Morning must reads for Monday, September 18, 2017

Good Monday morning from Salt Lake City. Today is the 261st day of the year. There are 104 days remaining in 2017.

The clock:

  • 29 days until ballots for the 2017 general election are mailed to voters (10/17/2017)
  • 50 days until the 2017 election (11/7/2017)
  • 126 days until the opening day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (1/22/2018)
  • 171 days until the final day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (3/8/2018)
  • 414 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 1,142 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

Today’s political TL; DR –

  • POLL: Utahns are not confident that Operation Rio Grande will work as advertised. Nearly 2/3rds of Utahns say the effort to address homelessness in downtown Salt Lake City will solve the problem [Utah Policy].
  • Our “Political Insiders” expect Sen. Orrin Hatch to announce his retirement at the end of the year instead of running for an eighth term in 2018. They also say Mitt Romney will probably jump in if Hatch retires [Utah Policy].
  • On this week’s “Beg to Differ” podcast, Bryan Schott and Mike Winder discuss whether Sen. Orrin Hatch will run for another term in 2018 or retire. They also talk about the return of “Count My Vote” and GOP Chairman Rob Anderson‘s problems with some members of his own party [Utah Policy].
  • Free stuff! We’re giving away a copy of “Unbelievable: My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History.” Click to enter [Utah Policy].
  • Gov. Gary Herbert‘s office quietly asked the Trump administration to drastically shrink the Bears Ears National Monument [Tribune].
  • NBC’s Chuck Todd says he’s not sure Sen. Orrin Hatch is prepared to step away from the job after his current term ends next year [Deseret News].
  • Sen. Orrin Hatch says he’s eyeing another term in the Senate despite the fact that he will be 84 at the end of his current term [Tribune].
  • The Utah Debate Commission is giving United Utah Party Jim Bennett a second chance to qualify for next month’s televised debate by conducting another poll of the 3rd Congressional District [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • The University of Utah is bracing for protests when conservative writer Ben Shapiro speaks on campus later this month [Deseret News].
  • Cheryl Acton wins the open legislative seat in West Jordan by a coin flip after a tie in two straight rounds of voting [Associated Press, Tribune].
  • Utah’s jobless rate holds steady at 3.5 percent [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • Utah’s colleges and universities want an $83 million funding boost from lawmakers next year [Tribune].

National headlines:

  • Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke recommended that President Donald Trump shrink the boundaries of four national monuments, including Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante [Washington Post].
  • The Senate will try one more time to repeal Obamacare this week. Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is trying to whip support for a plan backed by Sens. Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy [Politico].
  • President Trump’s political team is already forming a game plan to defeat potential Democratic rivals in 2020 [Politico].
  • Special counsel Robert Mueller is in possession of detailed information about the fake Facebook accounts created by Russian intelligence to help interfere in the 2016 election [CNN].
  • Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff says Facebook needs to be more forthcoming about how Russian intelligence spent more than $100,000 on ads across the social network to try and influence the 2016 election [Recode].
  • President Trump’s lawyers are trying to decide how much they will cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller‘s Russia investigation [New York Times].
  • GOP Rep. Dana Rohrbacher tried to broker a pardon for Julian Assange in exchange for evidence that Russia was not behind hacked emails that roiled the 2016 presidential election [Wall Street Journal]. 
  • A top U.S. diplomat says the Trump administration is mulling closing down the U.S. Embassy in Cuba following a series of bizarre attacks that are endangering the health of American diplomats [Associated Press].

On this day in history:

  • 1793 – The first cornerstone of the U.S. Capitol building is laid by George Washington.
  • 1850 – Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act, which allowed slaveowners to reclaim slaves who had escaped to other states.
  • 1851 – First publication of the New York Daily Times, which later becomes the New York Times.
  • 1919 – The Netherlands gives women the right to vote.
  • 1947 – The National Security Council and the Central Intelligence Agency are established in the United States under the National Security Act.
  • 1997 – Ted Turner donates $1 billion to the United Nations.