Situational awareness – January 22, 2018

Good Monday morning from Salt Lake City. 

The Utah Legislature gets underway today. Join Contributing Editor Bob Bernick and me for a Facebook Live chat about what we can expect during the next 45 days. We’ll be taking your questions and giving our thoughts on what will happen during the session. Join us on our Facebook page sometime around 9 am.

Government shutdown enters day three. Utah lawmakers return to the hill. Tax reform should be a top issue during the 2018 Legislature.

Tick Tock:

  • Today is the opening day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (1/22/2018)
  • 45 days until the final day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (3/8/2018)
  • 46 days until the filing period for candidates in the 2018 election opens (3/9/2018)
  • 52 days until the filing deadline for the 2018 elections (3/15/2018)
  • 57 days until the statewide caucus meetings for Utah Republicans and Democrats (3/20/2018)
  • 89 days until the Utah GOP State Convention (4/21/2018)
  • 96 days until the Utah Democratic State Convention (4/28/2018)
  • 155 days until the 2018 Primary Election (6/26/2018)
  • 288 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 371 days until the first day of the 2019 Utah Legislature (1/28/2019)
  • 1,016 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

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Here’s what’s driving the day:

Lawmakers head back to the Hill

Here are some of the big issues and important legislation lawmakers will consider during over the next 45 days [Utah Policy].

What Gov. Herbert is watching the next 45 days

Gov. Gary Herbert says he’s paying attention to tax reform and possible changes to the way the Utah Transit Authority is governed as the 2018 session gets underway [Utah Policy].


Gov. Gary Herbert previews the 2018 Legislature with Managing Editor Bryan Schott. They also talk about Utah’s economy, why Herbert is raising so much money if he’s not running again in 2020, and Mitt Romney’s political plans [Utah Policy].

Tax reform or bust

Our “Political Insiders” doubt lawmakers will be able to do anything significant with tax reform during the 2018 session [Utah Policy].

Other Utah headlines:

  • Rep. Mia Love and Mayor Ben McAdams get into a war of words over the government shutdown [Tribune].
  • There’s speculation that Mitt Romney’s inevitable Senate run in 2018 is just the first step in a broader plan, most notably a run for Senate leadership [Business Insider].
  • Speaker Greg Hughes says lawmakers need to approve an ongoing funding stream for the new homeless shelters in Salt Lake City by placing fees on cities and counties for that money [Deseret News].
  • Lawmakers are looking for ways to head off proposed ballot initiatives to expand Medicaid and legalize Medical marijuana [Tribune].
  • Legislators will consider a raft of critical education bills during the first week of the session [Deseret News].
  • There will be at least five bills dealing with medical cannabis during the 2018 session [Deseret News].
  • Utah Democrats may not field candidates in some congressional races in an attempt to focus more on down-ballot contests [Fox 13].
  • The Utah County Republican Party changed its bylaws to allow the party leaders to endorse candidates who go through the convention over signature-gathering candidates [Daily Herald].
  • Some employees accuse Grantsville Mayor Brent Marshall of intimidating and bullying them [Tribune].

National headlines:

  • Who’s gonna blink first? Senate leadership for both sides is unable to reach an agreement, meaning the shutdown will move into the third day. However, a vote on a possible compromise is scheduled for Monday [USA Today].
  • A new survey finds 41% of voters say they blame Republicans for the shutdown while 36% would blame Democrats [Politico].
  • President Donald Trump was mostly out of view this weekend during the first days of the government shutdown. His aides reportedly want to keep him out of the spotlight and away from Twitter [Washington Post].
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham says White House policy adviser Stephen Miller is making it harder for both sides to reach a deal to end the shutdown. Miller is known as a hardliner on immigration issues [The Hill].
  • The FBI says Rep. Devin Nunes won’t show them the potentially explosive memo alleging surveillance abuses by the agency [Daily Beast].
  • The Justice Department has turned over more text messages between two FBI officials who were removed from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. The texts reportedly seem to indicate the two knew that Hillary Clinton would not be charged as a result of the investigation into her use of a private email server before her being interviewed by the Bureau [Fox News]. 
  • Twitter says they found more than 50,000 automated Russian-linked accounts that shared information during the 2016 election, and President Trump interacted with many of those Twitter bots hundreds of times [Business Insider].

On this day in history:

  • 1924 – Senators investigating the Teapot Dome lease scandal declared they would use all the legal powers of the government to get to the truth.
  • 1970 – The Boeing 747, the first “jumbo jet” enters commercial service with a maiden voyage from John F. Kennedy International Airport to London Heathrow Airport.
  • 1973 – The Supreme Court delivers its decisions in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, legalizing elective abortion in all fifty states.
  • 2008 – Jose Padilla, a U.S. citizen accused of plotting to explode a radioactive “dirty bomb” in the United States, was sentenced to 17 years and 4 months in prison.