Situational awareness – January 19, 2018

Good Friday morning from Salt Lake City. 

Republicans race to avoid a government shutdown. Are caucus./convention supporters trying to confuse voters? Pence to hit the campaign trail for vulnerable Republicans in 2018.

Tick Tock:

  • 3 days until the opening day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (1/22/2018)
  • 48 days until the final day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (3/8/2018)
  • 49 days until the filing period for candidates in the 2018 election opens (3/9/2018)
  • 55 days until the filing deadline for the 2018 elections (3/15/2018)
  • 60 days until the statewide caucus meetings for Utah Republicans and Democrats (3/20/2018)
  • 92 days until the Utah GOP State Convention (4/21/2018)
  • 99 days until the Utah Democratic State Convention (4/28/2018)
  • 158 days until the 2018 Primary Election (6/26/2018)
  • 291 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 1,019 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

I’ve been listening to quite a few podcasts lately, and there are some people doing tremendous work online right now. One new podcast that’s really gotten my attention is “Atlanta Monster,” which is an examination of the Atlanta Child Murders in 1979. I was just 9 years old when this story was taking place, before 24/7 cable news and on-demand information. I vividly remember watching the evening news daily to see the latest information on this story, which absolutely terrified me at the time. If you have any other podcast recommendations, please send them my way at [email protected]. You can also send me news tips, story ideas, or favorite viral videos.

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Here’s what’s driving the day:

Mitt Romney, secret legal papers, Kathie Allen and Donald Trump pays off a porn star

Bob Bernick and Bryan Schott give you a concise and smart look at the big stories from Utah politics during the past week. It’s Utah’s longest-running online program about politics [Utah Policy]. It’s also available to you in podcast form so you can listen anywhere [Utah Policy].

Count My Vote vs. Keep My Vote

Bob Bernick explains how the proposed Keep My Voice ballot initiative is really just an effort to confuse voters into voting against the Count My Vote initiative [Utah Policy].

Salt Lake City misses out on Amazon HQ2

Salt Lake City did not make the list of 20 finalists for the massive Amazon second headquarters. The project will bring an estimated 50,000 jobs to the winning city and $5 billion in investment from the online retailer [Utah Policy].

Other Utah headlines:

  • Rep. Chris Stewart’s bill to establish a new national park in the former Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is drawing criticism from environmentalists who say it’s a “trojan horse” to erode environmental protections on public lands [New York Times].
  • Rep. Rob Bishop introduces a bill to make it easier to study medical uses of marijuana [Deseret News].
  • Sens. Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee are sponsoring legislation to allow for state oversight of energy development on federal lands [Deseret News].
  • Utah County Attorney Jeff Buhman announces he’s not seeking re-election this year [Daily Herald]. 
  • Ruth Watkins becomes the first female president in University of Utah history [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • Weber State University President Charles Wight says he’s stepping down at the end of June because he’s a finalist for in other university president searches [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • Sutherland Institute President Boyd Matheson is leaving to become the Opinion Editor at the Deseret News [Deseret News].

National headlines:

  • House Republicans were able to get enough votes to pass a short-term spending bill in an effort to avoid a government shutdown on Friday night. However, the Senate is an iffier proposition as Democrats are threatening not to vote for the measure because they still want a fix for DACA. A government shutdown has never happened when one party has unified control of Congress and the White House. [Washington Post].
  • President Donald Trump tweeted Friday morning that the spending bill needs Democratic support, but they “want illegal immigration and weak borders” [Twitter].
  • Here’s what happens if the government shuts down tonight. Retirees will still get their Social Security checks, and the military will continue to operate [The Hill].
  • The FBI is investigating whether Russians with ties to the Kremlin funneled money through the NRA during the 2016 election to help Donald Trump’s campaign [McClatchy].
  • The Trump administration unveiled expanded religious freedom protections for doctors and other healthcare workers [New York Times].
  • Vice President Mike Pence plans to hit the campaign trail this year to help vulnerable Republican members of Congress [Politico].
  • A record number of women are running for office in 2018, most of them Democrats. Women are also donating to political candidates at unprecedented rates [Bloomberg].
  • President Trump’s appointee to the federal agency that runs AmeriCorps has resigned after offensive remarks he made about women, blacks, Muslims, gays, and undocumented immigrants surfaced [Washington Post].
  • The Supreme Court temporarily blocked a lower court order that North Carolina re-draw its congressional districts because they were gerrymandered in favor of Republicans [CNN].

On this day in history:

  • 1861 – Georgia secedes from the Union and joins the Confederacy.
  • 1883 – The first electric lighting system employing overhead wires, built by Thomas Edison, begins service in New Jersey.
  • 1920 – The United States votes against joining the League of Nations.
  • 1937 – Howard Hughes sets a new air record by flying from Los Angeles to New York City in 7 hours, 28 minutes, 25 seconds.
  • 1953 – Almost 72% of all the television sets in America tune into I Love Lucy to watch Lucy give birth.