Morning must reads for Thursday, March 9, 2017

Good Thursday morning from Salt Lake City. Today is the 68th day of the year. There are 297 days remaining in 2017.

Lawmakers are sprinting to the finish of the 2017 Legislature. Huntsman accepts the job as ambassador to Russia. Utah drops the DUI level to the lowest in the United States.

The clock:

  • Today is the final day of the 2017 Utah Legislature (3/9/2017)
  • 20 days until the last day Governor Gary Herbert can sign or veto bills (3/29/2017)
  • 72 days until the Utah Republican State Convention (5/20/2017)
  • 100 days until the Utah Democratic State Convention at Weber State University (6/17/2017)
  • 243 days until the 2017 municipal elections (11/7/2017)
  • 319 days until the opening day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (1/22/2018)
  • 364 days until the final day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (3/8/2018)
  • 608 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 1335 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

Today’s political TL;DR –

  • It’s the final day of the 2017 Utah Legislature. House Speaker Greg Hughes and Senate President Wayne Niederhauser reflect on the highs and lows of the past 45 days [Utah Policy].
  • Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman has accepted the job as U.S. ambassador to Russia [Utah Policy, Deseret News, Tribune].
  • Lawmakers are still fighting over a measure that would force signature-gathering candidates to file for office in early January, while candidates who use the caucus/convention route won’t have to file for election in March [Utah Policy].
  • The Senate torpedoed a proposal to spend $350,000 so that legislators would take a class on Federalism every two years [Utah Policy, Tribune, Deseret News].
  • When you spend as much time on Utah’s Capitol Hill as we do, sometimes lawmakers start looking alike. Can you tell these Legislative doppelgangers on the Hill apart? [Utah Policy].
  • Rep. Jason Chaffetz is getting pilloried over his suggestion that Americans should spend on health care instead of buying a new iPhone. A perusal of Chaffetz’s campaign disclosures shows his campaign spent nearly $800 at the Apple store last year, which is enough to buy a new iPhone 6S [Utah Policy].
  • Utah lawmakers approve dropping the state’s DUI threshold to .05, which is the lowest in the nation [Deseret News].
  • The Senate gives final approval to a massive liquor reform bill that will allow some restaurants to replace the “Zion Curtain” with other ways to keep children away from alcohol [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • Lawmakers give the thumbs up to a bill that would eliminate mandatory vehicle inspections [Tribune, Deseret News].
  • The Legislature dangles $1 million in front of organizers of the Outdoor Retailers Show to get them to go back on their decision to leave Salt Lake City [Deseret News].
  • Republicans are on their heels as opposition to the GOP-backed replacement for Obamacare is growing [New York Times]. Administration officials are vehement that they don’t want people calling the health care replacement “Trumpcare” [Politico].
  • President Donald Trump is starting to map out his $1 trillion in infrastructure spending [Wall Street Journal].

On this day in history:

  • 1862 – The ironclad ships Monitor and Virginia (formerly Merrimac) clashed for five hours to a draw at Hampton Roads, Va., during the Civil War.
  • 1933 – Congress, called into special session by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, began its 100 days of enacting New Deal legislation.