Morning must reads for Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Good Wednesday morning from Salt Lake City. Today is the first day of August, the 214th day of the year. There are 151 days remaining in 2017.

Greg Hughes says he doesn’t expect a special session for the Legislature to tackle the homeless problem. Wasatch County sent 1,400 GOP ballots to unaffiliated voters. The Trump Administration wants to investigate colleges and universities for discriminating against white applicants.

The clock:

  • 13 days until the 2017 Utah primary election (8/15/2017)
  • 97 days until the 2017 election (11/7/2017)
  • 173 days until the opening day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (1/22/2018)
  • 218 days until the final day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (3/8/2018)
  • 461 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 1,189 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

Today’s political TL; DR –

  • SCOOP #1: House Speaker Greg Hughes says calling a special session to take action on homeless issues would actually slow down progress in addressing the crime and chaos in the Rio Grande area of downtown Salt Lake City [Utah Policy]. 
  • SCOOP #2: More mail-in-ballot problems, this time in Wasatch County where approximately 1,400 unaffiliated voters were sent GOP ballots for the 3rd District Republican primary election this month [Utah Policy].
  • SCOOP #3: Utah GOP Chair Rob Anderson says Gov. Gary Herbert will hold a fundraiser next month to help the party pay down its operating debt [Utah Policy].
  • Julie Dole is sworn in as the interim Salt Lake County Recorder following the resignation of Gary Ott. Karmen Sanone, who was Ott’s secretary and girlfriend/fiancee has resigned [Deseret News].
  • Rep. Mia Love meets with small groups of constituents instead of having a large town hall meeting because she is worried about her safety if she were to hold a larger event [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • Rep. Chris Stewart is pushing legislation to criminalize the leaking of classified information to those not cleared to have such information, which includes the press [Tribune].
  • Sen. Orrin Hatch signals he’s ready to move on from health care in order to begin work on tax reform [Utah Policy, Deseret News].
  • Democratic Rep. Karen Kwan wants to make significant changes to Utah’s new DUI statute and hasn’t ruled out an effort to try and repeal the law [Fox 13].
  • The state is moving toward creating a network of quick charging stations for electric vehicles around Utah [Tribune].
  • A number of Utah officials, including most of the state’s congressional delegation, wrote a letter to several members of the Trump administration claiming that subsidies by Persian Gulf countries are hurting U.S carriers like Delta Air Lines [Tribune].
  • Utah files suit against the operators of the Gold King Mine in Colorado nearly two years after the release of contaminated sludge that spilled into Utah waterways [Deseret News].
  • Utah election officials want the public to test new voting equipment they’re considering buying [Deseret News].

National headlines:

  • Policy shift. The Trump administration wants the Justice Department to shift the civil rights division toward investigating and suing universities over affirmative action policies that may discriminate against white applicants [New York Times].
  • Fake news? A lawsuit alleges Fox News and a wealthy supporter of Donald Trump worked together to concoct a widely discredited story that Seth Rich, a Democratic National Committee aide who was murdered, was the source of emails provided to Wikileaks. The lawsuit says the effort was designed to deflect attention away from news about the Trump administration’s ties to Russia [NPR].
  • Even though Republican lawmakers are trying to pivot away from health care and toward tax reform, but that may not happen until next year because Congress is facing two big deadlines. The current budget expires at the end of September, and lawmakers must raise the debt ceiling by September 29 [Washington Post].
  • Some Republicans in Congress are defying President Donald Trump and reaching out to Democrats in an effort to shore up Obamacare [New York Times].
  • President Donald Trump is considering taking an aggressive stance toward China and that country’s theft of intellectual property from the U.S. [Axios].
  • The bull market on Wall Street following Donald Trump‘s election is starting to turn more pessimistic because of the high-profile failure of Congress to repeal Obamacare and doubts that tax reform will happen this year [Associated Press].
  • Trouble brewing? Democrats are surging while Republicans are falling behind on the generic congressional ballot according to a new poll [Politico].
  • President Trump has boosted fundraising for the Republican National Committee. The party has raised $75 million over the first six months of 2017, which is more than double what the DNC raised during the first six months of President Barack Obama’s administration [Associated Press].
  • President Donald Trump told members of his Bedminster golf club that he takes frequent weekend trips to his golf properties because the “White House is a real dump” [Golf Magazine].

On this day in history:

  • 1776 – Members of the Continental Congress began signing the Declaration of Independence.
  • 1876 – Frontiersman “Wild Bill” Hickok was shot and killed while playing poker at a saloon in Deadwood in present-day South Dakota.
  • 1939 – Albert Einstein signed a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt urging creation of an atomic weapons research program.
  • 1943 – PT-109, a Navy patrol torpedo boat commanded by Lt. John F. Kennedy, sank after being sheared in two by a Japanese destroyer off the Solomon Islands. Kennedy was credited with saving members of the crew.
  • 1964 – The Pentagon reported the first of two attacks on U.S. destroyers by North Vietnamese torpedo boats in the Gulf of Tonkin.
  • 1990 – Iraq invaded Kuwait, seizing control of the oil-rich emirate.