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Briefing Local

  • Budgets, Alabama, Count My Vote, a tax overhaul and Utah lawmakers are heading toward the exit. Bob Bernick and Bryan Schott chew over the last week in Utah politics [Utah Policy]. Here's a podcast if that's what you prefer [Utah Policy].

  • Sen. Brian Shiozawa's exit has Republicans and Democrats scrambling to fill the seat. There are 8 Republicans so far who are running to replace Shiozawa. Democrats, on the other hand, are trying to find someone to challenge Kathie Allen for the Democratic nomination because they worry Allen has too much baggage to win an election [Utah Policy].

  • Bob Bernick says all he wants for Christmas is Mitt Romney to run for Orrin Hatch's Senate seat [Utah Policy].

  • Sen. Mike Lee says he is still not on board with the GOP tax overhaul package. Lee wants to see a more significant expansion of the child tax credit [Deseret News].

  • Utah Republicans are fighting over a proposal to pay off the party's $400,000 debt. Several members of the State Central Committee have called a special meeting for Saturday to vote on the bailout, but chairman Rob Anderson says the meeting is not legitimate [Tribune, KUTV].

  • Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski has hired Ken Bullock to handle intergovernmental relations for the city. Bullock previously resigned from the Utah League of Cities and Towns after a state audit found he improperly charged $57,000 to a credit card which he used as loans for personal purposes. Bullock also had about $130,000 in questionable charges he could not provide receipts for [Deseret News, Tribune].

  • Utah County legislators are discussing ways to make it easier to remove county officials from office after the controversy involving Utah County Commissioner Greg Graves. Graves has been accused of improper workplace conduct but refuses to resign [Daily Herald].

  • Local Utah officials testify before a Congressional committee about a proposed new national park and three new national monuments in southern Utah [Deseret News, Tribune].

  • The Salt Lake Chamber calls on the Utah Legislature to make revamping the tax code a top priority during the 2018 session [Deseret News].

  • BYU and UVU have entered into an agreement with the Utah Transit Authority to provide free passes to university students and faculty [Daily Herald, Deseret News, Tribune].
  • Gov. Gary Herbert unveiled his $16.7 billion budget proposal for 2018. The plan includes a boost for public and higher education [Utah Policy].

  • More women than ever before are running for Congress in 2018 [Utah Policy].

  • Sen. Orrin Hatch says final passage of the GOP tax proposal will come quickly now that there's been a deal struck between the House and Senate [Tribune].

  • Utah's Democrats are energized by the unlikely win by Alabama Senate candidate Doug Jones [Deseret News].

  • Most of the legislators in Utah County are now calling on Utah County Commissioner Greg Graves to resign from office [Deseret News].

  • A state audit finds the Park City School District didn't follow procedure when they gave a contract to a North Salt Lake company. That company later violated state law by improperly awarding a subcontract to another firm [Tribune].

  • A new report says Utah women who are either homeless or at risk of becoming homeless are finding it increasingly difficult to find affordable housing or child care [Deseret News, Tribune].

  • The feds gave initial approval to the construction of the Lake Powell Pipeline. But, the same federal agency says they may not have much jurisdiction over the project, which could slow down construction [Tribune].
  • A late surge pushed Republican John Curtis's total spending past Democrat Kathie Allen in November's special Congressional election. The total expenditures from all candidates in that election were just under $2.5 million [Utah Policy].

  • Sen. Brian Shiozawa suddenly resigns from the Utah Senate after accepting a job with the Trump administration [Utah Policy].

  • Shiozawa's resignation puts SD8 in play for a possible Democratic pickup in the 2018 election [Utah Policy].

  • A Utah judge rules a plan to switch to partisan elections for state school board members violates Utah's Constitution [Tribune].

  • Advocates deliver 20,000 chocolate chips to Sen. Orrin Hatch's office to urge him to prioritize finding funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program [Deseret News].

  • UDOT Director Carlos Braceras is working to modernize transportation in Utah [Utah Policy].

  • Salt Lake City's master transit plan aims to make public transit use more widespread by 2040 [Tribune].

  • Utah's high school graduation rate increases to 86 percent [Daily Herald, Deseret News, Tribune].

  • The Salt Lake City Council is urging other cities in Utah to follow their lead and focus on building more affordable housing [Deseret News].

  • The number of payday loan stores in Utah drops after lawmakers approve changes that give people in a financial pinch more options [Associated Press].

  • Utah wins an international road safety award for dropping the legal blood alcohol level to the lowest in the nation [Deseret News].

  • The nasty inversion hanging over the Wasatch Front is expected to stick around for a couple of weeks [Deseret News].
  • POLL: Nearly 2/3 of Utahns say they support the newly revamped Count My Vote ballot initiative [Utah Policy].

  • Lawmakers will have an extra $483 million to spend next year according to new revenue numbers [Utah Policy].

  • Gov. Gary Herbert is on board with the tax overhaul plan being pushed by Congressional Republicans [Associated Press].

  • Four Utah County legislators call on embattled County Commissioner Greg Graves to resign following allegations of bullying behavior toward employees [Deseret News, Tribune].

  • Utah lawmakers may not be able to give themselves a recommended pay raise this year because of the looming 2018 election cycle [Tribune].

  • Weber County Commissioner Kerry Gibson, who frequently pushed back against the idea of human-caused climate change, is resigning to take a job with the Utah Department of Natural Resources [Tribune].

  • Environmental groups say Rep. Chris Stewart's proposal for a new national park in the former Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is a "bait-and-switch" [Deseret NewsTribune].

  • The Salt Lake City Council approves a five-year housing plan to provide more affordable housing for residents [Tribune].

  • The state is doing a better job tracking data on water use after a critical audit of the Utah Department of Natural Resources two years ago [Deseret News].
  • POLL: 51% of Utahns think the Trump campaign did not collude with Russia during the 2016 election [Utah Policy].

  • President Donald Trump's allies are ready to ramp up their attacks on Mitt Romney if he decides to run for Senate in 2018 [Utah Policy].

  • A Canadian uranium mining firm lobbied the Trump administration to reduce the size of the Bears Ears National Monument [Utah Policy].

  • Our "Political Insiders" are sharply divided along partisan lines over whether President Trump's changes to two national monuments in Utah will withstand a court challenge [Utah Policy].

  • Is Sen. Orrin Hatch really preparing to run for an eighth term in 2018? [Deseret News]

  • There have been five lawsuits (so far) filed against President Trump's decision to reduce two national monuments in Utah. Who will win those legal actions? [Washington Post]

  • President Donald Trump is not creating many fans among the Native American population with some of his decisions since he took office [Tribune].

  • The Utah County Republican Party sets January 9th for the special election to replace Rep. Dean Sanpei [Daily Herald].

  • The calls for embattled Utah County Commissioner Greg Graves to resign are growing louder [Deseret News].

  • Black Lives Matter is working to open a chapter in Utah County [Daily Herald].