the final days of the session, we all have our one issue of focus, whether that be the legislative budget, the source of authority over the inland port, or the outcomes of a wide variety of other bills. However, two pieces of legislation are quickly moving th...

Guest opinion: Can legislative deal for school funding lead to innovation in public ed?

In the final days of the 2018 session, Utah's legislative leaders have agreed to raise property taxes (freezing the state property tax rate) and put a gas tax increase on the ballot to fund public schools, in exchange for the death of a ballot initiative to hike income and s...

Fawson not running for re-election

State Rep. Justin Fawson, R-North Ogden, is not running for re-election this year and, in fact, will resign his seat sometime this spring....

Special offer for readers readers can get a special discount on a subscription to Political Wire, an essential source for political news junkies....

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Policy News

Local and international political and business leaders visit UVU
Utah Valley University's Office of Global Engagement welcomes speakers and honored guests to the UVU Diplomatic Conference on International Trade Relations beginning at 8:30 a.m. in UVU's Grande Ballroom, room SC-105 on Monday, March 12. The event is free and ...

Fox files 'Somewhere over North America'
I'm typing this installment of the Fox Files from 30,000 feet en route between SLC and Chicago, where I'll be attending a seminar hosted by the publishers of "Site Selector" magazine on investment strategies. I'll be excited to share what I learn from the seminar in a future...

U.S. News magazine ranks Utah among best states overall
On Monday, February 26, U.S. Magazine released its 2018 Best State Rankings, and Utah ranks number three overall....

You're invited: Diplomatic luncheon with the Ambassador of Ghana
World Trade Center Utah, in partnership with the Governor's Office of Economic Development and the Salt Lake Chamber, is delighted to host a diplomatic luncheon welcoming His Excellency Dr. Barfuor Adjei-Barwuah, Ambassador of Ghana....

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Local Headlines

Salt Lake Tribune

Editorial: There are too many bills in the Legislature

Trump's proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum could slow Utah's growth, critics say

State school board retains some of its charter approval powers after Senate vote

Parents, Salt Lake school district argue over cutting kindergarten-level Dual Language Immersion class

Protest signs show up on Utah Capitol trash cans ahead of Senate vote on controversial Down syndrome abortion ban bill

Utah legislators approve abortion bill requiring women to complete an 'information module' that discourages the procedure

Gehrke: Utah lawmakers fund pet projects - think air shows and golf tournaments - while shunning some worthwhile efforts to help people

Despite a sharp split with Utah leaders' stand on Bears Ears and public lands, the Green Party is coming to Salt Lake City for its national convention

Governor throws support behind school-funding compromise with Our Schools Now campaign while lawmakers debate the possible deal

Tesla dealership bill speeds 71-0 through Utah House

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert may be roadblock for proposal to name national parks highway for President Donald Trump

Bills to legalize marijuana and set up state-run dispensary for terminally ill patients easily pass Utah Senate

Utah House OKs bill that would delay implementation of successful voter initiatives in time for lawmakers to change them

Utah tribal leaders say Indian Affairs doesn't belong under 'heritage and arts,' should become new department with a place on governor's cabinet

Deseret News

Jay Evensen: A liberal Utah lawmaker pushes real education reform

Editorial: Breaking the chain that leads to harder drugs

Student who left explosives had posted ISIS propaganda, police say

Reyes calls for more restitution for child porn victims

Utah House approves $36 million for school enrollment growth

Utah Gov. Herbert backs deal between Our Schools Now, lawmakers

Utah political leaders join chorus of naysayers on Trump tariff terms

Senate passes bill restricting noncompete contracts in Utah broadcast media

UTA's $50 million price tag for name change doesn't stop bill from passing

Change of Plans? Road Home's 2019 closure date 'unreasonable,' Salt Lake City councilwoman says

Gov. Gary Herbert says it's premature to name southern Utah highway after Trump

Bill to delay initiatives fails, then advances in late-night Utah House vote

Utah Senate OKs bills giving terminally ill access to medicinal cannabis

Inspired by Florida victims, Utah lawmakers to encourage acts of kindness


Utah Rep. Justin Fawson to step down, move to North Carolina (Standard-Examiner)

Utah lawmakers target Park City's bag ban (Park Record)

National Headlines

North Korea says it's willing to hold talks with US and halt nuclear pursuit while negotiations last (Reuters)

The Catastrophic Success of #MeToo (Weekly Standard)

Gowdy, Goodlatte demand appointment of special counsel, citing FISA abuses (FOX News)

TV vs. Trump in 2018: Lots of Russia, and 91% Negative Coverage (Again!) (NewsBusters)

Man becomes first person convicted of sexism under new Belgian law (Independent)

Trump Administration Sues California Over Immigration Laws (New York Times)

Ted Cruz calls out challenger Beto O'Rourke in a sign of a tough fight to come in Texas (Washington Post)

Democrats fail to mend split over rolling back Dodd-Frank financial regulations (Los Angeles Times)

The FCC's Net Neutrality Repeal: The End Of The Internet Or A Path To A Legislative Compromise? (Forbes)

The U.S.-China Rivalry is, more than ever, a fight over tech (New York Times)

Gun maker American Outdoor Brands: We won't be pushed into 'politically motivated' actions (CNNMoney)

Wise Words


"Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol or morphine or idealism." Carl Jung

Lighter Side


"The Number 1 reason that prospective applicants are rejected from the show "The Bachelor" is herpes. Apparently, you can't get on the show if you don't have it." Conan O'Brien

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