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Situational awareness: Thursday, August 8, 2019

Welcome to Thursday. If it rains, go out and jump in a puddle.

Top of the news:

  • Webb commemorates 15 fun-filled years publishing UtahPolicy.com.
  • Bernick analyzes new state revenue numbers showing a surplus, but demonstrating why tax reform is needed..
  • Webb says terrific candidates in governor's race could spark great clash of ideas and vision.

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Today is the 220th day of the year. There are 145 days remaining in 2019.

5 days to the 2019 Utah primary elections (8/13/2019)

89 days to the 2019 municipal elections (11/5/2019)

147 days until candidates can begin to gather signatures to get on the 2020 ballot (1/2/2020)

172 days to the first day of the 2020 Utah Legislature (1/27/2020)

179 days to the 2020 Iowa Caucuses (2/3/2020)

208 days to the 2020 Utah presidential primary (3/3/2020)

217 days to the final day of the 2020 Utah Legislature (3/12/2020)

218 days to the opening of candidate filing for the 2020 election (3/13/2020)

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Today At Utah Policy

images/mugs-300/LaVarr_Webb.jpgCan you believe it? UtahPolicy.com has been going for 15 fun-filled years

Well, UtahPolicy.com has been going for 15 years. At least that's what LinkedIn tells me. And if LinkedIn says it's so, it must be so.I've been getting lots of messages from random people via LinkedIn, congratulating me on working at UtahPolicy.com for 15 years. Otherwise, I wouldn't have a clue. It's hard to believe it's been 15 years.
images/mugs-300/bernick-mug.jpgNew revenue numbers show surplus, but also need for tax reform

Between the Utah State government's two major revenue accounts, the state should see a $97 million tax surplus for fiscal year 2018-2019, which ended July 31.That's a $140 million surplus in the Education Fund and a $43 million deficit in the General Fund thus the overall $97 million surplus.
Governor's race could be a great clash of ideas and vision

I'm excited about the upcoming Utah gubernatorial race for a number of reasons. It appears it will attract a group of high-profile, well-qualified candidates. It is also likely to be a relatively high-minded race, focused on ideas and policy, rather than partisanship, ideology and rancor.The winner will probably be the candidate who can best articulate a big vision for Utah's future, the person who has far-sighted ideas and real solutions to problems.The race is attracting interest from some truly top-notch, capable, smart, accomplished leaders. It's likely not all will end up running, but it's a very impressive lineup, including Spencer Cox, Jon Huntsman, Greg Miller, Spencer Eccles, Thomas Wright, Greg Hughes, Jeff Burningham and Aimee Newton Winder.
images/mugs/steven-starks.jpgSteven E. Starks named CEO of Larry H. Miller companies

Gail Miller, chairman and owner of the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies, and the Board of Directors have named Steven E. Starks as chief executive officer and an executive member of the Board, effective August 12, 2019."Following a rigorous, national and internal search, it was apparent to the Board and the Miller family that Steve has a deep understanding of and commitment to our company's 40-year heritage, values and culture," said Miller.
images/mugs-300/Jon_Huntsman_02.jpgHuntsman brings intrigue to gubernatorial race

The likely entry of Jon Huntsman Jr. into the gubernatorial race is going the shake things up dramatically. But perhaps Huntsman won't be a slam-dunk winner like most pundits (me included) thought he would be. The popular Huntsman may not be invincible, after all.Huntsman's apparent vulnerability, and the prospect of a Huntsman/Spencer Cox battle, might actually encourage other candidates to get into the race. In a free-for-all, with no "anointed" candidate, anything can happen.
Survey research: GOP has challenge to attract younger voters

In this spring's county and state Republican Party conventions, leaders stressed time and again that the party needs to attract more younger voters, and keep them as they grow older.Now a new UtahPolicy.com/Y2 Analytics poll shows why party leaders are worried about the future: Younger Utahns are less partisan and less Republican than their elders.
Gov Herbert appoints new policy & communications directors

Gov. Gary R. Herbert has announced the appointments of Gordon Larsen as policy director and Anna Lehnardt as communications director, following Paul Edwards' move to Brigham Young University's Wheatley Institution. 

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Deseret News

Salt Lake Tribune



Trump visits Dayton & El Paso. Trump comforts, but also fires back as he faces protests and is blamed by some Democrats and media for shootings (The Hill).

Economy & Trade Wars. Trade and currency mistakes are eroding economic growth (Wall Street Journal opinion).Businesses, farmers brace for new phase in trade war (The Hill).

2020 election. Biden once called for a ban on sanctuary cities; current position is unclear (The Hill). Nate Cohn: Don't assume Trump's approval rating can't climb higher (New York Times). 'Medicare for all' complicates Democrats' pitch to retake Senate (The Hill).

World affairs. United Nations warns that soil loss and climate change threaten world's food supply (New York Times). Trump's ambitions as a peacemaker are crashing against harsh world realities (Politico).

Gun control. Poll says strong support exists for assault weapons ban, while Demos & GOP are divided on other measures to prevent shootings (Morning Consult).

Criminal justice. Trump 'very strongly' considering commuting Rob Blagojevich sentence (The Hill).

Immigration. ICE agents raid Mississippi work sites, arrest 680 illegal immigrants (Washington Post).


1844  Brigham Young is chosen to lead The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Nauvoo, Ill.

1863  Robert E. Lee offers resignation as commander of the Confederate army after Gettysburg loss.

1945  Soviets declare war on Japan; invade Manchuria in northeastern China.

1945  President Truman signs United National Charter and U.S. becomes the first nation to join the international organization.

1974 -- Pres. Richard Nixon resigns in the face of almost certain impeachment as Watergate scandal escalates.

Policy News

images/Logos/SL-Chamber-Logo.pngSL Chamber appoints new general counsel & VP of public policy
Utah attorney Jacey Skinner has been announced as the new General Counsel and Vice President of Public Policy for the Salt Lake Chamber, replacing Abby Osborne who left the Chamber earlier this summer to become the Chief of Staff for the Utah House of Representatives. 
images/mugs-300/Chris_Stewart.jpgStewart addresses youth suicide prevention in central Utah
Congressman Chris Stewart (R-UT) facilitated a discussion Wednesday on suicide prevention between local organizations and community members at the Central Utah Youth Suicide Prevention Congressional Round Table.
images/mugs/mitt-romney-5.jpgRomney & Burgess Owens to speak at Sutherland event
 The Sutherland Institute has announced that Sen. Mitt Romney will speak about The Case for Conservatism in Sutherland's 2019 Congressional Series presented by Zions Bank.Following Romney's remarks, NFL star Burgess Owens will participate in a Q&A session with Rick B. Larsen, Sutherland Institute president. The event will be held on Monday, Aug. 19. Details are found below.
314 Action endorses Erin Mendenhall for SLC mayor
314 Action, the nation's largest resource for scientists and STEM professionals running for public office, announced its endorsement of Erin Mendenhall. Erin is running to be mayor of Salt Lake City. Now in her second term on the City Council, Erin entered public service as a clean-air activist. She co-founded a non-profit organization, Breathe Utah, to create educational programming for Utahns and advocate for better policy, and now chairs Utah's Air Quality Board. Erin earned a master's degree in Science and Technology from the University of Utah and has made improving Salt Lake City's air quality through practical, evidence-based solutions the centerpiece of her campaign. 

More National Headlines

Wise Words


"Truth is ever to be found in simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things." Isaac Newton

Lighter Side


"Next up, Marianne Williamson. Best case, she gets a boost in her book sales. Worst case, she becomes president of the United States of America." - SETH MEYERS

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