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Situational awareness - May 14, 2020

Good Thursday morning from Salt Lake City


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

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

251 days to inauguration day (01/20/2021)

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

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

  • Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell warns of lasting economic damage from the coronavirus.
  • Utah lawmakers confront a grim budget outlook from the pandemic.
  • Legislators planning to hold two special sessions in June and July.

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Today At Utah Policy

images/1000px_Article_Photos/Coronavirus_11.jpgLegislative leaders confront grim budget picture because of COVID-19
By Bob Bernick, Contributing Editor
No pay raises for state workers, public education teachers, or college professors; no funding increases for state programs; no growth in social services.
images/1000px_Article_Photos/Coronavirus_09.jpgUtah will soon start doling out hundreds of millions in federal aid to Utah cities and counties
By Bob Bernick, Contributing Editor
Utah cities and counties will soon start getting $562 million, allocated by the state based on populations of each entity, that comes from the federal coronavirus relief act -- CARES -- a top state budget committee heard Wednesday.
images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_26.jpgLawmakers planning on budget special session in June and another on policy in July
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Utah lawmakers have been told to plan for a special session in June to address changes to the budget because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but any policy changes will take place in a second special session after Independence Day.
images/1000px_Logos/Bernick_and_Schott_Logo_1000.jpgBernick and Schott on politics podcast: 'Cold fusion boondoggle'
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Managing Editor Bryan Schott and Contributing Editor Bob Bernick break down the top political headlines.
images/1000px_Article_Photos/Gasoline_Tax_01.jpgCOVID-19 restrictions cause Utah's gas tax revenue to plummet
By Bob Bernick, Contributing Editor
Some early state tax data showing the impact of the coronavirus' on revenues is bad. And it will only get worse.
images/1000px_Screenshots/20200512_Romney_Coronavirus.jpgRomney says Trump administration's efforts on COVID-19 testing 'nothing to celebrate'
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Sen. Mitt Romney criticized the United States' efforts on coronavirus testing, saying it was "nothing to celebrate" during a Senate hearing on Tuesday.
images/1000px_Article_Photos/coronavirus_smartphone.jpgDays after entering into a multi-million dollar contract to develop a contact tracing app, another company offered similar technology to Utah officials for free
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Last month, Gov. Gary Herbert announced to great fanfare that they had partnered with a Utah high-tech company to produce a contact tracing app to help track and slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. The partnership could cost the state more than $2.75 million for development and deployment. However, another company approached state officials offering an app for contact tracing with some of the same functions to Utah officials for free.
images/1000px_Mugs/Reyes_Leavitt_01.jpgAnalysis: Sean Reyes in good position ahead of June primary matchup with David Leavitt
By Bob Bernick, Contributing Editor
Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes is in good shape, both before GOP voters and financially, as he heads toward a June 30 primary with Utah County GOP Attorney David Leavitt.
images/Resized_Logos/Utah_Foundation_Logo_01.jpgUtah hits 150,000 new unemployment filings in seven weeks
By Utah Foundation
Utah employment numbers are bleak, but not as bleak as the national numbers.

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Deseret News

Salt Lake Tribune




Dr. Rick Bright, who was ousted as director of the federal office tasked with developing treatments for COVID-19, will testify before a House committee Thursday that the US will face "unprecedented illness and fatalities" and the country is facing the "darkest winter in modern history" without a clear plan for battling another coronavirus outbreak later this year [CNN].

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell warned of the threat of a prolonged recession and lasting economic damage without more fiscal stimulus from Congress [AP].


The Wisconsin Supreme Court overturned the state's stay-at-home order, ruling it "unlawful" and "unenforceable." The state's GOP-led legislature sued Democratic Gov. Tony Evers over the restrictions [Washington Post].

Trump vs. Fauci

Dr. Anthony Fauci warned against reopening schools and businesses too quickly. President Trump called Fauci's statement "unacceptable" [CNN].

Republicans in Congress are feuding over Fauci, debating whether to praise him or condemn him as an obstacle to President Trump's efforts to restart the economy [Bloomberg].

Virus latest

A new study shows that coronavirus can be passed between people just by speaking. Droplets can hang in the air for more than 8 minutes in confined environments [USA Today].

The World Health Organization is warning COVID-19 "may never go away," and that it could take years to build global immunity without a vaccine [AP].


Grocery prices spiked 2.8 percent in April, the biggest increase since 1974 [CNN].

Roughly 27 million Americans have lost their employer-provided health insurance [Axios].

Uber will require all drivers and riders to wear masks [CNBC].


President Trump reportedly worried testing too many people for COVID-19 would spook the stock market. One advisor said trying to advise the president is like "bringing fruits to the volcano...You're trying to appease a great force that is impervious to reason" [Financial Times].


The FBI seized the cellphone belonging to Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina on Wednesday as part of an investigation into suspicious stock trades he made as the coronavirus struck the US [Los Angeles Times].

Michael Flynn

A federal judge is looking into whether President Trump's former national security adviser can be held in contempt of court for perjuring himself. The judge also asked a retired federal judge to argue against the Justice Department's request to dismiss charges against Flynn [CNN].

Special election

Republican Mike Garcia won a special election to flip a congressional seat in California from Democratic control. But, Garcia and his Democratic opponent will face off again in November [WaPo].


Policy News

Utah Inland Port Authority and Rocky Mountain Power announce cooperation agreement
The Utah Inland Port Authority (UIPA) and Rocky Mountain Power have signed a Joint Clean Energy Cooperation Statement to create a sustainable energy supply within the UIPA jurisdictional area.
images/1000px_Logos/CYBER_24_Logo.jpgCYBER24 episode 81: COVID-19 disruption has hackers on the offensive
When society's regular routine is thrown out off-kilter, cybercriminals get right to work. Whether they are stealing your video conferencing credentials to interrupt a meeting, using those credentials to access other accounts or launching websites to phish your employees, you need your defenses up now more than ever.
Central Wasatch Commission approves funding for projects in the Central Wasatch for the 2020 work season
During the May 4th meeting of the Central Wasatch Commission, the Commission approved funding for six project proposals that resulted from the Call for Ideas opened to the public in March.
images/1000px_Logos/Utah_Economic_Response_Task_Force_Logo_01.jpgUtah Economic Task Force town hall: Implementing moderate-risk guidelines in your business
The Utah Economic Task Force will host a virtual town hall on Tuesday, May 12, 2020 at 4:00 p.m. MST to discuss how to implement moderate-risk guidelines in your business as laid out in Utah Leads Together 2.0, as well as provide a glimpse at next steps for Utah's tourism industry.
Utah Department of Veterans & Military Affairs launches statewide Happiness for Heroes Initiative; Requests public participation
The Utah Department of Veterans & Military Affairs, in partnership with Avalon Healthcare, launched the Happiness for Heroes campaign, which is designed to share messages of support and hope to residents of Utah's four Veterans' nursing homes.

More National Headlines


1787 - In Philadelphia, delegates convene a Constitutional Convention to write a new Constitution for the United States; George Washington presides.

1796 - Edward Jenner administers the first smallpox inoculation.

1800 - The process of moving the U.S. capital from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. begins.

1804 - The Lewis and Clark Expedition departs from Camp Dubois.

1878 - The last witchcraft trial held in the United States begins in Salem, Massachusetts, after Lucretia Brown accused Daniel Spofford of attempting to harm her through his mental powers.

1948 - Israel is declared to be an independent state, and a provisional government is established. Immediately after the decision, Israel is attacked by the neighboring Arab states, triggering the 1984 Arab-Israeli War.

1973 - Skylab, the United States' first space station, is launched.

Wise Words

Start by Doing

"Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible."Francis of Assisi

Lighter Side

Covid Task Force

"That's right, for Trump, the priority right now isn't to try to stop the pandemic; it's to open up the country no matter what. I mean, how can you get rid of the task force fighting the pandemic while the pandemic is still growing? That makes no sense. Can you imagine if they stopped after 'Fast and Furious 6?' How would we know how much more furious they get?"- TREVOR NOAH

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