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Situational awareness: Friday, August 9, 2019

Top of the news:

  • Bernick looks at a possible Huntsman gubernatorial bid. Says Huntsman will have some questions to answer.
  • Webb says Trump is risking his re-election on his trade war with China - and it's the right thing to do.
  • Both Republicans & Democrats say they want action on gun control. Could this be Trump's 'Nixon-to-China' moment?

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Today is the 221st day of the year. There are 144 days remaining in 2019.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

217 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/bernick-mug.jpgHuntsman is popular, but will have questions to answer
By Bob Bernick, Contributing Editor
As expected, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman resigned this week as U.S. ambassador to Russia and is returning to Utah with his wife, Mary Kaye, in early October. Most local politicos believe Huntsman will, at a later date, announce he's running for governor, again, in 2020. Huntsman was a popular governor, winning two four-year terms, in 2004 and 2008.
images/mugs-300/LaVarr_Webb.jpgTrump risks re-election with tough - but correct - stance on China
By LaVarr Webb, Publisher
Donald Trump is the subject of ferocious opposition and his re-election is clearly in danger. So why does he continue to take major actions that are obviously not in his best political and re-election interests?Most politicians protect their re-election chances by avoiding anything that might hurt. On a number of issues, Trump has done the opposite.
Talent Ready Utah Board unveils plan to expand access to computer science education
By Press release
The executive board of Talent Ready Utah has released the Utah Computer Science Master Plan, a comprehensive four-year plan designed to meet Gov. Herbert's goal to ensure every public K-12 student in Utah has the opportunity to learn computer science (CS) by 2022.
Former legislator and community advocate seek to strengthen initiatives in Utah
By Editor
Christine Stenquist, lead patient advocate in the push for medical cannabis in Utah, and former Utah Senator Steve Urquhart have announced The Utah Initiative Protection Act (Utah IPA), to safeguard the constitutional right of Utah citizens. 
images/mugs-300/LaVarr_Webb.jpgCan you believe it? UtahPolicy.com has been going for 15 fun-filled years
By LaVarr Webb, Publisher
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
By Bob Bernick, Contributing Editor
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
By LaVarr Webb, Publisher
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.

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Deseret News

Salt Lake Tribune


2020 election. Cory Booker and Kamala Harris are being scrutinized over appearances with Las Vegas pastor who believes homosexuality is a sin (The Hill). Democrats give cold shoulder to Elizabeth Warren's wealth tax (The Hill). Two top-dollar fundraisers for Trump expected to raise $10 million (The Hill). How Kamala Harris used San Francisco high society to launch political career (Politico). Andrew Yang surpasses Beto O'Rourke in Iowa poll, qualifies for fall debates (Politico).

Gun control. Does Trump have a 'Nixon-to-China' opportunity on gun control? (Politico). Republicans consider tougher laws on guns, including background checks and 'red flag' laws, but Democrats are skeptical (New York Times) (The Hill)

Methane leaks threaten natural gas. Energy companies scramble to reduce methane emissions that equal the greenhouse gas emissions from 69 million cars a year (Wall Street Journal).

Intelligence shakeup. Trump announces Joseph Maguire as acting director of national intelligence after departure of Daniel Coats (Washington Post).  

Investigating the investigators. FBI releases Bruce Ohr interview reports, giving Trump backers new ammo in their attempt to link the Russian collusion investigation to Democratic operators and biased investigators (Politico).  

McConnell vs. Twitter. Mitch McConnell and his allies are embracing a fight with Twitter and the media after Twitter blocks his account over a video of a protestor saying someone should stab McConnell in the heart (The Hill) (Politico).

Political leanings. Are you a Republican or a Democrat? You'll supposedly know after taking this quiz (New York Times).

Trade wars. U.S.-China trade battle is crimping global oil demand (Wall Street Journal).


378  A large Roman army is routed by Visigoths at the battle of Adrianople in present-day Turkey, one of the most decisive battles in history.

1936  African American track star Jesse Owens wins his 4th gold medal in the 4X100 meter relay at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

1945  An atomic bomb is dropped on Nagasaki, resulting in Japan's unconditional surrender.

1969  The Charles Manson cult kills five people in Roman Polanski's home in Beverly Hills, including Polanski's pregnant wife, Sharon Tate.

1974  Vice President Gerald Ford is sworn in as the 38th president minutes after Richard Nixon officially ends his term after resigning the day before.

1995  Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia dies, ending his long, strange trip.

Policy News

images/articles/tax-reform-441-video.jpgHouse Democrats' report on tax reform town halls
In the 2019 session, H.B. 441, the effort to overhaul Utah's tax system by expanding sales taxes on services and removing certain exemptions, did not pass because of a failure to educate Utahns about our state's financial situation and a lack of public input. House Democrats wanted to explain why the legislature was talking about tax reform and listen to what Utahns wanted on this important issue. We hosted seven town halls in Salt Lake City, West Valley City, Ogden, Provo, Sandy, Holladay, and Heber City. 
Silicon Slopes town hall: Tax reform
What's the future of tax reform in Utah? We know our industry is doing well, and we know our population is booming, but what's the right way to tackle tax reform to ensure our economy continues to boom? Come to this Silicon Slopes Town Hall event to hear from Lt. Governor Spencer Cox and other experts and leaders on this important issue.It will be held Aug. 13, 10 a.m., at Silicon Slopes offices, 2600 W. Executive Parkway, Lehi. Register here.
Casual Friday: Weekend Events & Outdoors Report
Outdoors Report-- Salt Lake Tribune: Antelope Island is alive with spiders - until September-- KSL.com: Why there were fewer pelicans for DWR biologists to band this year-- KSL.com: Yuba Lake under health advisory after potentially dangerous levels of toxic algae discovered-- KSL.com: Iconic boulders near Salt Lake City every climber should try
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.

More National Headlines

Wise Words


"We must free ourselves of the hope that the sea will ever rest. We must learn to sail in high winds." Aristotle Onassis

Lighter Side

Living on a Prayer

"We just learned that Jon Bon Jovi will host a Cory Booker fund-raiser at his Hamptons home. Makes sense, makes sense. After all, Booker's campaign is living on a prayer. And Booker really needs that fund-raiser because since he is polling below 2 percent, he's not even halfway there." - STEPHEN COLBERT

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