Situational awareness – March 9, 2018

Good Friday morning from Salt Lake City. Welcome to Utah’s must-read daily political news roundup. It’s over! The 2018 Legislature has ended, but the 2018 election season is open for business!

Lawmakers adjourn for 2018. Gov. Gary Herbert hails increased funding for public education. President Donald Trump accepts an invitation to meet with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.

Tick Tock:

  • Today the filing period for candidates in the 2018 election opens (3/9/2018)
  • 6 days until the filing deadline for the 2018 elections (3/15/2018)
  • 11 days until the statewide caucus meetings for Utah Republicans and Democrats (3/20/2018)
  • 43 days until the Utah GOP State Convention (4/21/2018)
  • 50 days until the Utah Democratic State Convention (4/28/2018)
  • 109 days until the 2018 Primary Election (6/26/2018)
  • 241 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 325 days until the first day of the 2019 Utah Legislature (1/28/2019)
  • 971 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

Do you like podcasts? Give us a download! Listen to our interviews with Utah political newsmakers and “Bernick and Schott on politics” while you’re on the go. Hosts Bryan Schott and Bob Bernick have more than 60 years combined experience covering Utah politics, so they bring you knowledge and insight that’s unprecedented. You can subscribe using iTunesGoogle Play, and Stitcher.

I’m always available for you to send story ideas, tips, suggestions or if you’d like to play some air hockey. I’ll beat all comers! Hit me up at [email protected].

If you have friends or colleagues who would enjoy receiving this daily news rundown, tell them they can subscribe to our newsletter here.

Here’s what’s driving the day:

Sine Die!

Here’s our rundown of the winners and losers of the last 45 days on Utah’s Capitol Hill [Utah Policy].

“One of the best” legislative sessions

Gov. Gary Herbert can barely contain his glee about big funding boosts for public education and the grand bargain between the legislature and Our Schools Now [Utah Policy]. Here’s the video of our last day of the 2018 session interview with Gov. Herbert [Utah Policy]. If you prefer a podcast of the conversation, we have you covered [Utah Policy].

It’s up to the voters

Lawmakers passed the deal with Our Schools Now that will put a gas tax hike on November’s ballot, and boost school funding through a property tax increase [Utah Policy].

UTA reform passes

Lawmakers take a victory lap on their bill to overhaul the UTA and provide some much-needed money for transit projects [Utah Policy].

More retirements on the Hill

Here’s our updated list of lawmakers who are calling it quits this year [Utah Policy].

The GOP civil war heats up

GOP lawmakers have taken to calling the group of central committee dissidents who passed an illegal bylaw change “Area 51,” because they’re a weird bunch. But, as Bob Bernick writes, that small group may learn it’s not wise to upset the elected officials in their own party [Utah Policy].

What a week!

Funding deals, tax cuts, tax hikes, big budget numbers, GOP civil war, Donald Trump and Stormy Daniels. You’ll find all of that, and more, as Bob Bernick and Bryan Schott dig through a crazy week in Utah politics [Utah Policy]. If you want to catch up with the political news on the go, here’s a podcast version [Utah Policy]. 

More Romney and the Russians

An analysis found Russian “troll farms” pushed hard to torpedo Mitt Romney’s bid to become Secretary of State under President Trump [Utah Policy].

Other Utah headlines

  • Gov. Gary Herbert says he will sign the controversial inland port bill. The final version of that legislation was passed swiftly without any input from Salt Lake City leaders [Deseret News].
  • Rep. Robert Spendlove’s bill to expand Medicaid with work requirements and caps on what Utah will spend on the program. It’s still up to the Trump administration to grant Utah waivers for the limits on expansion [Deseret News].
  • Well funded ballot initiatives became a new tool to push lawmakers in directions they’ve previously been reluctant to go during the 2018 session [Tribune].
  • A bill asking the feds to use Medicaid funds to pay for mobile crisis teams of mental health experts zooms through the Senate and heads to the Governor [Deseret News].
  • Gov. Gary Herbert says he wants to “push pause” on the plan to rename the Utah Transit Authority, but he does support other reforms contained in the bill to overhaul the agency [Deseret News].
  • Lawmakers pass a resolution calling on A.G. Sean Reyes to sue the manufacturers of opioids [Deseret News].
  • Rep. Brad Daw’s bill to delay the implementation of any ballot initiatives passed by Utah voters dies in the final hours of the 2018 session. Backers of the medical cannabis initiative say the bill was targeting them [Deseret News].

National headlines

  • President Donald Trump accepts an invitation to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. If the meeting happens, Trump would be the first American president to meet with the leader of North Korea [Washington Post].
  • President Donald Trump moved ahead with his controversial plan to slap steep tariffs on steel and aluminum, despite pushback from Republicans and rattled the markets [CNN].
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden sure looks like he’s gearing up to run for president in 2020. His team is already looking for ways to shake up the race [Politico].
  • The Trump administration blocks Idaho’s attempt to circumvent the Affordable Care Act by allowing the sale of stripped-down health insurance plans [New York Times].
  • The Interior Department is spending $139K to upgrade three sets of doors on Secretary Ryan Zinke’s office [Associated Press].
  • Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, who is under indictment from special counsel Robert Mueller is wearing two GPS monitoring bracelets because he is facing charges in both Washington, D.C., and Virginia [Buzzfeed].
  • A new study finds that fake news stories spread farther and faster online than truthful reporting [Washington Post].
  • Former President Obama is in talks with Netflix to provide shows for the online streaming service [New York Times].
  • Mississippi is set to pass one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country [CNN].

On this day in history

  • 1009 – First known mention of Lithuania, in the annals of the monastery of Quedlinburg.
  • 1841 – The Supreme Court rules in the United States v. The Amistad cast that captive Africans who had seized control of the ship carrying them had been carrying them had been taken into slavery illegally.
  • 1864 – Gen. Ulysses S. Grant was appointed the commander in chief of Union forces in the Civil War.
  • 1933 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt submits the Emergency Banking Act to Congress, the first of his New Deal policies.
  • 1959 – The Barbie doll makes its debut at the American International Toy Fair in New York.