Situational awareness – February 9, 2018

Good Friday morning from Salt Lake City.

“Stupidest shutdown ever.” Stanard resigned because a pair of trysts with a prostitute was about to become public. Lawmakers consider giving teachers a big pay raise.

Tick Tock:

  • 27 days until the final day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (3/8/2018)
  • 30 days until the filing period for candidates in the 2018 election opens (3/9/2018)
  • 34 days until the filing deadline for the 2018 elections (3/15/2018)
  • 39 days until the statewide caucus meetings for Utah Republicans and Democrats (3/20/2018)
  • 71 days until the Utah GOP State Convention (4/21/2018)
  • 78 days until the Utah Democratic State Convention (4/28/2018)
  • 137 days until the 2018 Primary Election (6/26/2018)
  • 269 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 353 days until the first day of the 2019 Utah Legislature (1/28/2019)
  • 998 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

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Here’s what’s driving the day:

A scandal erupts

A British tabloid scoops everybody by reporting that former Republican Rep. Jon Stanard, who resigned Tuesday night suddenly, had paid a prostitute twice in 2017 for sex. The report included screenshots of text messages between Stanard and the escort. Stanard apparently was reimbursed with taxpayer funds to pay for his hotel stays during the two times he met the woman [Utah Policy].

A breathtaking week in politics

An unexpected resignation that somehow got worse. Utah lawmakers try to figure out how to spend half a billion dollars in extra money. Gathering signatures to kill signature gathering. Bob Bernick and Bryan Schott dissect what it all means in their weekly video [Utah Policy]. The conversation is also available as a podcast [Utah Policy].

Lawmakers want to boost teacher pay

Legislative Republicans say they plan to take a little more than half of the $69 million they cut from the base budget to give Utah teachers a $2,000 pay raise. It’s not clear if that will be enough to turn public opinion against the “Our Schools Now” ballot initiative [Utah Policy].

Here comes the first tax cut proposal from the Utah Legislature

Rep. Dan McCay, who may or may not be running for U.S. Senate, is proposing a cut in income and corporate taxes [Utah Policy].

Karl Rove says things in Washington aren’t as bad as they could be

The former Bush administration official spoke at the Hinckley Institute of Politics with the message that things are bound to improve [Utah Policy].

Other Utah headlines:

  • Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke will visit Salt Lake City on Friday to make a “major” announcement about conservation [Deseret News].
  • Rep. Lowry Snow appears to be backing away from his proposal to end the secret recording of conversations and phone calls [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • The Utah House rejected a bill that would have undone the SB54 compromise, requiring candidates to choose either the signature or caucus/convention route to the ballot [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • The House kills a measure requiring teenagers who kill an on-duty police officer to be tried as adults [Tribune].
  • Rep. Joel Briscoe wants $300,000 to develop a school curriculum to address the opioid abuse crisis [Deseret News].
  • Sen. Todd Weiler proposes to require internet service providers to make their customers aware of services to filter out internet pornography [Deseret News].
  • Sen. Howard Stephenson wants to prohibit police departments from imposing ticket and arrest quotas on their officers [Tribune].
  • The Senate gave final approval to a measure seeking to cut back on the number of days Utahns can set off fireworks. The bill now goes to the governor’s desk [Tribune].
  • Rep. Mike Schultz is back with a bill to prohibit non-compete agreements, but only for employees who work in the news media [Deseret News].
  • A House committee approved Rep. Justin Fawson’s bill to make it clear that women are allowed to breastfeed in public [Tribune].
  • Some members of the Utah Board of Education are not happy about a bill that takes away their power to approve or turn down new charter school applications [Tribune].
  • Two former prosecutors are suing the Attorney General’s office saying they were retaliated against and forced out of their jobs for reporting misconduct [Deseret News].
  • The Ogden School District is considering closing down some schools after voters rejected a $106 million bond proposal [KUTV].

National headlines:

  • A five-hour shutdown. Congress missed a deadline to pass a massive spending bill but voted to re-open the government a little more than five hours later. The funding deal adds nearly $400 billion in new spending and balloons the national debt by about $1 trillion [Washington Post].
  • “Dumbest shutdown ever.” Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi both contributed to the shutdown on Thursday night but didn’t change a single word of the outcome. Paul delayed a roll-call vote on the massive funding deal until after midnight, while Pelosi held back Democratic votes to put pressure on House Republicans [Politico].
  • Fallout from the Rob Porter scandal. Top aides in the White House were aware of the allegations of domestic abuse against Porter since late last fall, raising questions of whether they hid the allegations to protect Porter [New York Times].
  • President Donald Trump was reportedly only made fully aware of the accusations against Porter this week. “He was f***ing pissed,” said one Republican with knowledge of that conversation [Vanity Fair].
  • The Porter situation points to a larger problem. Porter was one of dozens of employees at the White House who has been unable to get a permanent security clearance [Washington Post].
  • The Trump administration may allow immigration officers to determine if a potential immigrant’s use of taxpayer-funded benefits might become a public burden [Reuters].
  • Senate Democrats in states Trump won in 2016 have raised more campaign money than their Republican challengers this year [Bloomberg].
  • Global stocks are headed for their worst week in nearly a decade this week [Reuters].
  • Employees at the Libertarian Cato Institute say they were sexually harassed by co-founder Ed Crane [Politico].

On this day in history:

  • 1775 – British Parliament declares Massachusetts in rebellion during the American Revolutionary War.
  • 1825 – After no candidate receives a majority of electoral votes in the presidential election of 1824, the House of Representatives elects John Quincy Adams as president.
  • 1861 – Jefferson Davis is elected the Provisional President of the Confederate States of America by the Confederate convention in Montgomery, Alabama.
  • 1889 – President Grover Cleveland signs a bill elevating the Department of Agriculture to a Cabinet-level agency.
  • 1942 – Year-round Daylight saving time is re-installed in the United States as a wartime measure to help conserve energy resources.
  • 1950 – Senator Joseph McCarthy accuses the Department of State of being filled with Communists.
  • 1964 – The Beatles make their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. An estimated 73 million people watched the broadcast.