Morning must reads for Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Good Tuesday morning from Salt Lake City. Today is the 59th day of the year. There are 306 days remaining in 2017.

Alcohol reform could face a rocky road in the Utah Legislature. Jon Huntsman could become the #2 guy at the State Department. Audio of the phone call that led to the Outdoor Retailers leaving Utah leaks.

The clock:

  • 9 days until the final day of the 2017 Utah Legislature (3/9/2017)
  • 109 days until the Utah Democratic State Convention (6/17/2017)
  • 252 days until the 2017 municipal elections (11/7/2017)
  • 328 days until the opening day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (1/22/2018)
  • 373 days until the final day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (3/8/2018)
  • 617 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 1344 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

Today’s political TL:DR –

  • Lawmakers unveil a sweeping alcohol reform bill, but they’re still looking for a compromise on removing the “Zion Curtain” [Utah Policy, Deseret News, Tribune].
  • Two major election reform proposals meet their demise without a public hearing on Utah’s Capitol Hill [Utah Policy].
  • Rep. Ken Ivory is coming under fire because he’s a paid staffer for a group that wants states to call a Constitutional Convention [Utah Policy].
  • A proposal to increase the cost of a driver’s license looks like it’s on life support in the Legislature [Utah Policy].
  • Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman is reportedly negotiating to take the #2 position at the State Department [Utah Policy]. 
  • An audio recording of a phone call between Gov. Gary Herbert and execs with the Outdoor Retailers Association shows Herbert tried to keep the group from leaving Utah but balked when they delivered an ultimatum demanding that he show greater support for public lands [Tribune, Deseret News].
  • A bill to cap how much money can be allocated to higher ed stalls in a Senate committee [Tribune].
  • The Senate approves a bill to allow lawsuits against pornographers whose products harm minors [Deseret News].
  • President Donald Trump will deliver a primetime address to Congress tonight where he’s expected to lay out his legislative agenda [Bloomberg]. White House insiders say the speech will lay out an “optimistic vision” and a “bold agenda” for the country [Politico].
  • President Donald Trump tells the nation’s governors that he was not aware how complex health care policy, saying “nobody knew it could be so complicated” [New York Times].
  • Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, the new national security adviser, advised President Donald Trump to stop using the term “radical Islamic terrorism” in public [Politico].
  • President Trump’s budget proposal is set to boost military spending by $20 billion [Wall Street Journal]. The spending blueprint also calls for big cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget [Politico].
  • President Donald Trump reportedly signed off on Sean Spicer’s decision to check the cell phones of his staffers in an effort to find the source of leaks in the White House [CNN].

On this day in history:

  • 1854 – About 50 slavery opponents met in Ripon, Wis., to call for creation of a new political group that became the Republican Party.
  • 1953 – Scientists James D. Watson and Francis H.C. Crick announced they had discovered the double-helix structure of DNA, the molecule that contains the human genes, at Cambridge University.
  • 1993 – A gun battle erupted at the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas, when Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents tried to serve warrants; four agents and six Davidians were killed and a 51-day standoff began.