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Situational awareness - May 9, 2018

Good Wednesday morning from Salt Lake City.

The LDS Church is severing ties with the Boys Scouts. Utah is running into roadblocks on the path to Medicaid expansion. Trump trashes the Iran deal. A Russian oligarch hired Trump's personal lawyer as a consultant. 

Happy anniversary! One year ago today, President Trump abruptly fired FBI Director James Comey, which led to the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller.


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Scouting split

The LDS Church announces they will sever ties with the Boy Scouts of America in 2020, replacing it with a new church-led program [Deseret News, Tribune (paywall), Standard-Examiner].

Medicaid problems

Utah lawmakers passed a limited Medicaid expansion this year that depends on waivers from the Trump administration. It turns out those waivers are more difficult to get than legislators anticipated [Utah Policy].

More economic good news

Utah's GDP grew at the 5th fastest rate between 2016 and 2017 [Utah Policy].

Hatch apologizes

Sen. Orrin Hatch apologizes for saying it was "ridiculous" for Sen. John McCain to bar President Trump from his funeral [Utah Policy].




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Today At Utah Policy

Utah running into roadblocks on legislature-approved Medicaid expansion

Utah GOP state lawmakers have found a friend in President Donald Trump when it comes to Democratic-imposed national monuments.Not so much on Medicaid expansion....

Utah's GDP growth was 5th fastest in the nation last year

Statistics from the Bureau of Economic Analysis show Utah's GDP grew 3.1% between 2016 and 2017, which was fifth-fastest in the nation. ...

Hatch apologizes to McCain for saying it was 'ridiculous' not to invite Trump to his funeral

Just one day after saying it was "ridiculous" that Sen. John McCain did not want President Trump at his funeral, Sen. Orrin Hatch has apologized. ...

Weekly survey: Is Utah's citizen initiative process fair?

It costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to get the 113,000 signatures needed to place a citizen's initiative on the ballot, but those same initiatives can be defeated by opponents urging signers to remove their names from the petition. Do you think the current system ...

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Policy News

Gail Miller chosen new board chair of Intermountain Healthcare
Intermountain Healthcare's Board of Trustees has chosen Utah business and civic leader Gail Miller as chair of the Intermountain Board. She succeeds Scott Anderson, who remains on the Board as chair emeritus and who has stepped down at the completion of his six-year term.&nb...

New city manager on the job in Riverton
A new city manager is on the job in Riverton following a search and extensive application process. Konrad Hildebrandt, who began his administrative duties on April 30, was selected out of a pool of more than 100 applicants....

Sen. Lee welcomes White House rescissions package
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) issued the following statement Tuesday after the White House sent a message to Congress, pursuant to the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act, requesting the rescission of more than $15 billion in federal spending....

Local Headlines

Salt Lake Tribune

The Salt Lake Tribune faces layoffs, cuts to print offerings

Free to roam: Utah's first-of-its-kind 'free-range parenting' law takes effect

As felony trial looms, activists seek appeal in San Juan County gate-closing trial

Gehrke: Once again, we see ambition and politics drive decisions at the AG's office; maybe it's time for a change

Sen. Orrin Hatch apologizes for criticizing McCain over not wanting President Trump to attend his funeral

Hatch and Lee among Utah politicians lauding Trump's withdrawal from the Iran deal. Mitt Romney backs it, too.

Would-be spy landed job at Utah agency that oversees state computer systems, says he used it to find and send documents to Russia

Sim Gill, the Salt Lake County district attorney, continues to back medical marijuana: 'I'm in support of medical cannabis as an option for patients'

On first day to propose bills for next year's Utah Legislature, House Democrats take aim at gun violence

Utah medical marijuana opponents allege initiative supporters broke the law by offering money to prevent signatures from being removed

Rolly: Nonprofit group looking to celebrate the history of Utah women lands itself in partisan hot water

Deseret News

Op-ed: Count My Vote compromise better represents voters

Editorial: Teachers need better pay, but is striking the best method?

Utahns in Congress applaud Iran nuclear deal withdrawal, say U.S. needs better accord

Hatch apologizes for saying 'it's ridiculous' for McCain to request Trump not attend his funeral

Salt Lake County's top prosecutor lends support to medical marijuana initiative

Despite uncertainty with inland port, Salt Lake City approves tax increment for Swiss rail firm project

Salt Lake Tribune announces expected layoffs, other changes


County increases sales tax to fund roads, public transit (Logan Herald Journal)

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National Headlines

Trump declares US leaving 'horrible' Iran nuclear accord (Associated Press)

Israel Will 'Eliminate' Assad if He Continues to Let Iran Operate From Syria, Minister Warns (Haaretz)

The Trump Land Mine (National Review)

Billionaire stalls on $500M deal for LA Times, San Diego Union-Tribune (New York Post)

Farrow, the Pulitzer-winning whiz, behind #Metoo cause (AFP)

'No other religion would be made fun of in this way': Christian fury at Met Gala's 'blasphemous' Catholic theme (Daily Mail)

If the Met Gala was Islam or Jewish-themed, all hell would break loose (Daily Mail)

Blankenship suffers beatdown in West Virginia (Politico)

Eric Schneiderman's Reputation: From 'Wouldn't Get a Bawdy Joke' to Brute, Overnight (New York Times)

Haspel to pledge never to restart CIA's brutal interrogation program (Washington Post)

Drug executives express regret over opioid crisis, one tells Congress his company contributed to the epidemic (Washington Post)

Wise Words


"The aim of education is the knowledge, not of facts, but of values." William S. Burroughs

Lighter Side

Stop Talking

"Rudy Giuliani went on Fox News and revealed that Trump knew about and paid for Stormy Daniels' hush money. Even Kanye was like, "You should probably stop talking." Jimmy Fallon

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