Situational awareness – February 13, 2018

Good Tuesday morning from Salt Lake City.

Lawmakers abandon the attempt to hijack the medical cannabis initiative. Lawmakers may attempt to force Attorney General Sean Reyes to sue opioid manufacturers. Trump’s budget has big cuts for social programs, but a big boost for the military.

Tuesday morning scoop: has learned Jan Garbett, who was Democrat Vaughn Cook’s running mate in the 2016 gubernatorial race, is set to run for the 2nd congressional district seat under the banner of the United Utah Party. Garbett’s husband Bryson served two terms in the Utah House in the 1980’s. The couple owns Garbett Homes, so she should be able to bring some personal wealth to the race.

Tick Tock:

  • 23 days until the final day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (3/8/2018)
  • 24 days until the filing period for candidates in the 2018 election opens (3/9/2018)
  • 30 days until the filing deadline for the 2018 elections (3/15/2018)
  • 35 days until the statewide caucus meetings for Utah Republicans and Democrats (3/20/2018)
  • 67 days until the Utah GOP State Convention (4/21/2018)
  • 74 days until the Utah Democratic State Convention (4/28/2018)
  • 133 days until the 2018 Primary Election (6/26/2018)
  • 265 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 349 days until the first day of the 2019 Utah Legislature (1/28/2019)
  • 995 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

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Here’s what’s driving the day:

No more marijuana shenanigans

Lawmakers abandon the main effort to circumvent the medical marijuana ballot initiative before it gets to November’s ballot [Utah Policy].

Opioid lawsuit

Even though the legislature can’t tell Attorney General Sean Reyes what to do, Rep. Mike McKell is sponsoring a resolution calling on him to sue opioid manufacturers “immediately” [Utah Policy].

“Absolute right”

A new piece of legislation from Sen. Stuart Adams asserts that the legislature has the “absolute right” to intervene in lawsuits against the state over whether laws they’ve passed are constitutional. The bill could lead to the creation of a new legal team on the Hill that works for the legislature [Utah Policy].

Other Utah headlines:

  • Rep. Greg Hughes was at the White House on Monday for the rollout of President Trump’s infrastructure plan [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • Washington County GOP delegates pick attorney Travis Seegmiller to replace Jon Stanard in the Utah Legislature. Seegmiller is also an associate professor of law and economics at Dixie State University [St. George Spectrum].
  • House Republicans revive, then pass a bill to create an oversight committee with the power to subpoena state and local government entities [Deseret News, Associated Press, Tribune].
  • The House approved Rep. Cory Maloy’s “stand your ground” self-defense bill despite loud objections from Democrats [Deseret News].
  • The Utah Senate advanced a measure to prevent cities from giving huge tax breaks like the one Sandy City gave to Rio Tinto Stadium without much public scrutiny [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • The Utah House rejects Rep. Brian King’s bill requiring people who witness an assault or an accident to call 911 [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • A bill to facilitate the removal of some county officials who are mentally incapacitated advances to the House floor [Deseret News].
  • The bill to replace Philo Farnsworth’s statue in the U.S. Capitol with a statue of Martha Hughes Cannon moves out of a House committee [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • A House committee approved a ban on political donations to the executive branch during the legislative session [Deseret News].
  • Sen. Lincoln Fillmore wants the state to spend $36 million to equalize funding between richer and poorer school districts [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • Authorities are reviewing surveillance footage of an alleged entrapment attempt on a Utah lawmaker at a Salt Lake City hotel [Deseret News].
  • Lawmakers are considering a bill that could send low-level offenders to job training instead of jail [Deseret News].

National headlines:

  • President Trump’s $4.4 trillion budget proposal makes big cuts to social safety net programs like food stamps and housing vouchers while boosting spending on the military [Washington Post].
  • The Trump budget contains a novel plan to replace food stamps with food boxes for those requiring assistance [Politico].
  • Trump’s budget also allocates $10 million to continue special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into FY2019 [Politico].
  • Congressional conservatives are angry that their colleagues and President Trump are blowing trillion-dollar holes in the budget with their recent spending sprees [Associated Press].
  • The Senate begins the search for an immigration deal. Nobody knows if they can get to 60 votes on any proposal right now [Politico].
  • The revolving door at the White House has led to a 34% turnover rate in the Trump administration, which is higher than any administration in decades [New York Times].
  • Boring but important: Economists are fearful that U.S. workers won’t have the skills needed to handle the next generation of jobs wrought by the technological revolution [The Hill].
  • Satelite data shows sea levels are rising because of climate change. A new report says sea levels have risen about 3 inches since 1993, but the rate is increasing [CNN].
  • A former top FBI official has been hired by BuzzFeed to verify parts of the dossier of allegations against President Trump compiled by former British intelligence agency Michael Steele [Foreign Policy].
  • Omarosa Manigault, who was fired from the Trump White House, is making shocking claims about the Trump administration on the Big Brother reality show. The latest? Vice President Mike Pence would be “worse than Trump” because he “thinks Jesus tells him to say things” [Washington Post].
  • Gun sales are cratering now that Donald Trump is in the White House. The company that owns Smith & Wesson reported a 90% drop in quarterly profit and a 36% drop in sales [CNN Money]. Veteran gun manufacturer Remington is filing for bankruptcy [CNN Money].
  • Amazon is laying off corporate employees, cutting several hundred jobs at their Seattle headquarters [Seattle Times].
  • Despite the “Trump bump” in ratings, CNN is readying to lay off dozens of employees [Vanity Fair].

On this day in history:

  • 1542 – Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of Henry VIII of England, is executed for adultery.
  • 1633 – Galileo Galilei arrives in Rome for his trial before the Inquisition.
  • 1635 – The Boston Latin School was founded. It is the oldest public school in the United States.
  • 1935 – A jury in New Jersey finds Bruno Hauptmann guilty of the 1932 kidnapping and murder of the Lindbergh baby, the son of Charles Lindbergh.
  • 1960 – Black college students stage the first of the Nashville sit-ins at three lunch counters in Nashville, Tennessee.