Morning must reads for Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Good Wednesday morning from Salt Lake City. Today is the 256th day of the year. There are 109 days remaining in 2017.

The clock:

  • 34 days until ballots for the 2017 general election are mailed to voters (10/17/2017)
  • 55 days until the 2017 election (11/7/2017)
  • 131 days until the opening day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (1/22/2018)
  • 176 days until the final day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (3/8/2018)
  • 419 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 1,147 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

Today’s political TL; DR –

  • SCOOP: Lawmakers will meet next week in a special session to deal with possibly 3 items dealing with homeless issues. They won’t be spending any new money on the homeless effort, but they may have to move some funds around to meet current needs [Utah Policy].
  • Republican John Curtis has a 30-point lead over Democrat Kathie Allen in the 3rd District special election race. United Utah Party candidate Jim Bennett did not get enough support in the survey to qualify for a televised debate [Utah Policy].
  • Preliminary discussions are underway about Salt Lake City possibly bidding to host the 2026 Winter Olympics [Utah Policy].
  • Utah State Auditor John Dougall says he found no questionable spending by the Mountain Accord group, but he is raising some transparency questions about how the group operated [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • The LDS Church and 22 Republican members of the Utah Senate have signed on in support of a Colorado shop owner who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple [Deseret News, Tribune, Fox 13].
  • A gay Utah couple is challenging a Utah law after a judge refused to sign off on a surrogacy agreement. The judge cited a Utah statute that references heterosexual parents [Associated Press].
  • Former Provo mayor candidate Larry Walter alleges another candidate, Odell Miner, offered him a job to get him to drop out of the race. Miner is denying the allegations. Both men failed to advance past the primary election [KUTV].
  • State officials are already building a fence around a portion of Rio Grande street in downtown Salt Lake City [Tribune].
  • The Utah County Sheriff’s Office is asking for restrictions on urban camping to combat a growing homeless problem [Daily Herald].
  • Sen. Orrin Hatch warned Congress against bailing out the Affordable Care Act without enacting reforms to the health care law [Deseret News].
  • The U.S. Senate passes Sen. Orrin Hatch‘s bill to create a council to advise on efforts to combat human trafficking [Deseret News].

National headlines:

  • Republican and Democratic House leaders are set to meet Wednesday morning to discuss possible legislation to protect Dreamers following President Donald Trump‘s decision to end the DACA program [Politico].
  • President Donald Trump is meeting with moderate Democratic and House members to discuss tax reform [Politico].
  • Maybe President Donald Trump isn’t as toxic to Republicans as Democrats are hoping. Democrats are pulling out all the stops to attack Trump politically, but polling and focus groups show it’s not having much of an effect on voters, which could be a big factor heading into the 2018 midterms [Politico].
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders, backed by 15 other Democrats, will introduce his universal health care proposal in Congress on Wednesday [Washington Post].
  • The White House is suggesting that former FBI Director James Comey should be investigated for leaks of classified information. President Donald Trump‘s firing of Comey is what triggered the hiring of special counsel Robert Mueller to look into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election [New York Times].
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin sought a normalization of relations between the United States beginning immediately shortly after President Donald Trump took office [BuzzFeed].
  • Drip…drip…drip…Former national security adviser Michael Flynn did not disclose he was paid $25,000 to promote a plan to build dozens of privately backed nuclear reactors across the Middle East [Politico].
  • Representatives from Facebook and Twitter may have to testify before Congress about how Russian intelligence spread misinformation on their websites in order to taint the 2016 presidential election [Recode].
  • Hillary Clinton is UNLOADING on Sen. Bernie Sanders in her new book and interviews promoting that tome. Here is some of her best score settling with the Vermont Senator [Axios].
  • The White House is considering a plan to cap the number of refugees allowed into the U.S at below 50,000, which is the lowest number in more than three decades [New York Times].
  • The median household income in America rose to just under $60,000 according to the Census Bureau, which is a 3.2% increase over last year [Washington Post].
  • FEMA officials estimate that 25% of homes in the Florida Keys were destroyed by Hurricane Irma [Associated Press].

On this day in history:

  • 1501 – Michelangelo begins work on his statue of David.
  • 1788 – The Philadelphia Convention sets the date for the first presidential election in the United States, and New York City becomes the country’s temporary capital.
  • 1814 – The British fail to capture Baltimore during the War of 1812. During the battle, Francis Scott Key composes his poem “Defence of Fort McHenry,” which is later set to music and becomes the U.S. national anthem.
  • 1899 – Henry Bliss is the first person in the U.S. to be killed in an automobile accident.
  • 1948 – Republican Margaret Chase Smith is elected to the U.S. Senate, and becomes the first woman to serve in both houses of Congress.
  • 2001 – Secretary of State Colin Powell named Osama bin Laden as the prime suspect in the 9/11 terror attacks.