Morning must reads for Thursday, September 7, 2017

Good Thursday morning from Salt Lake City. Today is the 250th day of the year. There are 115 days remaining in 2017.

The clock:

  • 40 days until ballots for the 2017 general election are mailed to voters (10/17/2017)
  • 61 days until the 2017 election (11/7/2017)
  • 137 days until the opening day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (1/22/2018)
  • 182 days until the final day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (3/8/2018)
  • 425 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 1,153 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

Today’s political TL; DR –

  • A new poll shows half of Utahns disapprove of President Donald Trump‘s job performance, while 46% approve. Those numbers haven’t moved since Trump took office, suggesting Utahns aren’t warming to Trump in the White House, but they’re not abandoning him either [Utah Policy].
  • Utah supporters of Rep. Mia Love are getting hit with fundraising emails from a super PAC asking for their support to help love in 2018. The problem is, the emails are most likely a scam [Utah Policy].
  • Sen. Mike Lee is lining up behind a Colorado baker and florist from Washington State who refused to provide services for same-sex weddings [Deseret News].
  • Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski says she has a “green light” to close Rio Grande street for two years after getting public input on the plan [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • The Road Home shelter spends $4,400 per night on hotel stays for families instead of housing them in their now-closed family wing of the downtown shelter, which is more than double what the state has allocated [Tribune].
  • Utah college presidents sign a letter urging Utah’s congressional delegation to help come up with a replacement for DACA [Daily Herald, Deseret News].
  • A national plan to kill the Electoral College and give the presidency to the national popular vote winner has support from the Utah Legislature [Deseret News].
  • As previously reported in, Gov. Gary Herbert is hosting a fundraiser to help the Utah GOP retire some of its debt [Deseret News].
  • A judge’s ruling could clear the way for former Attorney General John Swallow to recoup some of his legal fees stemming from his public corruption trial from the state [Tribune].
  • Utah lawmakers may consider a plan to charge residents a tax based on how far they drive instead of relying on gas taxes, which are declining dramatically [Tribune].
  • The money Utah schools got from trust lands through the Permanent State School Fund jumped 30 percent this year, to a record $64 million [Utah Policy, Deseret News, Tribune].
  • A judge has delayed a guardianship hearing involving former Salt Lake County Recorder Gary Ott [Deseret News].
  • The Utah League of Cities and Towns named Cameron Diehl as their new executive director [Tribune].
  • A new study finds 1.9% of Americans identify as Mormon, which is unchanged from 2011. The study also finds that Mormons are more conservative than other faith traditions in the U.S. [Tribune].

National headlines:

  • President Donald Trump rolled Republican leadership in Congress by cutting a deal with Democrats on a short-term debt ceiling increase and funding the government until December while approving money for Hurricane Harvey relief. Republican leaders are seething following the deal [New York Times].
  • Republicans are now suddenly worried about the 2018 midterm elections after Trump bucked his own party to reach across the aisle and make a deal with Democrats [Politico].
  • Facebook executives say the company sold more than $100,000 in advertising to a Russian company tied to Russian intelligence. The ads were traced to a Russian “troll farm” who targeted voters with fake news stories [Washington Post].
  • Donald Trump Jr. will meet in private with the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday as part of the investigation into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election [New York Times].
  • Lobbyists are now buying memberships at President Donald Trump‘s private golf clubs, which gives them access and brings them into close contact with the President [USA Today].
  • For all sad words of tongue and pen…More excerpts of Hillary Clinton‘s forthcoming book are leaking. The latest details how Clinton regrets not pushing back harder against former FBI director James Comey when he announced she was “extremely careless” with the handling of classified information [Daily Beast].
  • The federal government is so far behind issuing security clearances, an investigation found authorities have granted temporary clearances to people who they later discovered were murderers or pedophiles [McClatchy].
  • A new study finds white Christians are now a minority in America as less than half of Americans identify as such [The Hill].
  • Hurricane Irma has killed at least 10 people so far as it continued to lay waste to the Caribbean. Residents in Florida are bracing for a possible direct hit on Miami later this week [Associated Press].

On this day in history:

  • 1857 – Mountain Meadows Massacre: Mormon settlers slaughter most of the members of a wagon train.
  • 1921 – The first Miss America Pageant is held in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
  • 1927 – Philo T. Farnsworth succeeded in transmitting the first television signal.
  • 1940 – The German Luftwaffe begins the Blitz of London, bombing that and other cities for 50 consecutive nights.
  • 1977 – The Panama Canal treaties, calling for the United States to turn over control of the waterway to Panama, were signed in Washington, D.C. 
  • 1979 – The Chrysler Corporation asks the United States government for $1.5 billion to avoid bankruptcy.
  • 2008 – The U.S. government takes control of mortgage giants Mae and Freddie Mac.