Morning must reads for Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Good Wednesday morning from Salt Lake City. Today is the 207th day of the year. There are 158 days remaining in 2017.

Sen. Mike Lee gets good favorability ratings from Utahns while Sen. Orrin Hatch isn’t as popular. Lawmakers will likely have a big budget surplus in 2018. The Senate votes to take up debate on health care, but a proposal to repeal and replace Obamacare was voted down.

The clock:

  • 20 days until the 2017 Utah primary election (8/15/2017)
  • 104 days until the 2017 election (11/7/2017)
  • 180 days until the opening day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (1/22/2018)
  • 225 days until the final day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (3/8/2018)
  • 468 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 1,196 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

Today’s political TL; DR –

  • NEW POLL: Sen. Mike Lee gets a 53% favorability rating from Utahns while Sen. Orrin Hatch sits at 49% approval [Utah Policy].
  • Good news for lawmakers. Utah’s economy keeps rolling along, meaning they will likely have a sizeable budget surplus next year [Utah Policy].
  • Gov. Gary Herbert gives Provo Mayor John Curtis his endorsement in the GOP 3rd District primary [Utah Policy].
  • Sen. Howard Stephenson explains why he plans to vote for Tanner Ainge in the 3rd District GOP primary election [Utah Policy].
  • Sens. Mike Lee and Orrin Hatch vote to begin debate on the Senate health care bill [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • Healthcare advocates rally in downtown Salt Lake City urging Sens. Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee to vote against the Senate plan to repeal Obamacare [Deseret News].
  • All three of Utah’s House members vote in favor of financial sanctions against Russia for interfering in last year’s presidential election [Tribune].
  • Sen. Orrin Hatch stands by Attorney General Jeff Sessions in the face of repeated attacks against him by President Donald Trump [Tribune].
  • Ballots for the August 15 primary election were mailed to voters on Tuesday [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • Financial estimates say if the ballot initiative to legalize medical marijuana passes, it would cost Utah taxpayers $3 million in the first year, with another $1.8 million every year after that [Fox 13].
  • A state ethics commission dismissed a complaint against Draper Mayoral candidate Michele Weeks, who is challenging incumbent Troy Walker because they felt it was politically motivated. Weeks was accused of writing a letter in a city-funded newsletter that some thought was political speech [Tribune].
  • The Salt Lake City Council approves transit advocate Alex Cragun for a spot on the Utah Transit Authority board [Tribune].
  • The Outdoor Retailers Show begins its final run in Salt Lake City before moving to Denver [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • A new report says Utah’s coal mining industry is dying while renewable energy and outdoor recreation are giving a bigger boost to the state’s economy [Tribune].

National headlines:

  • After voting to begin debate on health care bills, the Senate votes down a proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) [New York Times].
  • Here’s how the Senate finally got to the point to bring their health care proposal to the floor for a vote. Sen. Mike Lee was still undecided on Monday according to an eyewitness who described a text message conversation he was having with colleagues [Politico].
  • Sen. John McCain returns to the Senate after a brain cancer diagnosis and blasts his colleagues for “getting nothing done” after he voted to bring the health care proposal to the floor for debate [Washington Post].
  • President Donald Trump continued his assault on Attorney General Jeff Sessions, saying “We’ll see what happens” when asked if he was going to fire Sessions. People close to Sessions say he has no intention of resigning his position, despite the attacks from Trump [Washington Post].
  • Republican Sen. Susan Collins left her microphone on following a committee hearing where she and a colleague were caught on a hot mic criticizing President Trump. Democratic Sen. Jack Reed said Trump was “crazy” while Collins said she was “worried” about Trump’s inability to grasp the details about the federal budgeting process [Washington Post].
  • President Donald Trump holds another campaign-style rally in Ohio. He promised a group of his core supporters that he would still build a wall on the border with Mexico, make good on his promise to spend a trillion dollars on infrastructure and boost the U.S. economy [Politico].
  • Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is “taking a little time off” amid reports he’s considering stepping down from the State Department [Business Insider].
  • Poll: Half of those who voted for President Donald Trump think he won the popular vote last November (he didn’t) [Politico].
  • Scary! American intelligence agencies say North Korea could have a working intercontinental missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the continental United States within 12 months. Previous estimates said it would take Pyongyang roughly four years to achieve that level of technology [New York Times].

On this day in history:

  • 1788 – New York became the 11th state to ratify the Constitution.
  • 1947 – President Harry S. Truman signed the National Security Act, creating the Department of Defense, the National Security Council, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
  • 1953 – Fidel Castro began a revolt against Fulgencio Batista with an unsuccessful attack on an army barracks in eastern Cuba.