Daily Briefing 11-2-17

Good Thursday morning from Salt Lake City. Today is the 306th day of the year. There are 59 days remaining in 2017.

The clock:

  • 5 days until the 2017 election (11/7/2017)
  • 81 days until the opening day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (1/22/2018)
  • 126 days until the final day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (3/8/2018)
  • 369 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 1,097 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

Today’s political TL; DR –

  • SCOOP: The Utah GOP is dropping the lawsuit over the SB54 compromise. Party leaders made the decision on Wednesday night, saying the continuing cost is too much [Utah Policy].
  • A reporter overhears Rep. Mia Love saying Sen. Orrin Hatch will retire next year. Hatch’s office hits back hard at Love [Utah Policy].
  • The feds approve a $100 million Medicaid waiver for Utah that will cover between 4,000 and 6,000 Utahns. The money includes $10 million that will go toward Operation Rio Grande [Utah PolicyDeseret NewsTribune].
  • The groups behind several proposed ballot initiatives in 2018 have raised more than $1.3 million in total this year [Tribune].
  • The Provo Municipal Council is preparing to appoint an interim mayor should John Curtis win Tuesday’s special congressional election [Daily Herald].
  • A state audit finds a special service district in Uintah County violated open meetings laws [Deseret NewsTribune].
  • The UHP says some charter schools are using school buses that don’t meet safety standards [Tribune].
  • Arches National Park will use a new system requiring reservations for visitors, which they hope will cut down on overcrowding [Tribune].
  • Federal prosecutors reduce their case against former UTA board member Terry Deihl to just one charge [Deseret NewsTribune]. 

National headlines:

  • House Republicans are set to release their tax reform proposal on Thursday. However, it’s not clear whether the plan to cut corporate taxes will be temporary or permanent [Politico].
  • Republicans plan to reduce the maximum tax-free contributions to 401(k) plans by about half. The plan also has a reduction in state and local tax deductions [ABC News].
  • President Donald Trump‘s super PAC plans to spend $100 million on ads to sell tax reform to Americans [Politico].
  • Lawmakers released dozens of ads purchased by Russian troll farms on Facebook and Twitter to sow discord during the 2016 election [New York Times]. Here’s what those ads look like [Axios].
  • The state-owned Russian TV network RT was a top sales prospect for Twitter. The social networking platform offered RT 15% of its total share of election advertising in the U.S. [BuzzFeed].
  • Former national security adviser Michael Flynn followed some Russian “troll factory” Twitter accounts and pushed out their messages in the month before the 2016 election [Daily Beast].
  • The notorious Steele dossier that alleged contacts between Russia and the Trump campaign carried a price tag of just $168,000, not the tens of millions that had previously been alleged [Reuters].
  • Russian hackers didn’t just target Hillary Clinton‘s emails during last year’s election. They had crosshairs on hundreds of other targets, including U.S. defense contractors and Russian opposition figures [Associated Press].
  • President Donald Trump seemed calm during a call with a reporter when asked about the ongoing Russia investigation. “I’m not under investigation, as you know,” said Mr. Trump [New York Times].
  • President Trump seems ready to throw his son-in-law Jared Kushner under the bus for giving him bad advice that led to the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller. “Jared is the worst political adviser in the White House in modern history,” said one Trump confidant [Vanity Fair].
  • President Donald Trump says the suspect in this week’s deadly terror attack in Manhattan should get the death penalty [New York Times].
  • The suspect in the Manhattan terror attack says he was inspired by ISIS and asked to hang the ISIS flag in his hospital room [CNN].
  • The global economy should continue growing at a healthy rate in 2018…unless someone does something stupid [Bloomberg].
  • North Korea is reportedly working on an advanced version of their largest missile that could potentially reach the U.S. mainland [CNN].
  • The companies bidding to build President Trump’s border wall are asking for federal protection to keep cities and states from penalizing them for working on the project [Bloomberg].

On this day in history:

  • 1889 – North Dakota and South Dakota are admitted to the union as the 39th and 40th states.
  • 1920 – KDKA in Pittsburgh starts broadcasting as the first commercial radio station. The first broadcast is the result of the 1920 presidential election.
  • 1947 – Howard Hughes performs the maiden (and only) flight of the Spruce Goose, the largest fixed-wing aircraft ever built.
  • 1959 – Twenty One game show contestant Charles Van Doren admits to a Congressional committee he had been given questions and answers in advance.
  • 1962 – President John F. Kennedy announced that Soviet missile bases in Cuba were being dismantled.
  • 1983 – President Ronald Reagan signs a bill creating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.