Morning must reads for Monday, September 25, 2017

Good Monday morning from Salt Lake City. Today is the 268th day of the year. There are 97 days remaining in 2017.

The clock:

  • 22 days until ballots for the 2017 general election are mailed to voters (10/17/2017)
  • 43 days until the 2017 election (11/7/2017)
  • 119 days until the opening day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (1/22/2018)
  • 164 days until the final day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (3/8/2018)
  • 407 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 1,135 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

Today’s political TL; DR –

  • ANALYSIS: Polling shows Utahns who voted for President Donald Trump are sticking by him, which means efforts by Democrats to tar Republicans with an unpopular president in 2018 probably won’t work [Utah Policy].
  • POLL: Utahns mostly think the federal relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey have been adequate [Utah Policy].
  • Our “Political Insiders” expect Count My Vote to pass if backers can get the needed signatures to put the issue on the 2018 ballot [Utah Policy].
  • Here are the nominations for the vacancy on the Utah Supreme Court created by the retirement of Justice Christine Durham [Utah Policy, Deseret News].
  • If Congress is unable to pass their latest Obamacare repeal measure, Gov. Gary Herbert‘s idea to give more control over health care to individual states may fall by the wayside [Tribune].
  • Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox says Utah was not among the 21 states targeted by Russian hackers during the 2016 election [Associated Press].
  • The Attorney General’s office is reviewing allegations of criminal misconduct during the Provo mayoral primary election. Former candidate Larry Walters claims he was offered some sort of compensation by fellow candidate Odell Miner. Miner and Walters were invited to a closed-door meeting by Council members George Stewart and Kim Santiago where the deal was allegedly discussed [Daily Herald].
  • Democrat Jenny Wilson officially launches her bid for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Sen. Orrin Hatch [Deseret News].
  • United Utah Party candidate Jim Bennett gains a half-point in the polls, which is just enough to qualify him for the Utah Debate Commission’s televised debate next month [Deseret News].
  • Former Utah House Speaker Marty Stephens has been named the chief lobbyist for the LDS Church [Tribune].
  • Former Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt has some harsh words about a federal audit of Western Governors University which recommended that the nonprofit online university repay more than $700 million in financial aid [Deseret News].
  • The $3 billion reconstruction of Salt Lake International Airport is underway. The first phase of construction is expected to be done in 2020 [Deseret News].
  • Advance tickets for conservative commentator Ben Shapiro’s speech at the University of Utah on September 27 sell out quickly [KUTV].

National headlines:

  • SIREN! White House aide and Donald Trump‘s son-in-law Jared Kushner used a private email account to conduct and discuss official White House business at least dozens of times according to his lawyer [Washington Post].
  • Republicans revise the Graham-Cassidy bill to repeal Obamacare in a last-ditch effort to win support before the bill comes up for a vote this week. The latest iteration shifts more money to Alaska and Maine to lure Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins into voting for the bill [New York Times].
  • Must read! President Barack Obama personally warned Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg about the role his social network platform played during the 2016 election in helping Russian intelligence spread disinformation designed to hurt Hillary Clinton and boost the campaign of Donald Trump. Additionally, Facebook employees stumbled upon the early elements of the Russian disinformation operation and notified the FBI in the summer of 2016 [Washington Post].
  • Republicans are working on a tax reform proposal that would drop the top rate to 35%, which would be a massive tax cut for the nation’s top earners [Washington Post].
  • The White House announced an expanded travel ban to restrict visitors from eight countries, including North Korea [New York Times].
  • EPA chief Scott Pruitt routinely met with executives from the automobile, mining, and fossil fuel industries then made decisions favorable to those industries shortly afterward [Washington Post].
  • More than 200 NFL players kneeled or remained in the locker room during the playing of the national anthem on Sunday following President Donald Trump‘s assertion that players who don’t stand should be suspended or fired [Sports Illustrated].
  • A political non-profit tied to President Trump is launching a six-figure campaign to amplify the president’s criticism of the NFL [BuzzFeed].
  • Whoa! New England Patriots QB Tom Brady, who has been a strong supporter of President Trump, comes out against Trump’s criticism of the NFL. Brady told a Boston sports radio station on Monday morning, “I certainly disagree with what [Trump] said. I thought it was just divisive” [Axios].
  • Officials in Puerto Rico say Hurricane Maria’s devastation set the U.S. territory back decades [Associated Press].
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel wins a fourth term, but an openly racist political party won about 13-percent of the vote, which will give them a bloc of seats in the German government [Politico].

On this day in history:

  • 1513 – Spanish explorer Vasco Nunez de Balboa reaches what would become known as the Pacific Ocean.
  • 1775 – Ethan Allen surrenders to British forces after attempting to capture Montreal during the Battle of Longue-Pointe.
  • 1789 – Congress passes twelve amendments to the U.S. Constitution: The Congressional Apportionment Amendment (which was never ratified), the Congressional Compensation Amendment and the ten that are known as the Bill of Rights.
  • 1957 – Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, is integrated by the use of United States Army troops.
  • 1978 – Pacific Southwest Airlines Flight 182 crashed in San Diego after colliding with a small Cessna aircraft. The crash killed 144 people, including seven on the ground.
  • 1981 – Sandra Day O’Connor was sworn in as the first female Supreme Court justice.
  • 2008 – Federal regulators seized Washington Mutual in what officials said was the biggest bank failure in U.S. history.