Morning must reads for Thursday, July 27, 2017

Good Thursday morning from Salt Lake City. Today is the 208th day of the year. There are 157 days remaining in 2017.

State leaders vow to crack down on the homeless problem in downtown Salt Lake City. Orrin Hatch breaks with President Trump on the issue of transgendered soldiers. The Senate fails again to pass an Obamacare repeal measure.

The clock:

  • 19 days until the 2017 Utah primary election (8/15/2017)
  • 103 days until the 2017 election (11/7/2017)
  • 179 days until the opening day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (1/22/2018)
  • 224 days until the final day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (3/8/2018)
  • 467 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 1,195 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

Today’s political TL; DR –

  • Top state leaders say they’re going to take steps to help end the violence and chaos surrounding the homeless population in downtown Salt Lake City. Gov. Gary Herbert taps Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox as the state’s “point man” on homeless issues [Utah Policy].
  • Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jenny Wilson says she’s running for the seat currently occupied by Sen. Orrin Hatch because Utahns “are ready for new leadership” in Washington. She also says she’s not a fan of President Trump but does not see herself as part of “the resistance” movement that’s popped up in Democratic circles [Utah Policy].
  • Sen. Orrin Hatch breaks with President Donald Trump‘s Twitter announcement that transgendered Americans will no longer be allowed to serve in the military saying, “Transgender people are people, and deserve the best we can do for them” [Utah Policy].
  • The Utah Legislature picks John Cannon, currently the top lobbyist for the LDS Church, to run the Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel [Utah Policy].
  • Provo Mayor John Curtis has a big lead in the Republican 3rd District primary according to a new poll. Curtis leads Tanner Ainge and Chris Herrod by more than a 2 to 1 margin [Tribune].
  • The special election in the 3rd District is carrying a hefty price tag for counties, who are asking the state for help in covering those costs [Deseret News].
  • Whoops! Some unaffiliated voters in Utah County were sent ballots for the GOP 3rd District primary election. Only registered Republicans can vote in the August primary [Deseret News].
  • Former Interior Secretary Sally Jewell has some harsh words for the Trump administration over their review of national monuments, including Bears Ears [Deseret News].
  • Sen. Howard Stephenson, says teachers in Utah have been too slow to adopt technology in the classroom. He says those reluctant teachers may have to “die off before we can embrace this with fidelity” [Tribune].
  • The U.S. House approves Rep. Mia Love‘s plan to allow members to use office funds for security at their personal homes [Tribune].
  • Hans Andersen, a candidate for Orem Mayor, says the incumbent, Richard Brunst, used his city email account and other resources for political purposes [Tribune].
  • New estimates from the Outdoor Industry Association show outdoor recreation brought $12 billion to Utah’s economy last year [Tribune].

National headlines:

  • Constitutional crisis brewing? President Donald Trump has discussed the possibility of firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions and using a recess appointment to replace him, which would do an end-run around Senate oversight [Washington Post].
  • Some of President Donald Trump‘s top aides are warning him to back off his assault on Attorney General Jeff Sessions because it could lead to a “revolt” among Senate Republicans [New York Times].
  • President Donald Trump announced via Twitter that transgender people will no longer be allowed to serve in the military, which is a reversal of a policy established under the Obama administration. The decision caught military leaders at the Pentagon by surprise because Trump had not consulted with them before making the decision [Axios, BuzzFeed].
  • The Senate resoundingly defeated a proposal to repeal major portions of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) [New York Times].
  • Senators seem to be embracing a health care proposal that some are dubbing the “skinny repeal,” which would kill the employer and individual mandates for insurance in Obamacare [New York Times].
  • Senate Democrats say they will not offer any amendments to the GOP health care plan until they actually see the legislation. So far, Republican leaders have kept their Obamacare replacement proposal secret [Politico].
  • Foxconn announced it would build a $10 billion plant in Wisconsin, which is a major victory for President Donald Trump’s fight to bring manufacturing jobs to the U.S. [Wall Street Journal].
  • New White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci says he will not hesitate to fire staffers if they leak information to the press [Fox News].
  • Congress reaches a deal on new economic sanctions against Russia, North Korea and Iran [Washington Post].
  • White House strategist Steve Bannon is reportedly pushing for a 44% marginal tax rate on people who earn more than $5 million per year. Right now that rate is 39.6%. The increase would pay for tax cuts for less wealthy Americans [The Intercept].
  • Kid Rock says he is putting his U.S. Senate aspirations on hold while he launches a new initiative to spur voter registration [Fox News].
  • Boring but important. For the first time ever, Americans spend more money on eating out than they do on preparing food at home [ZeroHedge].

On this day in history:

  • 1789 – Congress established the Department of Foreign Affairs, the forerunner of the State Department.
  • 1794 – French revolutionary leader Maximilien Robespierre was overthrown and placed under arrest; he was executed the next day.
  • 1861 – Union Gen. George B. McClellan was put in command of the Army of the Potomac.
  • 1866 – After two failures, Cyrus W. Field succeeded in laying the first underwater telegraph cable between North America and Europe.
  • 1940 – Bugs Bunny made his debut in the Warner Bros. animated cartoon “A Wild Hare.”
  • 1953 – The Korean War armistice was signed at Panmunjom, ending three years of fighting.
  • 1974 – The House Judiciary Committee voted 27-11 to recommend President Richard M. Nixon’s impeachment on a charge that he had personally engaged in a “course of conduct” designed to obstruct justice in the Watergate case.