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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 30, 2019

Good morning from Salt Lake City and TGIF!

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


No newsletter on Monday as we'll be taking the day off for Labor Day. We will return to your inboxes and mobile devices on Tuesday. Have a safe and happy holiday.

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

  • Raising gas taxes or implementing tolls to pay for roads in Utah are unpopular ideas among Utahns according to our new poll.
  • Hurricane Dorian is bearing down on Florida.
  • The Trump administration is set to tap military construction funds to build the wall on the U.S./Mexico border.

Friday Trivia

Our polling shows President Donald Trump sitting at 40% in Utah ahead of his 2020 re-election bid. Trump carried Utah in 2016 with only 45.5% of the vote, which is a shockingly low level of support in a heavily Republican state.

What was the lowest support ever recorded by a winning presidential candidate in a popular vote statewide presidential election?

Send your answers to me via email at bschott@utahpolicy.com. The first three readers to submit correct guesses will be recognized in Tuesday's newsletter.


Days to the 2019 Utah municipal elections: 67 (11/5/2019)

Days to the first day of the 2020 Utah Legislature: 150 (1/27/2020)

Days to the Utah presidential primaries: 186 (3/3/2020)

Days to the 2020 Utah primary elections: 299 (6/23/2020)

Days to the 2020 election: 431 (11/3/2020)

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Today At Utah Policy

images/1000px_Article_Photos/Toll_Road_01.jpgHow should Utah fund roads? Our new poll shows Utahns oppose raising the gas tax or implementing tolls
By Bob Bernick, Contributing Editor
Utahns recognize that the state per-gallon gasoline tax doesn't pay for all the road needs and that sales tax is diverted to roads, but they don't like the idea of raising the gas tax, and they really don't like the idea of charging tolls on some major roads, a new UtahPolicy.com/Y2 Analytics survey finds.
images/1000px_Mugs/Bernick_Mug_01.jpgBob Bernick's notebook: Trump's unpopularity could hurt Utah Republicans in 2020
By Bob Bernick, Contributing Editor
 Bob Bernick Could GOP President Donald Trump actually lose Utah next year?Very unlikely.
images/Resized_Logos/Utah_Foundation_Logo_01.jpgUtah Thrives podcast: Education outcomes
By Utah Foundation
You might think, because Utah spends less per student in our public schools than any other state, that the results our students achieve in the classroom would also be low compared to states that spend more. But that's not true.
images/Logos/UTGOP_Logo_02.jpgAnalysis: Makeup of Utah Republican Party shifting
By Bob Bernick, Contributing Editor
The Republican voter in Utah is changing, it appears. But is the Utah Republican Party changing with them?
images/1000px_Mugs/Donald_Trump_03.jpgTrump at 40% support in Utah ahead of 2020 vote; Trails Democrats Booker and Sanders, tied with Warren and Biden in head-to-head matchup
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
 President Donald Trump President Donald Trump has a shockingly low ceiling of support in Republican-dominated Utah as he runs for re-election in 2020 according to a new Utah Political Trends survey from UtahPolicy.com and Y2 Analytics.
images/1000px_Article_Photos/20190828_GOED_USTAR_UtahPolicyImage_MIP_080819_v1.jpgUtah's Medical Innovations Pathways Program
By GOED team
BioUtah is taking a lead role in developing Utah's life sciences workforce through the Medical Innovations Pathways Program.

zions bank low fixed rate


Deseret News

Salt Lake Tribune



Bracing for a monster

Hurricane Dorian could strike Florida over the coming days as a category 4 hurricane with winds of 130 mph. All of Florida is under a state of emergency [CNN].

  • President Donald Trump canceled a trip to Poland to remain the United States to monitor Hurricane Dorian's progress [WaPo].

Build the wall

The Trump administration is set to tap military construction funds to help build the wall on the U.S. Mexico border. Remember, Trump repeatedly promised during the 2016 campaign that Mexico would pay for the wall [CNN].


The long-anticipated report from the inspector general about former FBI director James Comey says he violated FBI policy for not turning over memos when he was fired and by leaking details of those memos to the media. The report also says there's no evidence he leaked classified information, which President Donald Trump has repeatedly accused Comey of doing [WaPo].


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu frantically tried to call President Trump to make sure he didn't meet with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif who made a surprise appearance at the G7 summit in France [Axios].


  • Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner have reportedly discussed the possibility of replacing Vice President Mike Pence with Nikki Haley as Trump's running mate in 2020 [Political Wire].
  • Only 10 Democratic presidential hopefuls have qualified for the September Democratic debate in Houston. The event will be a one-night affair [NYT].
  • Women voters could spell trouble for Trump's re-election efforts next year. Polls show women voters turning against Trump by huge margins [The Hill].

Trump's personal assistant resigns

Madeleine Westerhout, President Donald Trump's longtime assistant, suddenly resigned Thursday after Trump learned she had shared details about his family during an off-the-record dinner with reporters [NYT]. 

Trump faked phone calls with China

President Trump claimed earlier this week he had received phone calls from China about possibly making a deal to end the trade war. Administration officials said Thursday the phone calls Trump described didn't happen the way he said they did. They also said Trump was eager to project optimism and boost markets [CNN].

  • Only 13% of American companies operating in China plan to move all or part of their business out of China despite President Trump's order to do so. Only 3% of those companies plan to relocate to the U.S. [Axios].
  • The Trump administration is reportedly looking into a plan to lower taxes by the amount it's taking in from tariffs [Business Insider].


  • House Democrats say the Trump administration is blocking visits from House Oversight Committee staffers to border detention facilities [AP].
  • Mumps has sickened hundreds of migrants being held in detention centers in 19 states [AP].
  • The Trump administration has ended a "deferred action" program that allowed immigrants to avoid deportation while they or their relatives were undergoing life-saving medical treatment. Several of those immigrants have been ordered to leave the country, which they say is tantamount to a "death sentence" [NBC News].

Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.

A press secretary for President Trump's re-election campaign bizarrely claimed that Trump does not lie despite plenty of evidence to the contrary [CNN].


President Trump's re-election campaign sent out a video on social media featuring a logo used by a fascist group and a white supremacist website [Fast Company].

For your radar

Pending home sales fell sharply in July amid fears that the economy was heading toward recession [CNN].


Policy News

Utah companies receiving misleading mailers from 'UT Certificate Service' directing businesses to pay grossly inflated fee for company's Certificate of Existence which is already available for low cost from the State of Utah
Francine A. Giani, Executive Director of the Utah Department of Commerce, announced the Division of Corporations and Commercial Code and Division of Consumer Protection have received multiple reports that misleading letters are being sent to Utah businesses instructing owners to pay $72.50 for a Certificate of Existence with the state that normally costs $12.00 each.
Casual Friday: Weekend Events & Outdoors Report
Outdoors Report--KSL.com:Bear spotted on popular trail in Millcreek Canyon, hiker warns-- KSL.com: Salt Lake City approves $1.3M plan to repair Fisher Carriage House, open rec opportunities to public-- KSL.com: The secret life of Indian paintbrush-- KSL.com: Crews work to find cause, clean up after 3,000-foot rockfall in Zion-- KSL.com: Prehistoric Lake Bonneville trail progresses in Utah
Utah County Commissioners set to launch 'Your County, Your Voice' program
Utah County Commissioners Bill Lee, Nathan Ivie, and Tanner Ainge announced a new program intended to gather citizen feedback called, "Your County, Your Voice." The survey tools are intended to solicit input on a number of issues facing Utah County and to better understand concerns of county residents. 
images/1000px_Logos/Congressional_News_03.jpg2500 jobs coming to Utah's 1st Congressional District
Rep. Rob Bishop, a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, offered congratulatory remarks at a groundbreaking ceremony in Roy, UT following an announcement by Northrop Grumman of the construction of a brand new facility. The facility will serve as the headquarters for the company's Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) program and create 2500 new jobs in northern Utah.
United Utah Party holds public hearings on term limit initiative
Public hearings on the UUP term limit initiative will be held between August 27 and August 31, 2019, at the designated locations listed below: 
New-generation diesel technologies to deliver greatest emission reductions from Utah's VW settlement spending
The Utah Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) awarded $25.5 million to fund vehicle replacements in priority communities most in need of emission reductions across the state. These funds represent the majority of the $35 million allocated to Utah as part of the Volkswagen (VW) Environmental Mitigation Trust. Seven percent of the state's $35 million settlement from Volkswagen remain to be spent before October 2027. 

More National Headlines


30 B.C. - Cleopatra killed herself following the defeat of her forces by Octavian, the future first emperor of Rome.

1780 - Benedict Arnold betrayed the United States when he promised to secretly surrender the fort at West Point to the British army. He fled to England and died in poverty.

1967 - Thurgood Marshall is confirmed as the first African American Justice of the Supreme Court.

Wise Words


"You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty." Mahatma Gandhi

Lighter Side

Lotto Economy

"Now get this: In Ohio, the Guinness world record was just broken for most people scratching Lotto tickets at the same time. Even worse, that's Trump's plan to fix the economy." - JIMMY FALLON

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