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Situational awareness - September 9, 2019

Good Monday 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:

  • Most Utahns say they're better off than they were four years ago, but there's a huge difference in opinion between men and women according to our new poll.
  • Legislators say they did not consult with the LDS Church before moving forward with proposed changes to the state's medical cannabis law.
  • President Trump says he canceled secret peace talks with the Taliban just days before the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Trivia time

Quite a few readers knew that John Neely Johnson, who served as governor of California from 1856 to 1858, is buried at Fort Douglas. Johnson also was appointed to the Nevada Supreme Court in 1867. He died in Salt Lake City in 1872. 

The first three subscribers who sent in the correct answer were:

  • Peggy Burdett
  • Orrin Colby
  • Mike Mower

If you have a Utah political trivia question you'd like to submit to our readers, send it my way via email at bschott@utahpolicy.com. In return, I'll send you one of our UtahPolicy.com laptop stickers!


Days to the 2019 Utah municipal elections: 57 (11/5/2019)

Days to the first day of the 2020 Utah Legislature: 140 (1/27/2020)

Days to the Utah presidential primaries: 180 (3/3/2020)

Days to the 2020 Utah primary elections: 289 (6/23/2020)

Days to the 2020 election: 421 (11/3/2020)

move utah summit

Today At Utah Policy

images/1000px_Article_Photos/Personal_economy.jpgMost Utahns say they are better off today than they were four years ago, but there's a huge difference in opinion between men and women
By Bob Bernick, Contributing Editor
Just over half of all Utahns say they are better off today than they were four years ago, a new UtahPolicy.com/Y2 Analytics poll shows.
images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_27.jpgLawmakers did not consult the LDS Church on proposed medical cannabis changes
By Bob Bernick, Contributing Editor
UtahPolicy.com has confirmed that proposed changes to the new state medical marijuana law -- to be decided in a special legislative session -- have not been approved by leaders of the LDS Church.
images/1000px_Logos/Bernick_and_Schott_Logo_1000.jpgAlabama Sharpie elegy - Bernick and Schott on politics
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
There's a special session slated for later this month for lawmakers to tweak the state's medical cannabis laws and make changes to the 2020 caucus and convention schedule.
images/1000px_Mugs/John_Swallow_02.jpgLawmakers will be asked to sign off on $1.5 million legal settlement with former Attorney General John Swallow
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
The long legal saga of former Attorney General John Swallow may be finally coming to an end as lawmakers will be asked to approve a settlement to pay Swallow's legal fees during the special legislative session later this month.
images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_03.jpgLawmakers say school districts should boost property taxes, cut school construction costs to fix education funding problems
By Bob Bernick, Contributing Editor
Local school districts, and to some extent their patrons, took a bit of a beating in Thursday's Tax Reform Task Force meeting.
images/1000px_Article_Photos/Rice_Eccles_Stadium.jpgWhat college and pro football teams do Utahns follow? Our new poll says the University of Utah and the Denver Broncos are tops in the Beehive State
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
The University of Utah is the most popular college football team in the Beehive State, while the Denver Broncos, New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers are among the favorite pro teams in Utah according to our new poll.
images/1000px_Logos/2020_election_01.jpgUtah's 2020 candidate nominating schedule may be changing
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
 One of the items on the agenda in this month's special session is a slight change to Utah's 2020 election schedule that will allow the state's political parties more time to hold their nominating conventions.
images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_20.jpgHerbert calls special session to make changes to medical cannabis law
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Gov. Gary Herbert called a special for Monday, September 16 for lawmakers to consider changes to Utah's medical cannabis law.
images/1000px_Mugs/Heidi_Matthews_01.jpgGuest opinion: Takeaways from Utah's tax town hall meetings
By Heidi Matthews, UEA President
With the "listening phase" over and the "study phase" underway, I would like to share a teacher's perspective on what I've seen so far from the Utah Tax Restructuring and Equalization Task Force.
images/1000px_Article_Photos/20190905_GOED.jpgIndustry leaders to share insights at the 2019 Utah Outdoor Recreation Summit
By GOED team
The Utah Outdoor Recreation Summit will be held Oct. 22 to 24, 2019, at the Dixie Center in St. George, Utah. This three-day event in Washington County - the fastest growing county in the U.S. - provides opportunities for attendees to engage with local stakeholders, industry professionals and land managers who play vital roles in Utah's outdoor recreation community.
images/Resized_Logos/Utah_Foundation_Logo_01.jpgReport: Greater dependence on water rates can drive conservation
By Utah Foundation
Utah Foundation releases Drop by Drop: Water Costs and Conservation in Utah. In this second installment of Utah Foundation's new Paying for Water Series, the property tax versus water rate debate is examined from the standpoint of conservation.
images/1000px_Article_Photos/Abortion_Protest_01.jpgMajority of Utahns oppose overturning Roe v. Wade
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Abortion and reproductive rights is a newly ignited flashpoint during the Trump presidency. President Donald Trump has already appointed two conservative justices to the Supreme Court, and the fate of Roe v. Wade seemingly hinges on the health of 86-year-old Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. If Trump gets to pick her replacement, pro-choice groups fear the 1973 landmark decision could be overturned.

move utah summit


Deseret News

Salt Lake Tribune



Canceled Taliban talks

President Donald Trump canceled secret peace talks with the Taliban at Camp David after the group took credit for an attack that killed a dozen people, including an American soldier [CNN].

Here's how Trump's secret meeting with the Taliban came together and subsequently fell apart [NYT].


The House Judiciary Committee will vote this week to formalize procedures for their impeachment inquiry into President Trump [NYT].

Democrats say they plan to broaden their impeachment inquiry into President Trump beyond the findings of the Russia investigation [NYT].


Air National Guard crews apparently went far out of their way to stay at President Trump's Scotland golf resort during a routine trip to deliver supplies from the U.S. to Kuwait. The House Oversight Committee has been investigating why the crew made the unusual stopover, but the Pentagon has not yet answered [Politico].

The Air Force says they will review their procedures to decide where crews will stay on overnight layovers [NYT].

The Air Force says their crews have stayed at or near Trump's Scottish golf resort 659 times since 2015 [The Week].


A new nationwide poll shows 89% of Americans support requiring background checks for all gun buyers, and 86% say they favor so-called "red flag" laws allowing the seizure of guns from people a judge finds dangerous [WaPo].

Congressional Democrats will continue to push President Trump to support House-passed gun control legislation [NYT].

A bipartisan group of mayors will meet with White House officials on Monday to demand action on gun legislation [Axios].

Back to work

Congress returns to Washington following a six-week break [AP].

A Trump dynasty?

President Trump's campaign manager said Saturday he envisioned a Trump political dynasty that would outlast his time in office. That could include future political runs from his children [NYT].

McKay Coppins has a must-read look into the fight among Trump's children to succeed their father [Atlantic].

Trump gets another challenger

Former South Carolina governor and U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford launched a 2020 primary challenge against President Trump for the GOP nomination [NYT].

Republicans in South Carolina, Nevada and Kansas have canceled their presidential nominating contests next year, saying all of their delegates will be pledged to Donald Trump at the 2020 Republican National Convention [CBS News].


President Trump's re-election campaign plans to launch a smartphone app this fall for his supporters [Politico].

Democrats are reportedly amassing a huge trove of opposition research against Presiden Trump that includes information from nearly 7,000 lawsuits against Trump and his business in all 50 states. The research cache also includes a list of every time Trump told supporters Mexico would pay for his border wall [Axios].

For your radar

Republicans are scrambling to hang on to a GOP-leaning congressional seat in North Carolina. The Republican and Democratic candidates are running neck and neck ahead of Tuesday's special election [The Hill].


President Trump's border crackdown appears to be getting results. The number of arrests at the U.S.-Mexico border fell to 51,000 in August, which is down 60% from the peak level in May [Politico].


Warning sign? High debt levels are starting to take a toll on economies around the world [WSJ].

Manufacturers are cutting back on spending as the trade war with China shows no signs of ending anytime soon [WSJ].


Policy News

images/1000px_Logos/WTC_Utah_Logo.pngJoin WTC Utah for a business luncheon with Belgium
World Trade Center Utah, in partnership with the Governor's Office of Economic Development and the Salt Lake Chamber, is delighted to host a diplomatic luncheon welcoming His Excellency Dirk Wouters, Ambassador from the Kingdom of Belgium to the United States.
images/1000px_Logos/CYBER_24_Logo.jpgCYBER24 podcast: Ransomware breakout in Texas
As the federal and state governments have worked to enhance their cybersecurity infrastructure, cybercriminals have now seemingly set their sights on a new and, evidently, far more vulnerable target: cities and towns. 
Treasurer Damschen, local officials work to reunite $2 million in lost property with Carbon County residents
After watching a story about Utah's Unclaimed Property Division on the local news, Helper resident Trinnaty Barnes' stepmom visited mycash.utah.gov. She discovered that the State was safeguarding a significant sum of money for her stepdaughter.
Casual Friday: Weekend Events & Outdoors Report
Outdoors Report-- KSL.com: Indian Creek rock climbing routes reopen after 6-month closure for nesting raptors-- KSL.com: 44 citations issued during Labor Day weekend due to quagga mussels in Lake Powell
Space Dynamics Lab delivers small satellite in preparation for launch to ISS
Utah State University's Space Dynamics Laboratory announced that it has delivered a small satellite designed for NASA to measure the microphysical properties of cloud water and ice particles.
Salt Lake City recognizes owners of energy-efficient buildings as new City ordinance begins roll-out
Salt Lake City honored buildings with high energy performance at the annual Elevate Buildings Awards.

More National Headlines


1776 - The second Continental Congress officially changed the new American nation's name from "United Colonies" to "United States."

1791 - Washington, D.C. is named after President George Washington.

1850 - California is admitted as the thirty-first state.

1956 - Elvis Presley appeared on national television for the first time - on "The Ed Sullivan Show."

1957 - President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed into law the first civil rights bill to pass Congress since Reconstruction.

1965 - The Department of Housing and Urban Development is established.

1971 - More than 1,000 convicts took over the state prison at Attica, N.Y. and held hostages. The riot lasted 4 days and resulted in 39 deaths.


Wise Words


"Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything." Plato

Lighter Side


"When you think of it, Donald Trump is the hurricane. Except, unlike regular hurricanes that eventually die down, every day Trump blows harder." Seth Meyers

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