Situational awareness – January 31, 2018

Good Wednesday morning from Salt Lake City. 

President Donald Trump gives his first State of the Union address. Lawmakers and the NRA face off over increased fees for concealed carry permits. Rep. Chris Stewart says the secret memo alleging misconduct by the FBI is not as earth-shattering as some say. The House advances a bill to undo the SB54 compromise.

Tick Tock:

  • 36 days until the final day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (3/8/2018)
  • 37 days until the filing period for candidates in the 2018 election opens (3/9/2018)
  • 43 days until the filing deadline for the 2018 elections (3/15/2018)
  • 48 days until the statewide caucus meetings for Utah Republicans and Democrats (3/20/2018)
  • 80 days until the Utah GOP State Convention (4/21/2018)
  • 87 days until the Utah Democratic State Convention (4/28/2018)
  • 146 days until the 2018 Primary Election (6/26/2018)
  • 279 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 362 days until the first day of the 2019 Utah Legislature (1/28/2019)
  • 1,007 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

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Here’s what’s driving the day:

Standoff over increased fees for concealed carry permits

Utah lawmakers and the NRA are on opposite sides over a proposal to hike fees for concealed carry permit renewals. Lawmakers say the costs of processing the renewals are going up, while the NRA says the fees are being used to subsidize other areas in the Bureau of Criminal Identification [Utah Policy].

Republicans to allow “Keep My Voice” to gather signatures at caucus meetings

The Utah GOP passed a resolution allowing backers of the ballot initiative to repeal SB54 to gather signatures at the March caucus meetings. Organizers of “Count My Vote,” say they’ll be there too [Utah Policy].

Stewart says “The Memo” is not as earth-shattering as some have claimed

Rep. Chris Stewart says the secret GOP authored memo alleging misconduct by the FBI is not as shocking as we’ve been led to believe. He says some of his colleagues have been overly dramatic in hyping the memo. Despite that, Stewart says there is important information in the document [Utah Policy].

Protecting online data

Rep. Craig Hall is proposing an amendment to Utah’s Constitution to protect electronic data and communications from unreasonable search and seizure [Utah Policy].

Who doesn’t love a good trolling?

Members of the “Buckshot Caucus,” a group of Republican politicians and policymakers, are poking some fun at caucus/convention backers through their online fundraising page [Utah Policy].

Other Utah headlines:

  • Utah Republicans praised President Trump’s State of the Union Address, while Democrats in the beehive state were not impressed [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • A House committee advances a bill that would essentially repeal the SB54 compromise by forcing a candidate to choose either the signature-gathering or caucus/convention route, but not both [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • The Utah Senate passed a bill to allow certain counties to remove officials who are mentally incapacitated. The legislation stems from the Gary Ott situation in Salt Lake County [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • A group advocating for legalizing medical cannabis in Utah is criticizing three medical marijuana bills authored by Rep. Brad Daw [Deseret News].
  • The DABC is considering replacing the”Zion curtain” with the “Zion wall” at some restaurants that also have a bar [Fox 13, Tribune].
  • Rep. John Curtis has been added to the House Natural Resources Committee [E&E News].
  • The Utah House passed a measure to offer family-planning and contraceptive measures to low-income women [Deseret News].
  • More non-Mormons and increased tourism pushed liquor sales in Utah to more than $420 million last year [Associated Press].
  • Tribal leaders are pushing back against a bill sponsored by Rep. John Curtis to establish management of the new Shash Jaa National Monument [Tribune].
  • A House panel approved a measure allowing for 15-year-olds who kill an on-duty police officer to be charged as an adult [Deseret News].
  • Smaller community correction centers would be scattered around the state under legislation advanced by a House committee on Tuesday [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • There are more than 900 million cyberattacks on Utah’s computer systems every day [Tribune].
  • Express lane tolls on I-15 may double soon, and they could quadruple down the road [Tribune].

National news highlights:

  • President Donald Trump discussed the stock market, the economy, immigration, fighting ISIS, and rebuilding infrastructure in his State of the Union Address. He did not talk about the Russia investigation [New York Times].
  • Officials from the Justice Department made a last-minute appeal to the White House to stop the release of a secret memo alleging abuses by the FBI. They claim the memo contains sensitive information that would jeopardize American security [Washington Post].
  • President Trump was caught on a hot mic following the State of the Union Address that he “100 percent” would release the secret memo to the public [The Hill].
  • Rep. Devin Nunes reportedly refused to say whether or not he worked with the white house to produce the memo from the House Intelligence Committee [Daily Beast].
  • Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JP Morgan Chase announced they would form an independent healthcare company for their employees [New York Times].
  • The White House pulled the nomination of Victor Cha to be their ambassador to South Korea after he expressed discomfort with the administration’s North Korea policy [Washington Post].
  • Don’t look now, but the first television ads for the 2020 Democratic presidential primary start airing in Iowa this Sunday [Washington Post].
  • The top-50 spenders on lobbying spent more than $500 million to influence government last year [The Hill].

On this day in history:

  • 1606 – Gunpowder Plot: Guy Fawkes is executed for plotting against Parliament and King James.
  • 1801 – John Marshall is appointed the Chief Justice of the United States.
  • 1865 – Congress passes the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery and submits it to the states for ratification.
  • 1917 – Germany announces it will wage unrestricted submarine warfare against all ships, including passenger carriers, in war-zone waters.
  • 1929 – The Soviet Union expelled communist revolutionary Leon Trotsky. He was assassinated in Mexico in 1940.
  • 1950 – President Harry S. Truman announces a program to develop the hydrogen bomb.
  • 2000 – Illinois Gov. George Ryan halted executions in the state after several death row inmates were found to be innocent of the crimes for which they were to be put to death.