Morning must reads for Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Good Wednesday morning from Salt Lake City. Today is the 67th day of the year. There are 298 days remaining in 2017.

Lawmakers finish up spending bills for 2017. Herbert defends extra funding for the new prison. The CIA can allegedly hack phones and smart TV’s.

The clock:

  • Tomorrow is the final day of the 2017 Utah Legislature (3/9/2017)
  • 21 days until the last day Governor Gary Herbert can sign or veto bills (3/29/2017)
  • 73 days until the Utah Republican State Convention (5/20/2017)
  • 101 days until the Utah Democratic State Convention at Weber State University (6/17/2017)
  • 244 days until the 2017 municipal elections (11/7/2017)
  • 320 days until the opening day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (1/22/2018)
  • 365 days until the final day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (3/8/2018)
  • 609 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 1336 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

Today’s political TL;DR –

  • Lawmakers say they expect to have around $12-15 million to spend on the remaining appropriations bills [Utah Policy].
  • A provision in the education appropriations bill would tie the funding for online education programs used by private and homeschool children to the main unit of classroom funding. The Utah Education Association is concerned about the shift [Utah Policy].
  • Gov. Gary Herbert defends a quickly passed bill to provide $100 million more for the new prison [Utah Policy]. Lawmakers say the extra money for the prison has always been expected [Deseret News].
  • Lawmakers approved bonding for nearly $300 million in building projects [Utah Policy].
  • Legislators may revive a plan to tax counties across the state to help fund homeless shelters in Salt Lake County [Utah Policy].
  • Rep. Jason Chaffetz sparks outrage when he suggested during an interview that Americans may have to choose between paying for healthcare or buying a new iPhone [Utah Policy, Deseret News, Tribune].
  • Legislators approve the budgets for next fiscal year, including a substantial bump for public education [TribuneDeseret News].
  • A last-minute bill to shape development around the new prison has Salt Lake City lawmakers upset [Deseret News].
  • Gov. Gary Herbert says the efforts to implement tax reform, which died during the 2017 session, could take two years to complete [Associated Press, Tribune].
  • Sen. Howard Stephenson is at the center of some controversy after a group of elementary school students witnessed him in an angry discussion with Alpine School District officials [Wall Street Journal].
  • Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman makes the rounds in Washington, D.C., but refuses to say whether he plans to challenge Sen. Orrin Hatch in 2018 [Tribune].
  • Sens. Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee are at odds over the Republican alternative to Obamacare. Hatch is in favor while Lee called the bill a “step in the wrong direction” [Deseret News, Wall Street Journal].
  • President Donald Trump met with the Russian ambassador in April of last year despite claiming he had no such contact during the campaign [Wall Street Journal].
  • Here we go again. Hawaii officials say they will file a lawsuit against President Trump’s revised travel ban [Wall Street Journal].
  • Wikileaks publishes a trove of alleged CIA documents that detail their efforts to hack into mobile phones and smart televisions [New York Times].

On this day in history:

  • 1817 – The New York Stock Exchange was established.
  • 1913 – The Internal Revenue Service began to levy and collect income taxes in the United States.
  • 1917 – Strikes and riots in St. Petersburg marked the start of the Russian Bolshevik revolution.
  • 1983 – President Ronald Reagan referred to the Soviet Union as an “evil empire” during a speech to the National Association of Evangelicals convention in Orlando, Fla.
  • 2008 – President George W. Bush vetoed a bill that would have banned the CIA from using simulated drowning and other coercive interrogation methods on suspected terrorists.