Morning Must Reads for Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Good Tuesday morning from Salt Lake City. Today is the 17th day of the year. There are 348 days remaining in 2017.

Utahns want lawmakers to focus on improving education. Greg Hughes says the 2017 Legislature could be “crazy.” Donald Trump will enter the White House with the lowest approval ratings in recent history.

The clock:

  • 3 days until Donald Trump is inaugurated as the 45th President (1/20/2017)
  • 6 days until the first day of the 2017 Utah Legislature (1/23/2017)
  • 51 days until the final day of the 2017 Utah Legislature (3/9/2017)
  • 294 days until the 2017 municipal elections (11/7/2017)
  • 658 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 1386 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

Ten talking points for Tuesday:

  1. Priorities on the Hill. Utahns say improving education is their top priority for lawmakers during the 2017 Legislature according to our latest poll [Utah Policy].
  2. Legislative fights looming. House Speaker Greg Hughes says the 2017 session could be a “crazy” one, with battles over school funding, infrastructure, and taxes on the docket [Utah Policy]. Here’s the video of our whole interview with Hughes [Utah Policy].
  3. Out of practice. There’s a pretty good reason Utah law is very vague on what happens if there’s a vacancy in Congress. Utah hasn’t held a special election for the U.S. House since 1930 [Utah Policy].
  4. Rubber meets the road. Our “Political Insiders” aren’t sure whether Congress will be able to “repeal and replace” Obamacare [Utah Policy].
  5. Not a good start. Donald Trump will enter the White House as the least popular president in recent history. Two polls show Trump will take the oath of office with just a 40% approval rating. By contrast, Barak Obama had an 84% approval when he was sworn in in 2009 and 61% approved of George W. Bush when he was inaugurated in 2001 [CNN, Washington Post].
  6. Tax fight. Donald Trump is warning House Republicans about an essential part of their corporate-tax plan, called “border adjustment.” The plan would tax imports while exempting exports to encourage companies to locate in America [Wall Street Journal].
  7. Confirmation hearings. Ryan Zinke, Donald Trump‘s nominee for Interior Secretary, will be grilled by a Senate panel on Tuesday. Of interest to Utah: Zinke is an ardent opponent of selling or transferring control of federal lands [Associated Press].
  8. Obamacare pushback. Thousands of people who benefit from the Affordable Care Act are turning up the heat on Congress to stop the repeal of the health care law [New York Times].
  9. Don’t expect Trump investigations. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, already under fire for threatening to investigate the head of the Office of Government Ethics for his criticism of Donald Trump, says he has no plans to launch a “fishing expedition” into the president-elect’s business dealings [Tribune].
  10. Jaw dropper. Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski says she was unaware of the $7 million price tag the city paid for the Sugar House site for a new homeless shelter [Deseret News]. 

On this day in history:

  • 1605 – Don Quixote was published.
  • 1946 – The U.N. Security Council met for the first time.
  • 1961 – In his farewell address, President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned against “the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.”
  • 1977 – Convicted killer Gary Gilmore was executed by firing squad in Utah. It was the first execution since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty the previous year.
  • 1988 – President Bill Clinton became the first U.S. president to testify as a defendant in a criminal or civil suit when he answered questions from lawyers for Paula Jones, who had accused Clinton of sexual harassment.