Morning must reads for Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Good Tuesday morning from Salt Lake City. Today is the 129th day of the year. There are 236 days remaining in 2017. Today is the 110th day of Donald Trump’s presidency.

Utahns want a proposed ballot initiative that raises taxes to fund schools to move forward. Zinke tours Bears Ears. Sally Yates says there was evidence Michael Flynn may have been compromised by the Russians.

The clock:

  • 11 days until the Utah Republican State Convention (5/20/2017)

  • 39 days until the Utah Democratic State Convention at Weber State University (6/17/2017)

  • 182 days until the 2017 municipal elections (11/7/2017)

  • 258 days until the opening day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (1/22/2018)

  • 303 days until the final day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (3/8/2018)

  • 546 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)

  • 1,274 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

Today’s political TL; DR –

  • A new poll shows most Utahns want the group pushing for a tax hike to fund Utah’s schools to move ahead with their effort to put the question on the 2018 ballot [Utah Policy].
  • Rep. Jason Chaffetz says he intends to investigate former president Barack Obama‘s deal with Iran and whether the pact harmed national security [Utah Policy].
  • LaVarr Webb argues Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador‘s faux pas at a town hall meeting is a perfect illustration of how difficult the health care issue is proving to be [Utah Policy].
  • Utah Democrats have a plank in their proposed 2017 platform that pushes for animal rights. The issue is higher up on their list of priorities than other topics like gerrymandering and equal pay [Utah Policy].
  • There’s a new Utah political podcast hosted by our own Bryan Schott and Rep. Mike Winder which examines the news of the day from different perspectives. Here’s their first episode [Utah Policy].
  • Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke tours the Bears Ears National Monument and speaks with local residents about land use issues [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • Sen. Orrin Hatch sparks outrage after making a condescending remark that American Indians “don’t fully understand” what they lose with Bears Ears being turned into a national monument [Tribune].
  • Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates testifies before a Senate panel that she delivered an urgent warning to the Trump White House that former national security adviser Michael Flynn could be compromised by the Russian government [New York Times]. President Donald Trump lashed out at Yates’ testimony on Twitter, saying the issue was “nothing but old news” [Politico].
  • The U.S. is considering a plan to expand military operations in Afghanistan to push back against a resurgent Taliban [Washington Post].
  • President Donald Trump names 10 nominees to fill vacancies on the federal bench [Wall Street Journal].
  • Even though Donald Trump‘s White House refuses to release their visitor logs to the public, most of those who get face time with the president are wealthy, white Republican men [Politico].
  • Boring but important. The Trump administration is probing whether Haitian immigrants who are allowed to remain in America under a humanitarian program have been committing crimes [Associated Press].
  • Possible Democratic candidates for president in 2020 are starting to get their ducks in a row [Washington Post].
  • Most of this year’s college commencement speakers are avoiding mentioning Donald Trump in their speeches [USA Today].
  • The candidates for Utah GOP Chair are drawing sharp contrasts over how they would approach the job and just how much financial hardship the party is facing [Tribune].
  • Jon Huntsman Sr. says he will publish a two-page newspaper ad detailing the Huntsman Cancer Institute’s operations over the past two decades [Deseret News]. Huntsman also says the University of Utah Health Sciences Department is in “total disarray” following the controversy that resulted in the resignation of top officials [KSL].
  • Kane County officials are facing a possible criminal investigation into their involvement in a service district for a luxury resort that overpaid them according to a state audit [Tribune].
  • Utah’s new liquor laws mostly go into effect on Tuesday [Tribune].

On this day in history:

  • 1502 – Christopher Columbus left Cadiz, Spain, on his fourth and final trip to the Western Hemisphere.
  • 1926 – Americans Richard Byrd and Floyd Bennett made what they claimed was the first airplane flight over the North Pole. (Evidence suggests they may have missed their target by 150 miles.)
  • 1960 – The Food and Drug Administration approved the use of a birth control pill.
  • 1974 – The House Judiciary Committee opened hearings on whether to recommend the impeachment of President Richard Nixon.