Situational awareness – December 28, 2017

Good Thursday morning from Salt Lake City. This is our final newsletter of 2017. Thank you for an incredible year. We look forward to what awaits us in 2018.

The top Utah political news stories of 2017. Curtis says Utahns will warm up to the GOP tax overhaul plan. Robert Mueller expands his investigation of Russian interference. 

Tick tock:

  • 5 days until candidates can declare their intent to gather signatures for the 2018 election (1/2/2018)
  • 25 days until the opening day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (1/22/2018)
  • 70 days until the final day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (3/8/2018)
  • 71 days until the filing period for candidates in the 2018 election opens (3/9/2018)
  • 77 days until the filing deadline for the 2018 elections (3/15/2018)
  • 82 days until the statewide caucus meetings for Utah Republicans and Democrats (3/20/2018)
  • 114 days until the Utah GOP State Convention (4/21/2018)
  • 121 days until the Utah Democratic State Convention (4/28/2018)
  • 180 days until the 2018 Primary Election (6/26/2018)
  • 313 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 1,041 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

Utah headlines

The top-10 Utah political news stories from the past year

We asked our “Political Insiders” and readers to pick the top stories in Utah politics from 2017. Not surprisingly, Donald Trump’s visit to Utah to slash nearly 2 million acres from the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments topped the list, but check out the other nine stories that made the cut [Utah Policy].

2018 Candidate Tracker is online

The 2018 election is just around the corner. We have our running list of declared and rumored candidates online. The Congressional races are here. Check out the Utah Senate seats up for election here. The list of all 75 Utah House seats is here.

Quick links:

  • Everyone is waiting for Sen. Orrin Hatch to finally make up his mind about whether he’s running for another term in 2018 [The Hill].
  • Rep. John Curtis says Utahns will eventually warm up to the massive tax overhaul passed by Republicans in Congress [Deseret News].
  • Rep. Norm Thurston is mulling some changes to the tougher DUI law he sponsored last year, including an exemption for people who are legally under the influence but use a weapon in self-defense [Deseret News].
  • Rep. Carol Spackman Moss is running legislation during the 2018 session to outlaw drivers from using hand-held electronic devices while they’re behind the wheel [Tribune].
  • A former Ephriam police officer who resigned because they felt the police chief was not properly completing police reports has filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the city [Deseret News].

National headlines

  • Special counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly zeroing in on the joint RNC-Trump campaign data operation, which was managed by Jared Kushner, as possibly related to Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election [Yahoo].
  • President Trump’s legal team is planning on portraying former national security adviser Michael Flynn as a liar if he accuses President Trump or any of his aides of wrongdoing [Washington Post]. Flynn’s brother says President Trump should pardon the former national security adviser [Newsweek].
  • Republican Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore has filed a lawsuit to block the certification of this month’s election where he lost to Democrat Doug Jones. Moore is alleging “systematic voter fraud” as the reason he narrowly lost to Jones [New York Times].
  • At least 40 people were killed in a suicide bomb attack in Kabul, Afghanistan [CNN].
  • Americans say health care, taxes, immigration, the environment, and education are the top issues they’re worried about in 2018 [Associated Press].
  • Taxpayers are rushing to prepay their property taxes before the GOP tax bill goes into effect in 2018. The new bill limits the value of state and local property tax deductions that taxpayers can claim. However, the IRS said that taxpayers can only prepay if they’ve already received a property valuation from their local government [Washington Post].
  • President Donald Trump is preparing to get tougher on trade with China [Washington Post].
  • National Democrats think they have a shot at winning control of the U.S. Senate next year. Here are the seats they must win if that’s going to happen [Daily Dot]. 
  • Actress Jenna Fischer, who played Pam on The Office, apologizes for sharing inaccurate and outdated information about the GOP tax bill, specifically that it eliminated a deduction for teachers who buy their own classroom supplies. Sen. Orrin Hatch thanked her for the apology [The Hill].
  • Facebook announced they will no longer use the “Disputed Flag” to alert users that an article is fake news. Using the flag actually had the opposite effect and led readers to click on the article more [Axios].
  • Barack Obama is the most admired man in America according to a new poll, slightly edging out President Donald Trump for the honor. Hillary Clinton was picked as the most admired woman [NBC News].
  • Holiday sales in the U.S. are poised to break a record this year [Reuters].

On this day in history:

  • 1065 – Westminster Abbey is consecrated.
  • 1832 – John Calhoun becomes the first Vice President to resign.
  • 1846 – Iowa is admitted as the 29th state.
  • 1945 – Congress officially recognized the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag of the United States.
  • 1973 – The Endangered Species Act is passed by Congress.