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The UtahPolicy.com daily newsletter gets you up to speed on the top local and national news about politics and public policy. Send news tips or feedback to bschott@utahpolicy.com, or message us on Twitter.

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Situational awareness - August 20, 2020

Good Thursday morning from Salt Lake City


The Legislature's 6th special session begins today (8/20/2020)

35 days to the 1st Congressional District debate (9/24/2020)

40 days to the Utah gubernatorial debate (9/28/2020)

42 days to the Utah Attorney General debate (10/01/2020)

48 days to the Vice Presidential debate at the University of Utah (10/07/2020)

53 days to the 4th Congressional District debate (10/12/2020)

56 days to the 3rd Congressional District debate (10/15/2020)

60 days to the 2nd Congressional District debate (10/19/2020)

75 days to the 2020 election (11/3/2020)

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

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

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

  • Democrats officially nominate Kamala Harris for vice president. 
  • President Trump praised the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory. 
  • Utah lawmakers set for another special session.

Thanks for subscribing to Utah's must-read daily political news rundown.

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Today At Utah Policy

images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_26.jpgLegislators can't find enough support to extend coronavirus emergency declaration
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Legislators have decided not to extend Governor Gary Herbert's coronavirus emergency declaration, meaning it will expire at midnight on Thursday. But, Herbert can simply declare another emergency, which will keep the current coronavirus restrictions in place for another 30 days. 
images/1000px_Article_Photos/Running_Against_the_Devil.jpgPodcast: Rick Wilson on how Democrats can beat Trump in November
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
 Political strategist Rick Wilson has found a new life as part of a group of "never Trump" former Republicans who are working to deny President Donald Trump another term in office. 
images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_18.jpgLegislative Republicans nix proposal to shift state funding away from a controversial California coal port
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Republicans on the legislature's top budgeting committee beat back Democrats' efforts on Tuesday to block state money from bailing out a controversial bankrupt coal port in Oakland and providing more money for Utah classrooms during the coronavirus pandemic.
images/1000px_Screenshots/20200818_Wilson_CNN.pngJenny Wilson represents Utah during Democratic roll call of the states
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson represented Utah during the roll call of the states during Tuesday's Democratic National Convention.
images/1000px_Mugs/Thomas_Wright_03.jpgPodcast: Thomas Wright on running for governor, and why he thinks Trump will win in November
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Republican Thomas Wright joins the podcast to discuss his run for governor.
images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_13.jpgLawmakers debating whether to extend coronavirus emergency declaration ahead of Thursday's special session
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
A debate over Governor Gary Herbert's declaration of a state of emergency is dominating behind the scenes discussions ahead of Thursday's special legislative session.
images/1000px_Mugs/Burgess_Owens_02.jpgBurgess Owens praised a Republican candidate linked to white nationalism on Twitter
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Burgess Owens, the Republican nominee in Utah's 4th Congressional District, praised a North Carolina Republican candidate who has been criticized for what appears to be his support for white nationalism. 

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Deseret News

Salt Lake Tribune



Democrats officially nominate Kamala Harris as vice president, the first Black woman to be nominated to a major party's presidential ticket. Former President Barack Obama rips President Donald Trump during his speech during the third night of the Democratic National Convention [NYT].


Federal Reserve officials expect the coronavirus to "weigh heavily" on the economy and could pose a danger to the financial system [CNBC].

Profits for Target stores jumped 80 percent during the last quarter [CNBC].


New cases of the virus are declining across the U.S., but officials are warning Americans to remain cautious [CNN].

U.S. intelligence officials say officials in Wuhan hid the severity of the early coronavirus outbreak from Beijing, fearing reprisals from the Chinese government [The Hill].


The Senate Intelligence Committe made a criminal referral of Donald Trump, Jr., Steve Bannon, Jared Kushner and others to federal prosecutors in 2019 as part of their investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Committee members believed the men lied to the committee during their testimony [NBC News].

Postal Service

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called out Postmaster General Louis DeJoy on Wednesday, saying he won't commit to reversing the changes he's made to the postal service, replacing sorting machines and mailboxes that have already been removed ahead of November's election [Axios].

The Postal Service blocked congressional lawmakers from questioning the company that helped select DeJoy, a major donor to President Trump, as the postmaster general [WaPo].


President Trump praised followers of the right-wing conspiracy theory saying "I understand they like me very much." The FBI says the group poses a domestic terrorism threat [NYT].

Facebook cracked down on QAnon believers, booting thousands of accounts and pages on Wednesday [NBC News].

Trump vs. Goodyear

President Trump promoted a boycott of tire company Goodyear on Wednesday after a company policy that banned MAGA hats went viral [Politico].

Won't commit

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany would not say whether President Trump will accept the results of the election in November, saying he will "see what happens" [CBS News].


Former Homeland Security official Miles Taylor says President Trump floated swapping Puerto Rico for Greenland because "Puerto Rico was dirty and the people were poor" [MSNBC].


Policy News

Mayor Mendenhall proposes budget to equitably address community COVID needs
Mayor Erin Mendenhall announced six budget proposals aimed at developing a more equitable short- and long-term COVID recovery in the city.
Westminster begins Fall wemester with hybrid classes
Fall 2020 Semester classes at Westminster College began today. Courses are being delivered as a combination of in-person and remote instruction due to the coronavirus pandemic. The college has carefully developed protocols in line with CDC recommendations to ensure a safe and healthy campus environment for all students, faculty and staff.
images/1000px_Logos/WTC_Utah_Logo.pngSustaining global supply chains in a bankruptcy tsunami webinar
Join World Trade Center Utah, in partnership with Parsons Behle & Latimer, for a webinar about the impending bankruptcy consequences of the pandemic.
images/1000px_Logos/SL_Chamber_Logo_1000.jpgSalt Lake Chamber to honor outstanding community leaders
Utah's business leaders will gather for the Salt Lake Chamber's 133rd Annual Meeting and Awards Breakfast on September 10, 2020. The theme this year will be "Adventure Awaits!" as there is no one way to engage with the Chamber and it is a place for opportunity, networking, education, and professional growth for businesses and professionals throughout the state. 
UCAIR board names chair elect and ratifies executive committee to lead clean air pursuit
UCAIR, the Utah Clean Air Partnership, ratified its incoming Board Chair, Executive Committee, and named a new Chair-Elect at its annual Board reorganization meeting.

More National Headlines


1741 - Danish navigator Vitus Jonas Bering discovered what is now called Alaska.

1858 - Charles Darwin first publishes his theory of evolution.

1866 - President Andrew Johnson formally declares the Civil War over.

1920 - The National Football League is organized as the American Professional Football Conference in Canton, Ohio.

1968 - Warsaw Pact troops invaded Czechoslovakia to crush the "Prague Spring."

1996 - President Bill Clinton signed into law an increase in the minimum wage.

Wise Words

What Do You See?

"The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty." Winston Churchill

Lighter Side

In The Mail

"Millions of Americans wrote Trump angry letters about it, but he was like, 'Weird, I didn't get anything.'" - JIMMY FALLON

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