Briefing Local – October 26, 2017

  • Bob Bernick profiles Mark Thomas, the new chief of staff for the Utah Senate [Utah Policy].
  • Sen. Mike Lee says in a televised interview that he’s “certain” President Donald Trump has lied, but he doesn’t think that should distract conservatives from accomplishing their policy goals [Utah Policy].
  • President Trump’s voter fraud commission is gathering data on Americans, but security experts say it’s unlikely they’ll be able to keep that personal information safe [Utah Policy].
  • The Utah Transit Authority adopts a tentative budget for next year that includes borrowing $88.5 million, even though the agency has $2 billion in debt. One out of every three dollars the UTA spends goes toward debt service right now [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • Count My Vote organizers will hold a series of public hearings on their proposed ballot initiative to end the convention system for nominating candidates in favor of direct primaries [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • A group of conservative state lawmakers are launching an effort to abolish the death penalty. The group includes former Utah legislator Steve Urquhart [Tribune].
  • Federal prosecutors drop another criminal charge against former Utah Transit Authority board member Terry Diehl [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • Utah County has the highest rental rates in the state according to a new study [Daily Herald].
  • Leaders in Western states argue that management of the greater sage grouse should be left to individual states instead of the federal government [Deseret News].