Morning must reads for Friday, April 14, 2017

Good Friday morning from Salt Lake City. Today is the 104th day of the year. There are 261 days remaining in 2017.

Another effort to kill the caucus/convention system is afoot. New anti-SB54 organization forms. British intelligence agencies say they have evidence of Trump campaign staffers meeting with Russians in 2015.

The clock:

  • 36 days until the Utah Republican State Convention (5/20/2017)
  • 64 days until the Utah Democratic State Convention at Weber State University (6/17/2017)
  • 207 days until the 2017 municipal elections (11/7/2017)
  • 283 days until the opening day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (1/22/2018)
  • 328 days until the final day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (3/8/2018)
  • 571 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 1,299 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

Today’s political TL; DR – 

  • There may be another effort in 2018 to get a citizen initiative on the ballot to get rid of the caucus/convention system for nominating candidates. This new initiative would work in conjunction with the proposal to hike income taxes to better fund Utah’s public schools [Utah Policy].
  • A new group is forming to continue the fight against the SB54 compromise, but the organization may evolve to promote a whole host of other conservative issues [Utah Policy].
  • Opinion polls, Orrin Hatch, Jason Chaffetz, Sean Spicer, and Hitler. Understand what happened this week in politics by watching our latest week-in-review video [Utah Policy].
  • Well, that doesn’t fit the narrative. Congressional Democrats say thousands of pages of documents show that the Interior Department had extensive communications with Utah elected leaders before the Bears Ears National Monument was created last year. Utah officials previously claimed that the Obama administration created the new monument without consulting with them [Tribune].
  • Bernie Sanders will headline a rally in Salt Lake City next Friday, April 21 [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • Gov. Gary Herbert hosts his annual Utah Economic Summit on Friday [Deseret News].
  • Utah Transit Authority board members are pushing back against North Ogden Mayor Brent Taylor‘s suggestion that the agency needs tougher oversight following a federal investigation. UTA Vice Chairwoman Sherrie Hall called Taylor’s proposal “political grandstanding” [Deseret News].
  • An audit rips two Kane County special districts for nepotism and conflicts of interest. The report also recommends a possible criminal investigation [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • 31 candidates have stepped forward to fill a vacancy on the West Jordan City Council [Tribune].
  • Bombshell! British spy agencies say they have evidence that members that Donald Trump‘s campaign team were meeting with suspected Russian agents in late 2015, much earlier than previously reported. The Brits shared this information with U.S. intelligence agencies, who went so far as to brief top Congressional leaders that the Russians may be trying to help Trump win the election [Guardian].
  • New CIA Director Mike Pompeo calls WikiLeaks a “hostile intelligence” service [Politico].
  • President Donald Trump says the dollar is “getting too strong” and wants the Fed to keep interest rates low [Wall Street Journal].
  • The U.S. military drops the largest non-nuclear bomb in existence on ISIS troops in Afghanistan [New York Times].
  • North Korea apparently doesn’t like the saber rattling coming from the Trump administration. Officials there say the president’s tweets are inflaming a “vicious cycle” [Associated Press]. 
  • President Donald Trump‘s most ardent supporters are getting antsy with his new centrist streak [Politico].
  • Here comes another healthcare fight. President Donald Trump says he wants to revive efforts to overhaul Obamacare following the embarrassing failure by Congressional Republicans last month [Wall Street Journal]. 
  • Congressional Democrats say they want critical parts of Obamacare funded in the next spending bill. If those payments are omitted, it could lead to a government shutdown [The Hill].

On this day in history:

  • 1775 – The first American society for the abolition of slavery was organized by Benjamin Franklin and Benjamin Rush.
  • 1865 – President Abraham Lincoln was shot and mortally wounded by John Wilkes Booth at Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C. (He died the next day.)
  • 1912 – The British liner Titanic collided with an iceberg in the North Atlantic and began to sink.