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Good Thursday morning from Salt Lake City. Today is the 313th day of the year. There are 52 days remaining in 2017.

The clock:

  • 74 days until the opening day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (1/22/2018)
  • 119 days until the final day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (3/8/2018)
  • 362 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 1,090 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

Today's political TL; DR -

  • SCOOP #1: The organizers of Count My Vote have changed their ballot initiative to include the current dual-track system for candidates to get on the ballot. That means they're no longer trying to eliminate the caucus/convention system in Utah [Utah Policy].
  • SCOOP #2: Legislative leaders say they've reached an agreement with Gov. Gary Herbert to release a legal opinion from Attorney General Sean Reyesabout the process Herbert set up for the 3rd Congressional District special election. Previously, Herbert had blocked the release of that opinion [Utah Policy].
  • John Curtis says he will be sworn in as Utah's newest member of Congress on Monday [Deseret NewsTribune].
  • Sore loser? Democrat Kathie Allen has apologized for a tweet she posted on election night ripping Utah County voters for only caring about Mormons and Republicans. She has since deleted the tweet and apologized [Utah Policy].
  • Gov. Gary Herbert taps Ron Gordon as his new special counsel [Utah Policy].
  • Newly elected Representative John Curtis names Corey Norman as his chief of staff. Curtis is also seeking applicants to fill other positions in his office [Utah Policy].
  • Sen. Lincoln Fillmore is proposing legislation that will equalize school funding levels across the state [Deseret News].
  • Utah lawmakers propose extra pay for special ed teachers in Utah public schools [Deseret News].
  • Federal law enforcement officials pick Utah to take part in a program designed to fight painkiller addiction and abuse [Deseret NewsTribune].
  • Some parts of Utah got no precipitation last month [Tribune].

National headlines:

  • The GOP is worried that Tuesday's election losses may portend bigger problems for them in 2018 [Washington Post].
  • Republicans in Congress say the drubbing they took at the polls on Tuesday night puts extra pressure on them to pass tax reform [Politico].
  • Senate Republicans will unveil their tax reform proposal on Thursday. Their plan would eliminate the ability to deduct state and local taxes, but will not completely get rid of the estate tax [New York Times].
  • Former national security adviser Michael Flynn is reportedly worried his son, Michael Flynn Jr., could be legally vulnerable in the investigation into how Russia interfered in the 2016 election [CNN].
  • President Trump said Thursday he's confident China can help defuse the growing crisis with North Korea [New York Times].
  • Lawmakers are alarmed that President Donald Trump's Justice Department is allegedly intervening in the proposed merger between AT&T and Time Warner. Sources say the DOJ is demanding that the two companies sell off Turner Broadcasting, including CNN, or the deal will not go through [Politico].
  • What the heck is going on with the Rand Paul assault story? His neighbors are saying the attack on Paul by a neighbor was not motivated by a landscaping dispute, but rather it was political [Washington ExaminerBreitbart].
  • An employee of an anti-hunger nonprofit founded by members of the House embezzled more than $1 million, then disappeared [Politico].
  • Video captured the attack on a Texas church where a gunman methodically slaughtered 26 people on Sunday [New York Times].
  • Experts say this year's flu vaccine may not protect everyone from the bug, but you should get one anyway [CNN].

On this day in history:

  • 1620 - Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower sight land at Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
  • 1872 - A fire which began in the basement of a warehouse in downtown Boston raged for 12 hours, consuming 65 acres and destroying 776 buildings. At least 30 people were killed.
  • 1906 - President Theodore Roosevelt is the first sitting president to make an official trip outside the United States to inspect progress on the Panama Canal.
  • 1938 - Mobs of Germans attacked Jewish businesses and homes throughout Germany in what became known as Kristallnacht, or Crystal Night.
  • 1979 - NORAD computers detected a purported massive Soviet nuclear strike. After reviewing the raw data from satellites and early-warning radars, the alert was canceled.
  • 1989 - East Germany opens checkpoints in the Berlin Wall, allowing its citizens to travel to West Berlin.