Morning must reads for Monday, October 2, 2017

Good Monday morning from Salt Lake City. Today is the 275th day of the year. There are 90 days remaining in 2017.

The clock:

  • 15 days until ballots for the 2017 general election are mailed to voters (10/17/2017)
  • 36 days until the 2017 election (11/7/2017)
  • 112 days until the opening day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (1/22/2018)
  • 157 days until the final day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (3/8/2018)
  • 400 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 1,128 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

Today’s political TL; DR –

  • HORROR IN LAS VEGAS: A gunman opened fire on an outdoor country music festival in Las Vegas killing at least 50 and wounding more than 200. The suspect fired from a hotel room inside the Mandalay Bay hotel across the street from the concert. Police confronted and killed the suspect. It is the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history [Las Vegas Sun, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Washington Post].
  • POLL: A new survey finds support is beginning to soften for a proposed ballot initiative to raise sales and income taxes in order to boost school funding by $700 million annually [Utah Policy].
  • ISSUE TO WATCH: Gov. Gary Herbert is sending “signing letters” to lawmakers when he signs a budget bill detailing his “intent” to spend allocated money differently than what lawmakers approved. So far, the independent state agencies have ignored Herbert’s letters. Lawmakers are worried that could change with an agency directly under Herbert’s control using funds for a different purpose than intended at the behest of Herbert [Utah Policy].
  • Rep. Mike Winder is proposing legislation to change “Columbus Day” to “Exploration Day” to honor explorers without singling out Columbus [Utah Policy].
  • PODCAST: Bryan Schott and Mike Winder speak with Democrat Kathie Allen on this week’s “Beg to Differ” [Utah Policy].
  • Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams says he’s mulling a challenge to Rep. Mia Love in 2018 [Deseret News].
  • Health care advocates are launching an effort to put the issue of full Medicaid expansion on the 2018 ballot [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill is warning that the glut of cases stemming from arrests during Operation Rio Grande could overwhelm his office unless he can hire more attorneys [Tribune].
  • Even though the Utah Transit Authority is changing the retirement benefit package for top executives, it’s still much more generous than most other retirement plans [Deseret News].
  • Tensions are rising on the Salt Lake City Council over whether to allow more “mother-in-law” apartments in the city [Tribune].
  • The West Jordan City Council will now allow members to attend meetings electronically instead of in-person [Tribune].

National headlines:

  • Facebook will turn over more than 3,000 ads that ran during the 2016 election that are suspected to be linked to Russian intelligence agents who aimed to disrupt the vote [Associated Press].
  • President Donald Trump publicly broke with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Sunday. Tillerson said the U.S. was engaging in direct talks with North Korea over their nuclear weapons program, while Trump said Tillerson was “wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man” [Washington Post].
  • The Supreme Court begins a new term on Monday. On the docket are potentially momentous cases dealing with gerrymandering and a Colorado baker who refused to comply with a state law that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation [Washington Post].
  • Republicans in Congress are rolling up their sleeves to deal with tax reform, but the GOP proposal for corporate tax cuts could cost more than $7 trillion over the next two decades [New York Times].
  • Puerto Rico:
    • Shortages of food, water, and medicine on the island are making survival difficult for residents struggling to recover from Hurricane Maria [Reuters].
    • Only 5% of the island has power. 41% of the island has potable water and a little more than half of the island’s gas stations were working as of Sunday [CNN].
  • Special counsel Robert Muller is eschewing the public spotlight as he probes Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election [Politico].
  • Three Americans were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discovery of molecular organisms controlling the circadian rhythm [New York Times].

On this day in history:

  • 1789 – George Washington sends proposed Constitutional Amendments (The Bill of Rights) to the states for ratification.
  • 1950 – The Peanuts comic strip by Charles M. Schulz is first published.
  • 1967 – Thurgood Marshall was sworn in as the first African-American justice of the Supreme Court. 
  • 1970 – A plane carrying the Wichita State University football team crashes in Colorado killing 31 people. 
  • 1980 – Michael Myers becomes the first member of either chamber of Congress to be expelled since the Civil War. He was kicked out for his involvement in the Abscam scandal where he was videotaped accepting a $50,000 bribe from undercover FBI agents.