Situational awareness – February 27, 2018

Good Tuesday morning from Salt Lake City. There are just 8 working days until the end of the 2018 Utah Legislature.

What happened inside the bananas Republican party on Saturday. Utahns don’t support toll roads. Congress struggling to build support for gun control measures.

Tick Tock:

  • 9 days until the final day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (3/8/2018)
  • 10 days until the filing period for candidates in the 2018 election opens (3/9/2018)
  • 16 days until the filing deadline for the 2018 elections (3/15/2018)
  • 21 days until the statewide caucus meetings for Utah Republicans and Democrats (3/20/2018)
  • 53 days until the Utah GOP State Convention (4/21/2018)
  • 60 days until the Utah Democratic State Convention (4/28/2018)
  • 119 days until the 2018 Primary Election (6/26/2018)
  • 251 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 335 days until the first day of the 2019 Utah Legislature (1/28/2019)
  • 981 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

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Here’s what’s driving the day:

“We need to kick someone out”

A small group of Utah Republicans wants to eject a candidate who uses the signature-gathering path to the ballot because they think it will help them win their court battle against SB54 [Utah Policy].

Hitting the gas on gun measures

Utah legislative leaders are putting some gun-related bills on the fast track before the end of the session. Possible measures include seizing guns from the mentally ill and more school security [Deseret News, Tribune].

Utahns don’t like the idea of toll roads

A new survey finds Utahns do not support a plan to establish electronic toll roads in Utah. They are more open to a toll road up Little Cottonwood Canyon to reduce congestion [Utah Policy].

Lawmakers back off restrictions on journalists

A House committee trimmed a proposed ban on journalists on the House floor from 45 minutes before a session to just five. However, they could change the ban back to 45 minutes, or longer, once the rule change gets to the floor [Utah Policy].

Putting the brakes on ballot initiatives

Rep. Brad Daw wants to delay for seven months the implementation of any ballot initiative passed by voters. He says that will give lawmakers time to fix any unintended consequences and make changes to state law [Utah Policy].

Homeless funding bill emerges

Rep. Steve Eliason unveils his bill to make cities without a homeless shelter help fund those that do [Utah Policy].

Overhauling education

Sen. Jim Dabakis says the state should scrap the 15-member state school board in favor of a single state superintendent who would be appointed by the governor [Utah Policy].

Utah sues over Obamacare – again

Utah joins 19 other states in a new lawsuit claiming Obamacare is unconstitutional [Utah Policy].

Other Utah headlines:

  • Gov. Gary Herbert spoke with President Donald Trump on Monday about school safety in the wake of the deadly massacre in Florida [Deseret News].
  • Congress is struggling to make changes to the nation’s gun laws. However, Sen. Mike Lee blocked the quick passage of a bill to improve information sharing in the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System [Politico].
  • Sen. Orrin Hatch unveils a bill to give funding to states to help curb school violence [Tribune].
  • Lawmakers are considering two measures to equalize funding between wealthy and poorer school districts. One raises taxes, the other pulls funding from other sources to even out funding [Tribune].
  • A House panel approved a bill to create a new entity with the power to sell the site where the state prison now sits after it moves [Deseret News].
  • A Senate committee moves forward with a bill banning abortions when the sole reason is to prevent a child being born with Down syndrome [Tribune].
  • A Senate committee advanced a bill affirming the right of women to breastfeed in public [Deseret News].
  • Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox shares a deeply personal story about his own struggles with suicide [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • Legislators are considering a bill allowing the governor to remove members of the state board of regents [Deseret News].
  • A House committee approved a bill allowing the sale and regulation of CBD oil [Deseret News].
  • Utah leaders meet with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in Washington, D.C. [Deseret News].
  • Utah lawmakers honor the memory of Jon Huntsman Sr. [Tribune].

National headlines:

  • President Donald Trump criticized the police officer who did not enter the Florida high school while a mass shooting was taking place saying he would have rushed to the school to save the students. Trump would not endorse any proposals to curb gun violence currently under consideration by Congress [New York Times].
  • The Senate is trying to lock down a deal to vote on a number of gun control measures this week [The Hill].
  • The Supreme Court refused to take up the Trump Administration’s request to rule quickly on their plan to end the DACA program on March 5. That leaves in place multiple lower court rulings that all but nullify the March 5 deadline the administration set for dismantling legal protections for young immigrants [Politico].
  • President Trump opens the door to possible talks with North Korea [New York Times].
  • The United Nations says North Korea is likely helping Syria with their chemical weapons program [New York Times].
  • Georgia lawmakers are threatening to block a tax plan that benefits Delta Air Lines after the company ended their relationship with the National Rifle Association [Atlanta Journal-Constitution].
  • A senior US Department of Housing and Urban Development official says she was fired for refusing to fund an expensive redecoration of Secretary Ben Carson’s office [Guardian].
  • This is an unbelievably bizarre story. The majority owner of a Trump hotel in Panama is trying to fire the Trump organization from the business, but the Trump company is refusing to leave. The dispute has led to multiple police confrontations [Washington Post].
  • The number of anti-semitic incidents in the U.S. surged by 57 percent last year according to a new report [New York Times].
  • Scientists can’t figure out why temperatures at the North Pole are surging above freezing even though it’s the middle of winter [Washington Post].

On this day in history:

  • 1860 – Abraham Lincoln makes a speech at Cooper Union in the city of New York that is largely responsible for his election to the presidency.
  • 1922 – A challenge to the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution, allowing women the right to vote, is rebuffed by the Supreme Court in Leser v. Garnett.
  • 1933 – Reichstag fire. Germany’s parliament building in Berlin is set on fire. A young Dutch Communist claims responsibility. The Nazis used the fire to solidify their power and eliminate the communists as political rivals.
  • 1939 – The Supreme Court rules that sit-down strikes violate property owners’ rights and are illegal.
  • 1951 – The Twenty-second Amendment to the Constitution, limiting Presidents to two terms, is ratified.
  • 1991 – First Gulf War: President George H. W. Bush announces “Kuwait is liberated.”