Situational awareness – February 15, 2018

Good Thursday morning from Salt Lake City.

Romney delays his announcement because of a horrific school shooting in Florida. Hughes says Utahns will see some tax relief this year. A bi-partisan group of Senators reached a deal on immigration.

Tick Tock:

  • 21 days until the final day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (3/8/2018)
  • 22 days until the filing period for candidates in the 2018 election opens (3/9/2018)
  • 28 days until the filing deadline for the 2018 elections (3/15/2018)
  • 33 days until the statewide caucus meetings for Utah Republicans and Democrats (3/20/2018)
  • 65 days until the Utah GOP State Convention (4/21/2018)
  • 72 days until the Utah Democratic State Convention (4/28/2018)
  • 131 days until the 2018 Primary Election (6/26/2018)
  • 263 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 347 days until the first day of the 2019 Utah Legislature (1/28/2019)
  • 993 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

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Here’s what’s driving the day:

Romney delays his announcement

Mitt Romney was set to announce his candidacy for U.S. Senate on Thursday but abruptly delayed that because of Wednesday’s mass shooting in Florida [Utah Policy].

How will Romney deal with Trump on the campaign trail?

This must-read on Romney’s campaign for Senate says the former GOP presidential nominee will “carefully skirt questions” about how he plans to interact with President Trump. Instead, he will paint himself as a candidate focused on local issues. There’s lots more worth your time [Politico].

Utah GOP chair gets crossways with Romney

Utah GOP chairman Rob Anderson said earlier on Wednesday that he hadn’t spoken to Romney at all ahead of his Senate run, then said Romney owed Utah voters an explanation why he was running for Senate in Utah when he’s not a regular resident. Anderson later said he spoke with Romney and apologized [Utah Policy].

The return of “Frugal Dougall”?

State Auditor John Dougall says he’s bothered by the apparent “coronation” of Romney, so he’s thinking about running for U.S. Senate, too in order to give voters a choice [Utah Policy].

Tax relief coming

House Speaker Greg Hughes tells us that Utahns should expect the Legislature to act on some form of tax cut this year, but it might only be a modest reduction [Utah Policy].

Martha goes to Washington

The Utah House passed the resolution to replace the statue of Philo Farnsworth in Washington, D.C. with one of Martha Hughes Cannon [Utah Policy].

Bears Ears bill is likely finished

Rep. John Curtis says his bill to enshrine the changes President Donald Trump made to the Bears Ears monument does not have enough support to pass Congress right now. He’s worried a future president could flip Trump’s changes back to the original boundaries [Utah Policy].

More legal trouble

Iron County GOP Treasurer and former chairman Blake Cozzens was arrested in a prostitution sting in St. George on Tuesday [Utah Policy].

Other Utah headlines:

  • The Senate advanced a bill to provide low-income women with birth control. It will face one more vote [Deseret NewsTribune].
  • Rep. Norm Thurston’s bill to allow the state to import prescription drugs from Canada squeaked through the House on Wednesday [Tribune].
  • A House committee approved a measure to speed up construction of state liquor stores [Tribune].
  • Rep. Joel Briscoe wants to let 17-year-olds vote in primary elections if they’ll be 18 by the time of the general election [Deseret News].
  • Rep. Angela Romero wants schoolteachers to undergo training to help prevent child sexual abuse [Deseret News].
  • Rep. Marie Poulson has a bill allowing foreign visitors to use ID other than their passport to buy alcohol [Deseret News].
  • Utah wants to opt out of student testing requirements under the Every Student Succeeds Act [Deseret News].
  • Salt Lake City approves the demolition of a structure to allow the expansion of The Other Side Academy [Deseret News].

National headlines:

  • Tragedy in Florida: A former student walked into a Florida high school and opened fire on Wednesday, killing 17. It was the worst school shooting since the Newtown massacre [Washington Post].
  • A bi-partisan group of Senators reached a deal on immigration that would grant legal status to 1.8 million young immigrants while appropriating $25 billion for a wall on the southern border. President Donald Trump is not happy with the deal and has threatened to veto it [Washington Post].
  • At least 100 White House officials, including Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and Rob Porter, were operating with interim security clearances for nearly a year after President Trump took office [CNN].
  • As the Rob Porter scandal rolls into a ninth day, President Donald Trump finally spoke out saying he was “totally opposed to domestic violence” [New York Times].
  • The EPA changes their story about luxury travel by agency head Scott Pruitt. The agency initially said Pruitt received a “blanket waiver” to fly first class when he travels, but federal travel rules prohibit those arrangements [Politico].

On this day in history:

  • 1764 – The city of St. Louis is established in what is now Missouri.
  • 1879 – President Rutheford B. Hayes signs a bill allowing female attorneys to argue cases before the Supreme Court.
  • 1898 – The battleship USS Maine explodes and sinks in Havanna harbor in Cuba. The event led the United States to declare war on Spain.
  • 1933 – In Miami, Giuseppe Zangara attempts to assassinate President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt, but instead shoots Chicago mayor Anton J. Cermak, who later dies from his wounds.