Morning must reads for Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Good Tuesday morning from Salt Lake City. Today is the 66th day of the year. There are 299 days remaining in 2017.

Lawmakers are spending big on homeless aid. Plan to restore sales tax on food collapses. Congressional Republicans unveil their Obamacare replacement.

The clock:

  • 2 days until the final day of the 2017 Utah Legislature (3/9/2017)
  • 74 days until the Utah Republican State Convention (5/20/2017)
  • 102 days until the Utah Democratic State Convention at Weber State University (6/17/2017)
  • 245 days until the 2017 municipal elections (11/7/2017)
  • 321 days until the opening day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (1/22/2018)
  • 366 days until the final day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (3/8/2018)
  • 610 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 1337 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

Today’s political TL;DR –

  • SCOOP! Lawmakers will spend $35 million on programs to help the homeless this year, which is 3x more than what they originally thought [Utah Policy].
  • Legislators abandon the plan to restore the sales tax on food after the numbers had shown it would not have the effect they thought it would [Utah Policy, Tribune, Deseret News].
  • The plan for $1 billion in bonds to fund transportation needs has a few extra projects tucked inside [Utah Policy].
  • A Senate committee kills a bill to use Ranked Choice Voting in primary elections in Utah. The proposal was another casualty in the fight between lawmakers and the Utah GOP over SB54 [Utah Policy].
  • Lawmakers consider, then reject a resolution that said Utah should recognize climate change is occurring [Utah Policy]. 
  • Rep. Jason Chaffetz says he hasn’t seen any evidence that would support President Donald Trump’s claim that he was wiretapped by the Obama administration [Utah Policy]. Rep. Chris Stewart says he thinks there must be some basis for Trump to make such an explosive allegation [Deseret News]. Other Republicans are having a hard time coming to the president’s defense over his wiretapping claims [Politico].
  • An analysis shows about a quarter of proposed bills on Utah’s Capitol Hill pose a conflict of interest for their sponsors [Tribune].
  • Lawmakers quickly pass legislation to provide another $100 million for construction of the new prison [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • The Utah Air Quality Board wants Gov. Gary Herbert to veto legislation to bar the state from regulating the use of wood burning to cook food [Tribune].
  • Congressional Republicans unveil their plan to replace Obamacare with something that looks a lot like Obamacare [New York Times].
  • President Trump signs a new, scaled-down version of his travel ban that the White House hopes will survive legal scrutiny this time around [Wall Street Journal].
  • Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson inexplicably described African slaves as “immigrants” during a speech on Monday. The comparison brought a swift backlash [New York Times].

On this day in history:

  • 1936 – Adolf Hitler ordered German troops into the Rhineland, breaking the Treaty of Versailles and the Locarno Pact.
  • 1965 – Hundreds of civil rights marchers trying to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., were turned back by state troopers and sheriff’s deputies. Dozens of people were beaten and injured in what became known as “Bloody Sunday.” Marchers voluntarily turned around on a ceremonial walk to the bridge two days later and, on March 21, with protection by federal and National Guard troops, the main Selma-to-Montgomery march began.
  • 1975 – The Senate revised its filibuster rule, allowing 60 senators to limit debate in most cases, instead of the previously required two-thirds of senators present.
  • 1985 – “We Are the World,” a song composed by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie and recorded by a series of high-profile music stars was released worldwide with the goal of generating funds for the USA for Africa charity. The song and related promotions eventually raised about $63 million.