Morning must reads for Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Good Wednesday morning from Salt Lake City. Today is the 165th day of the year. There are 199 days remaining in 2017. Today is the 146th day of Donald Trump’s presidency.

Utah Republicans eyeing a small property tax hike to increase school funding. Democrats reeling from dirty tricks in the race for party chair. Jim Dabakis’ bid to join the Utah Transit Authority Board is rejected.

The clock:

  • 3 days until the Utah Republican 3rd District nominating convention at Timpview High School (6/17/2017).

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

  • 62 days until the 2017 Utah primary election (8/15/2017)

  • 146 days until the 2017 election (11/7/2017)

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

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

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

  • 1,239 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

Today’s political TL; DR –

  • SCOOP: Some Utah Republican lawmakers are looking at a modest increase in property taxes to help boost school funding [Utah Policy].
  • The Utah GOP sets the speaking order and balloting rules for Saturday’s special nominating convention [Utah Policy].
  • Dirty tricks and anonymous negative campaigning are upsetting Utah Democrats in the race for their new party chair [Utah Policy].
  • LaVarr Webb argues that Democrats are turning to federalism to push back against Donald Trump [Utah Policy].
  • The Salt Lake City Council rejects Sen. Jim Dabakis‘ nomination to the Utah Transit Authority board [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • Sens. Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee met with President Donald Trump to discuss healthcare reform, but aren’t saying much about what they discussed behind closed doors [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • The Salt Lake County Council discussed a “personnel matter” behind closed doors on Tuesday, which is believed to be related to the ongoing Gary Ott situation [Deseret News]. Police reportedly discussed whether Ott was suffering from dementia when they responded to a situation involving Ott in September [Tribune].
  • Rep. Jason Chaffetz is out as Chairman of the Oversight Committee since he’s leaving office at the end of the month. He’s been replaced by South Carolina Republican Trey Gowdy [Tribune].
  • Salt Lake City’s $273 million budget for next year includes a 21% property tax increase,  a sewer rate hike and a small raise for police officers [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • Park City is close to finalizing a deal to purchase Bonanza Flat thanks to $1.5 million from Salt Lake County [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • Outgoing Salt Lake County Sherrif Jim Winder says the county needs a big tax hike next year to alleviate jail overcrowding [Tribune].
  • Former Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff is continuing his fight to get the state to pony up $1.5 million in legal fees related to the unsuccessful criminal case against him [Deseret News].

National headlines:

  • Rep. Steve Scalise, the House Majority Whip, was injured when a gunman opened fire at a baseball field where Republican members of Congress were practicing on Wednesday morning [New York Times].
  • Nearly 200 members of Congress plan to file a lawsuit against President Donald Trump claiming foreign payments to his businesses violate the Constitution’s “foreign emoluments clause” which requires the president to get Congress’ approval before accepting gifts from foreign entities [Washington Post].
  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions called any suggestion he aided Russian efforts to meddle in the 2016 election a “detestable lie.” He also refused to answer questions about his private conversations with President Donald Trump [Los Angeles Times].
  • President Donald Trump has been considering firing special counsel Robert Muller for some time, but his staff has been able to dissuade him from taking that action…so far. Trump associates say the president is “so volatile” that they’re not sure he’ll change his mind about Mueller [New York Times]. 
  • President Donald Trump now says the House health care bill is “mean” and he hopes the Senate will fix some of the problems. This is a complete 180 for Trump who helped the House push the bill through just six weeks ago [Associated Press].
  • Senate Republicans wanted to shut down media access in the Capitol but quickly backed off the plan [The Hill].
  • President Donald Trump has reportedly given Defense Secretary Jim Mattis the unilateral authority to set U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan [Reuters].
  • The acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement says the Trump administration will continue to arrest undocumented immigrants, even if they haven’t been convicted of a crime [Huffington Post].
  • The Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates by a quarter percentage point next week as the economy continues to grow [Wall Street Journal].

On this day in history:

  • 1775 – The United States Army was founded.
  • 1777 – The Continental Congress in Philadelphia adopted the Stars and Stripes as the national flag.
  • 1940 – German troops entered Paris during World War II.
  • 1943 – The Supreme Court ruled schoolchildren could not be compelled to salute the flag of the United States if doing so would conflict with their religious beliefs.
  • 1954 – President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed an order adding the words “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance.