Morning must reads for Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Good Tuesday morning from Salt Lake City. Today is the 31st day of the year. There are 334 days remaining in 2017.

Lawmakers look to free up extra money in the budget. Speaker Greg Hughes targets the rules for high school athletes who transfer schools. House Republicans break their own rules to advance resolutions on the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments.

The clock:

  • 28 days until President Trump addresses a joint session of Congress (2/28/2017)
  • 37 days until the final day of the 2017 Utah Legislature (3/9/2017)
  • 280 days until the 2017 municipal elections (11/7/2017)
  • 645 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 1372 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

Ten talking points for Tuesday:

  1. Budget shifting. Legislative leaders say they should be able to free up $30 million in the base budget to shift toward other needs [Utah Policy].
  2. Varsity blues. House Speaker Greg Hughes is set to take on the transfer rules for high school athletes, saying the current process needs to be more transparent [Utah Policy].
  3. I call “shenanigans.” House Republicans broke the rules by not holding a committee hearing for resolutions asking President Trump to take action on Bears Ears and reducing the Grand Staircase-Escalante Mounment. That didn’t stop them from pushing ahead and bringing the proposals to the floor [Utah Policy, Tribune, Deseret News].
  4. Election bill. Rep. Patrice Arent says the state and county governments should run, and pay for, presidential primary elections, not the individual political parties [Utah Policy].
  5. Popularity contest. Utahns don’t have much of a favorable opinion of Congress, barely giving Republicans in Washington a favorable rating, which is not great for a majority Republican state [Utah Policy].
  6. Federalism follies. LaVarr Webb wonders if the new Trump administration will be able to strike a balance between federal and state powers [Utah Policy].
  7. You’re fired! President Donald Trump fires acting Attorney General Sally Yates for ordering Justice Department lawyers not to defend his immigration ban [Washington Post]. Yates says Trump’s repeated comments about barring Muslims from entering the country led her to believe the executive order was based on religion, which is unconstitutional [New York Times]. Several Congressional staffers helped draft Trump’s immigration order without telling Republican leadership what they were doing [Politico]. Senior White House aides say they are just getting started with the changes President Trump is preparing to implement [Los Angeles Times].
  8. Supreme battle. President Donald Trump is set to announce his pick for the Supreme Court on Tuesday evening [Wall Street Journal]. Trump is reportedly down to two possible candidates who have deeply contrasting backgrounds [Politico]. No matter who it is, Senate Democrats say they will filibuster Trump’s nominee. That’s only happened one other time in modern history [Politico].
  9. Equal opposite reaction. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper says Utah’s efforts to take control of public lands within the state should prompt the Outdoor Retailers Show to move to Denver [Denver Post].
  10. Preparing for change. The Boy Scouts says they will allow transgender children who identify as boys to join the organization. The new policy takes effect immediately [Wall Street Journal].

On this day in history:

  • 1606 – Guy Fawkes, convicted for his part in the Gunpowder Plot against the English Parliament and King James I, was executed.
  • 1945 – Army Pvt. Eddie Slovik, 24, was executed by firing squad for desertion. His was the first U.S. execution for desertion since the Civil War.
  • 1990 – Moscow’s first McDonald’s restaurant opened.