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Situational awareness - March 8, 2018

Good Thursday morning from Salt Lake City. Welcome to Utah's must-read daily political news roundup. We made it! The final day of the 2018 Legislature is upon us.

The moneyman behind Keep My Voice is trying to cut a deal with Count My Vote. Utah lawmakers advance a fix for the GOP ballot chaos, along with a sneaky attempt to repeal SB54. The Our Schools Now deal moves out of a committee, but lawmakers still don't know if they have the votes.

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Here's what's driving the day:

SCOOP! Are the caucus/convention defenders blinking? has learned that Dave Bateman, who is funding the Utah GOP's fight against SB54 and is a significant player in the Keep My Voice ballot initiative, is attempting to cut a deal with organizers of Count My Vote. It's not surprising he'd try this move. Polls show only 17% of Utahns support the Keep My Voice proposal [Utah Policy].

Lawmakers advance a sneaky attempt to kill SB54

Along with a bill to fix the ballot chaos caused by the Utah GOP Central Committee, the House passed a bill that repeals SB54 if voters reject Count My Vote in November OR if the CMV initiative fails to make the ballot [Utah Policy].

'Tis the season

The end of an election-year legislative session usually means retirements on the Hill. We've compiled a list of who has already announced they're not coming back, and who we hear may not run again [Utah Policy].

UTA overhaul shifts legal counsel to the AG's office

The bill to radically change the Utah Transit Authority eliminates the agency's in-house counsel, moving those operations to the Attorney General's office [Utah Policy].

A radical change to public education in Utah may be coming

The House signals they may get on board with Sen. Jim Dabakis' constitutional amendment to eliminate the state school board, but they may make some changes [Utah Policy].

A different kind of bracket challenge

Who is the most powerful person or entity in Utah politics? Send us your nominations, and we'll announce the seedings and tournament bracket next week [Utah Policy]. 

Other Utah headlines

National headlines

On this day in history

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Today At Utah Policy

Dave Bateman, who is funding the GOP's legal fight against SB54, seeking to cut a deal with Count My Vote has learned that Dave Bateman, who is a key player in the "Keep My Voice" ballot initiative, is attempting to cut a deal with organizers of Count My Vote....

Wave of lawmaker retirements to hit Utah's Capitol Hill

The candidate filing to run for the Utah Legislature starts Friday, just one day after the 2018 session ends....

UTA overhaul bill eliminates agency's legal team

A provision tucked inside the latest version of a bill to overhaul the Utah Transit Authority could be viewed as political payback against a UTA employee, but the lawmaker behind the change says that's nonsense....

Utah 'Political Power' bracket nominations

It's time for the Utah political version of March Madness....

House GOP signals they may get on board with proposal to do away with state education board

After years of fighting about this or that over the governance of Utah public education, can super-majorities of two-thirds of the House and Senate decide a major change in four days?...

Utah House advances a sneaky attempt to repeal SB54, along with a bill to fix GOP ballot chaos

It's all well and good to let the "people" decide a controversial issue at the ballot box.Who could argue against that?...

CYBER 24 podcast: Tragic impacts of cyber crime

Through the first 20 episodes of the CYBER24 podcast, we have examined the issues surrounding cybersecurity and how to protect your business or your family....

Weekly survey: Best/worst from 2018 Utah Legislature

What were the best and worst things from the 2018 Utah Legislature? Give us your thoughts in our weekly survey....

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Policy News

Hatch, Blumenthal support consumer choice in the contact lens market
Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) sent a letter to the Honorable Maureen Ohlhausen-the Acting Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)-urging that the proposed amendments to the Contact Lens Rule be finalized to spu...

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Local Headlines

Salt Lake Tribune

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert orders executive branch staff to stop lobbying on Capitol Hill after lawmakers debate a ban

Utah lawmakers agree to give state Board of Education some say in approving new charter schools

Video of Salt Lake City school founder removed by local TEDx group after allegations of financial impropriety surface

Tax hike compromise to replace Our Schools Now easily clears first hurdle on Utah's Capitol Hill

Plans to remake - if not abolish - the Utah Board of Education see heavy lobbying on Capitol Hill, with strange alliances on many sides

Utah lawmakers want Starvation State Park renamed in honor of late agency director and 'dear friend' Fred Hayes

Outside the public eye, feds poised to grant millions of dollars in tax royalty relief to struggling Utah coal mines

To 'help forge our path of healing forward' after Bears Ears, Utah tribal leaders are asking for a place on the governor's cabinet

EnergySolutions will get its $1.7 million fee break if the governor signs off

Bill restricting noncompete contracts for TV journalists is one House vote away from the governor's desk

House votes to erase state's new election law if voters reject Count My Vote initiative this fall

Utah Transit Authority's vice chairwoman fears lawmakers could jeopardize the transit agency's immunity deal with federal prosecutors

Despite a veto threat, lawmakers approve bill allowing the Legislature to defend state laws in court

Proposed President Trump highway turns into a dead end as Utah Rep. Mike Noel drops bill, says personal attacks wore him down

Transit taxes may be equalized - and raised - among counties

'Rosie's Bill' to create central cold-case database on its way to Utah governor

Gehrke: The Utah Legislature takes its share of lumps, but there are some good things to come from the session

Deseret News

Jay Evensen: The risks of increasing school funding in Utah

Editorial: Utah voters need some answers before voting to increase school funding

Bill creates scholarships for Utah technical college students in high-demand programs

Bill making drug-induced homicide a first-degree felony fails in Utah Senate

Utah Legislature gives heartfelt tribute to late parks director Fred Hayes

Utah Senate supports bill defining 'adequate shelter' for animals

Utah teen faces potential weapon of mass destruction charge

Shelter funding plan stripped of fee on cities lacking affordable housing

Utah lawmakers moving bill giving selves power to intervene in court cases

Deal between Our Schools Now, Utah lawmakers moves forward

State lawmaker dropping proposal to rename southern Utah roads after Trump

Downtown Salt Lake shelter still on track to close; overflow 'worst case scenario' and unlikely, state officials say

Opioid abuse education, rural busing needs among education issues addressed by Utah lawmakers

Senate passes cannabis bills giving dying patients access and instructing state to grow it

Committee likely to prevent Senate hearing on bill barring Down syndrome abortions, sponsor says

Utah in line to get more tobacco settlement money

'It's that bad:' Salt Lake officials decry rushed OK of altered inland port bill

Utah House passes bill to repeal controversial election law

Bill overhauling UTA now includes local option sales tax increase for transit

Bill restricting noncompete contracts in Utah broadcast media heads to governor

Vigil honors those slain in domestic violence as lawmakers debate


Local religious leaders weigh in on governor's request to pray for snow (Logan Herald Journal)

National Headlines

All the crazy things happening in San Francisco because of its out-of-control housing prices (Business Insider)

She Carried A Garrotte! (American Conservative)

Trump DOJ sues California over 'interference' with immigration enforcement (FOX News)

Some Steel and Aluminum Makers to Restart Plant Operations Amid Tariff Plans (Wall Street Journal)

CBS Urges Oprah to Run Against Trump: You 'Heal and Connect All People' (NewsBusters)

Navy, Marine Corps leaders warn that China is 'weaponizing capital' (The Hill)

China's long arm reaches into American campuses (Foreign Policy)

The NYPD Is Ready to Arrest Harvey Weinstein (Daily Beast)

Mueller fishing in Seychelles (CNN)

In Trump's White House, the Adviser Who Really Matters Sits in the Oval Office (New York Times)

Pentagon kicks off a winner-take-all among tech companies for multibillion-dollar cloud-computing contract (Washington Post)

Wise Words

2nd Amendment

"No freeman shall be debarred the use of arms." Thomas Jefferson

Lighter Side


"Trump is running for re-election. And he said he'll be sticking with Mike Pence as a cellmate I mean, running mate." Jimmy Fallon

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