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Situational awareness - August 22, 2019

Good Thursday morning from Salt Lake City

Thanks for reading Utah's must-read daily political news rundown. Please encourage your friends and colleagues to sign up for our emails.

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

  • New medical cannabis bill would ditch state-run central fill pharmacy.
  • Utahns don't favor reinstating the state portion of the sales tax on food.
  • The federal deficit is growing faster than expected and will top $1 trillion next year.


Days to the 2019 Utah municipal elections: 75 (11/5/2019)

Days to the first day of the 2020 Utah Legislature: 158 (1/27/2020)

Days to the Utah presidential primaries: 194 (3/3/2020)

Days to the 2020 Utah primary elections: 307 (6/23/2020)

Days to the 2020 election: 439 (11/3/2020)

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Today At Utah Policy

images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_06.jpgLawmakers will consider ditching state-run medical marijuana dispensaries in upcoming special session
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Utah lawmakers are set to consider major changes to the state's new medical marijuana legislation, primarily doing away with the central-fill pharmacy provision in the bill and replacing it with more privately-run pharmacies.
images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_31.jpg2/3 of Utahns oppose reinstating sales tax on food, but they're unsure about imposing sales taxes on services
By Bob Bernick, Contributing Editor
Republicans in the Utah Legislature and GOP Gov. Gary Herbert have quite a sales job ahead of them if they want most Utahns to support their tax reform effort, especially extending the sales tax to services, a new UtahPolicy.com poll finds.
images/1000px_Logos/SL_Chamber_Logo_1000.jpg5 Reasons to attend the Business H2O: Water Innovation Summit
By Salt Lake Chamber
 On September 12, the Salt Lake Chamber will host this year's Business H20: Water Innovation Summit in conjunction with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce at Snowbird Resort.
images/1000px_Article_Photos/20190821_GOED.jpgTalent Ready Utah and partners announce new youth apprenticeship program
By GOED team
Talent Ready Utah (TRU) recently announced it's partnering with Salt Lake Community College, Salt Lake City School District, Salt Lake Education Foundation and Stadler US to start a new youth apprenticeship program for the state of Utah. The program is called Talent Ready Apprenticeship Connection (TRAC).
images/1000px_Mugs/Daniel_Hemmert_01.jpg2020 roundup: Hemmert preparing to run for Congress, Moss and Wilde pass
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
 Sen. Daniel Hemmert There are already four Republicans running to face Democrat Ben McAdams in 2020. Senate Majority Whip Dan Hemmert is poised to be the fifth.
images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_07.jpgFewer than 4 in 10 Utahns believe overhauling Utah's tax system should be a high priority
By Bob Bernick, Contributing Editor
While Utah legislative leaders are working hard to come up with a tax reform package that can go to lawmakers in a fall special session, the urgent push is not shared by voters in general, a new Utah Political Trends survey from UtahPolicy.com and Y2 Analytics poll shows.
images/Resized_Logos/Utah_Foundation_Logo_01.jpgStudy examines K-12 education outcomes in light of spending
By Utah Foundation
Utah may spend less per student in its public schools than any other state, but Utah students are doing as well or better than comparable states on a range of measures of educational outcomes. A new study from Utah Foundation, Making the Grade? K-12 Outcomes and Spending in Utah, compares the performance of students here with neighboring states in the Mountain West and with several peer states selected for their similarity to Utah's population demographics. It then places the outcomes in the context of spending.
images/1000px_Logos/Bernick_and_Schott_Logo_1000.jpgFriendzoned by Mitt Romney - Bernick and Schott on politics
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
National Democrats think there's a chance Rep. Chris Stewart could be vulnerable in 2020, mostly because of his low approval ratings and President Donald Trump's unpopularity. Do Democrats have a chance to flip this district next year?
images/1000px_Mugs/Chris_Stewart_11.jpgNational Democrats think Rep. Chris Stewart could be vulnerable in 2020
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
 Rep. Chris Stewart speaks at the 2019 Utah GOP convention It sounds ludicrous, but national Democrats think they might have a chance to knock off four-term incumbent Republican Chris Stewart in 2020.

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Salt Lake Tribune


Yikes! The federal budget deficit is growing even faster than originally expected. The deficit will reach $960 billion for the current fiscal year which ends Sept. 30, and will expand to $1 trillion in 2020 [NYT].

  • The Congressional Budget Office said U.S economic growth will "gradually" slow down through 2023 [Politico].

Trump backs away from payroll tax cut. President Trump said Tuesday he is no longer looking to cut payroll taxes to boost the economy. He said he was considering the move a day earlier [WaPo].

Trump doubles down on attacks against Jews. President Trump said during a rambling press availability Tuesday that American Jews who vote for Democrats are "very disloyal to Israel" [WaPo].

"I am the chosen one." President Trump declared himself "the Chosen One" while defending his trade war with China [CNBC].

Trump targets birthright citizenship again. President Trump said he was "very seriously" considering an executive order to end automatic citizenship for those born on U.S. soil. Constitutional experts say it's unlikely Trump could end the practice by fiat [The Hill].

Then there were fewer. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee drops out of the 2020 Democratic presidential race. He's likely to return home to run for a third term as governor next year [Politico].

Good luck with that. Former Illinois congressman and current radio host Joe Walsh is moving toward launching a 2020 primary challenge against President Trump. Trump has an 88% approval rating among Republicans [Politico].


  • ABC News announced the details of the September Democratic presidential debate, which will occur over 2 nights in Texas [ABC News].
  • 10 candidates have qualified for the September Democratic presidential debate. Two other campaigns are racing to cross that bar ahead of next week's deadline [Atlantic].
  • John Hickenlooper will run for Senate in Colorado, challenging Republican Cory Gardner [Denver Post].

Economy. Government officials fear they have few options if an economic slowdown hit. Democrats want more government spending to rev up the economy while Republicans are pushing for lower taxes [WSJ].

Good deed. President Trump signed an executive order allowing student loan forgiveness for permanently disabled veterans [NYT].

Immigration. The Trump administration is mulling letting cities and states deny entry to refugees approved for resettlement in the U.S. [NBC News].


Policy News

Cicero Group ranked in top 50 consulting firms
In the 2020 Vault.com "Top 50 Consulting Firms" rankings, Cicero Group ranked as the No. 10 firm for overall business outlook, No. 17 boutique consulting firm, and No. 42 overall consulting firm. These rankings, in addition to recognition for top informal training and internal mobility, position Cicero Group as one of the leaders in management consulting in North America.
Salt Lake City-based foundation brings UN Conference to the world
When thousands of people come to Salt Lake City from Aug. 26-Aug. 28 to take part in the 68th annual United Nations Civil Society Conference, many more will participate around the world via online video streaming sponsored by the Utah-based Semnani Family Foundation.
Amazon announces plans to expand in Utah with new fulfillment center in West Jordan
Amazon.com, Inc. announced plans to open a new fulfillment center in West Jordan, Utah creating more than 800 full-time jobs starting at $15 an hour with comprehensive benefits starting on day one. Amazon currently employs more than 2,000 full-time associates throughout the State of Utah. 
UCAIR board elects new executive chair and committee to lead clean air pursuit
UCAIR, the Utah Clean Air Partnership, elected and inducted the new Executive Board Committee for the 2020-2021 term at its annual meeting of the Board. 

More National Headlines


1881 - Clara Barton and Adolphus Solomons founded the National Red Cross.

1902 - Theodore Roosevelt becomes the first American president to make a public appearance in an automobile.

1941 - German troops begin the Siege of Leningrad.

2004 - Two masked robbers stole Edvard Munch's The Scream and another painting from the Munch Museum in Oslo, Norway.

Wise Words


"There are two things a person should never be angry at, what they can help, and what they cannot." Plato

Lighter Side


"It really speaks to your leadership when a town in mourning after an unspeakable tragedy thinks you would bring the mood down," [Stephen] Colbert said.

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