Situational awareness – February 12, 2018

Good Monday morning from Salt Lake City.

Week four of the Utah Legislature gets underway. Lawmakers want to look at whether the feds are paying the state fairly for public lands. Will the Jon Stanard sex scandal affect Republicans at the ballot box in November? President Trump will unveil his $4 trillion budget proposal on Monday.

Tick Tock:

  • 24 days until the final day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (3/8/2018)
  • 25 days until the filing period for candidates in the 2018 election opens (3/9/2018)
  • 31 days until the filing deadline for the 2018 elections (3/15/2018)
  • 36 days until the statewide caucus meetings for Utah Republicans and Democrats (3/20/2018)
  • 68 days until the Utah GOP State Convention (4/21/2018)
  • 75 days until the Utah Democratic State Convention (4/28/2018)
  • 134 days until the 2018 Primary Election (6/26/2018)
  • 266 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 350 days until the first day of the 2019 Utah Legislature (1/28/2019)
  • 996 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

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Here’s what’s driving the day:

Are the feds paying Utah enough for public lands?

Rep. Ken Ivory wants to study whether the payments Utah gets from the federal government are enough to cover the actual costs. He thinks the state may be owed billions more [Utah Policy].

Streamlining the process on Capitol Hill

Sen. Jake Anderegg wants to stop some of the shenanigans his colleagues pull at the end of a legislative session [Utah Policy].

Stanard scandal probably won’t affect whether GOP holds his seat

The sex scandal that forced Jon Stanard from office probably won’t give Democrats a shot at picking up the seat in November [Utah Policy].

A Capitol Hill “honeypot”?

We told you first on Friday that lawmakers are worried that they may be the target of someone trying to put them in a compromising situation following a weird encounter at a Salt Lake City hotel [Utah Policy]. 

Should lawmakers back away from a controversial abortion bill?

Our “Political Insiders” are divided along partisan lines over whether the Utah Legislature should move forward with a controversial anti-abortion bill [Utah Policy].

Entrepreneur jumps into CD2 race

John Sittner, who founded, filed papers with the FEC to run for Utah’s 2nd Congressional District seat as an independent [Utah Policy].

Other Utah headlines:

  • The Utah House passed a right-to-try bill that would allow terminally ill patients to use medical cannabis but rejected a measure to allow the Utah Department of Agriculture to oversee the growing of cannabis in the state [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • House Republicans want to boost teacher pay next year, but their Senate counterparts aren’t sure they have the money [Deseret News].
  • A House committee rejected a bill to ban hand-held devices while driving [Tribune].
  • Vandals painted a pro-Bears Ears message on the Utah Capitol over the weekend [Deseret News].
  • Rep. John Curtis filed his intent to run for re-election on the GOP ticket. He will pursue the nomination through the convention and signature-gathering routes [Deseret News].
  • Salt Lake City’s bid to host another Olympic games will not be stopped if the US Olympic Committee decides not to pursue the 2026 Winter Games [Deseret News].
  • Even if Salt Lake City decides to bid for another Winter Games, the city does not have a dedicated Olympic Park, and the Hoberman Arch is in pieces [Tribune].
  • UDOT has to pay Target $2 million because a highway interchange in American Fork made it difficult for motorists to exit the store [Tribune].

National headlines:

  • President Donald Trump will unveil his $4 trillion budget on Monday. The proposal gives up on the longtime Republican goal of eliminating the deficit in 10 years [Washington Post].
  • Trump’s budget proposal includes drastic cuts to domestic programs while massive spending boosts for the military [Politico].
  • President Trump will also take the wraps off his $1.5 trillion infrastructure spending plan, which encourages cities and states to invest in road and bridge projects [New York Times].
  • The next big battle in Congress will be over immigration. The Senate is set to begin floor debate on the issue this week [CNN]. 
  • Since Trump took office, immigration enforcement officers have dramatically increased the number of immigrants they’ve detained who have no prior criminal convictions [Washington Post].
  • EPA head Scott Pruitt is spending lavishly on first-class travel and hotels according to a review of EPA records. For example, a recent trip to Europe for Pruitt and his top aides cost taxpayers $90,000, which is far more than what it cost for other staffers on the same trip [Washington Post].
  • The fallout from the Rob Porter resignation is roiling the White House and raising speculation whether chief of staff John Kelly is on the chopping block over his handling of the scandal [New York Times].
  • Employers are opting to give employees one-time bonuses instead of wages, which is hurting wage growth. Now, those one-time payments account for a larger percentage of employee compensation budgets than wage increases [New York Times].
  • The Trump Administration wants to turn the International Space Station into a commercially run venture. The administration is proposing to end spending on the station by 2024, turning the station over to the private sector following that [Washington Post].
  • Amazon is launching their own package-delivery service to compete with FedEx and UPS [Business Insider].
  • The New York AG filed a lawsuit over the sale of the Weinstein Company, saying the proceeds from the sale should benefit the women Harvey Weinstein is accused of sexually harassing. The lawsuit alleges a “toxic environment for women” who worked at the firm [New York Times].

On this day in history:

  • 1541 – Santiago, Chile was founded.
  • 1733 – Englishman James Oglethorpe founds Georgia, the 13th American Colony, and its first city at Savannah.
  • 1915 – The first stone of the Lincoln Memorial is put into place in Washington, D.C. 
  • 1963 – Construction begins on the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri.
  • 1999 – President Bill Clinton is acquitted by the United States Senate in his impeachment trial.
  • 2004 – The city of San Francisco begins issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in response to a directive from Mayor Gavin Newsom.