Morning Must Reads for Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Good Wednesday and happy Utah Statehood Day from Salt Lake City. Today is the 4th day of the year. There are 361 days remaining in 2017.

Utahns would like to see Sen. Mike Lee appointed to the Supreme Court. Utah’s members of Congress vote to gut an ethics office, but Republicans back off the plan. Senate Democrats vow to keep the heat on Donald Trump. 

The clock:

  • 16 days until Donald Trump is inaugurated as the 45th President (1/20/2017)
  • 22 days until the first day of the 2017 Utah Legislature (1/23/2017)
  • 64 days until the final day of the 2017 Utah Legislature (3/9/2017)
  • 307 days until the 2017 municipal elections (11/7/2017)
  • 671 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)

Ten talking points for Wednesday:

  1. Lee Appointment? Most Utahns would like to see Sen. Mike Lee appointed to the Supreme Court by Donald Trump [Utah Policy].
  2. First-day debacle for Congress. All four of Utah’s members of Congress voted in favor of a plan to eviscerate the Office of Congressional Ethics [Utah Policy]. After a public outcry, plus a critical tweet from Donald Trump, Congressional Republicans backtracked on the plan [Politico].
  3. Land transfer news. Rep. Rob Bishop pushed through a rule change that would make it easier for the federal government to transfer control of public lands to the states [Utah Policy].
  4. Bears Ears opinions. Mike Weinholtz says President Obama did the right thing by creating the Bears Ears monument [Utah Policy]. LaVarr Webb argues Rep. Rob Bishop’s PLI proposal is the best mechanism for overturning the monument designation [Utah Policy].
  5. Inaugural news. The Utah GOP has tickets to the inauguration if you want them [Utah Policy]. Both Bill and Hillary Clinton say they will attend the inauguration out of respect and duty for the American democratic process [New York Magazine].
  6. Repeal and…? Republicans are ready to make their dreams come true and repeal Obamacare, but some Republicans in Congress are nervous because there’s no plan to replace what they are getting rid of [CNN]. President Obama plans to meet with Congressional Democrats to plot a strategy to save the healthcare law [Wall Street Journal].
  7. Get your popcorn! New Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is already staking out how he will oppose Senate Republicans and Donald Trump. Schumer says Democrats will fight Trump’s Supreme Court nominees “tooth and nail” [Politico]. Schumer also warns Trump that conducting his presidency through Twitter will fail if he leaves the bigger policy discussions to right-wing hardliners in Congress [Wall Street Journal]. Meanwhile, Congressional Republicans are planning to crush any Democratic opposition to Trump’s cabinet picks [Politico].
  8. Heck of a goodbye gift. Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson gets a $180 million retirement package as he leaves the company to become Secretary of State under Donald Trump [Wall Street Journal].
  9. Shelter backlash. About 100 Salt Lake City residents show up to voice their displeasure about the selection of four proposed new homeless shelter sites [Tribune].
  10. Who’s not paying their taxes? Turns out many developers aren’t paying their property taxes, instead using their delinquency as an inexpensive short-term loan [Tribune].

On this day in history:

  • 1893 – President Benjamin Harrison granted amnesty to all people who had abstained from practicing polygamy since Nov. 1, 1890. It was part of a deal for Utah to achieve statehood.
  • 1896 – Utah was admitted to the United States as the 45th state.
  • 1965 – The “Great Society” is proclaimed by President Lyndon B. Johnson during his State of the Union address.
  • 1974 – President Richard Nixon refused to hand over tape recordings and documents subpoenaed by the Senate Watergate Committee.