Situational awareness – March 12, 2018

Good Monday morning from Salt Lake City. Welcome to Utah’s must-read daily political news roundup. 

Utahns either like President Trump’s policies, but not him or dislike everything about him according to a new poll. Our “Political Power” bracket is out. The Trump administration unveils a proposal to arm some school teachers.

Notable: 15 years ago today, Elizabeth Smart was found alive in Salt Lake City. 

Tick Tock:

  • 3 days until the filing deadline for the 2018 elections (3/15/2018)
  • 8 days until the statewide caucus meetings for Utah Republicans and Democrats (3/20/2018)
  • 40 days until the Utah GOP State Convention (4/21/2018)
  • 47 days until the Utah Democratic State Convention (4/28/2018)
  • 106 days until the 2018 Primary Election (6/26/2018)
  • 238 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 322 days until the first day of the 2019 Utah Legislature (1/28/2019)
  • 968 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

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Here’s what’s driving the day:

Utah’s like Trump’s policies, but don’t like him as a person

In our latest poll, we asked Utahns their attitude toward President Donald Trump. We found very few said they “liked everything about him.” They mostly said they either liked his policies while disliking Trump personally, or they dislike everything about him [Utah Policy].

Utah “Political Power” bracket

It’s the Utah political version of “March Madness.” We’ve set our field of 64 Utah political power players. #1 seeds are Mitt Romney, Gary Herbert, Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee. Check out the rest of the seeds and our full bracket. Voting for the tournament starts Tuesday [Utah Policy].

Mike Noel calls it quits

Republican firebrand Mike Noel tells us “It’s been a great ride, but 16 years is enough,” as he decides to retire from the legislature [Utah Policy].

Turnover on Utah’s Capitol Hill

At least 16 members of the Utah House won’t be back next year, while 4 members of the Utah Senate are calling it a career. Check out our list of retirements [Utah Policy].

Best and worst from the 2018 Legislature

Our “Political Insiders” weigh in on the highlights and lowlights from the 2018 session that ended last week. Lots of talk about education funding and the attempt to name a highway after President Donald Trump [Utah Policy].

Why consider the United Utah Party in 2018?

UUP Chairman Richard Davis argues Utah voters should give the UUP a chance in this year’s elections [Utah Policy]. 

Candidate filings

Candidates are filing to run for office in this year’s elections. Stay up to date with our 2018 candidate trackers:

Other Utah headlines

  • Salt Lake City officials are calling on Gov. Gary Herbert to veto the inland port bill. Democratic Senators blast the city’s lobbyists for the poor outcome [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • Backers of the full Medicaid expansion ballot initiative say they will continue pushing to make the November ballot even though the Utah Legislature passed a limited expansion in 2018 [Deseret News].
  • BYU tells Mitt Romney to stop using campus footage in his campaign videos [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • The Utah Bar blames “human error” as the reason they emailed boobs to every lawyer in the state [Fox 13, Deseret News].
  • Employees began moving into the new Salt Lake County DA offices last week [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • The NRA donated more than $800 million to Utah organizations, including $47,000 to schools from 2010 to 2016 [Associated Press].
  • A bill passed in the just-completed legislative session raises the bar on reading standards in Utah elementary schools [Deseret News].
  • Dr. Jennifer Plumb, who pushed for wider access to Naloxone for opioid addicts, is running to replace Sen. Jim Dabakis in the Utah Legislature [Tribune].

National headlines

  • The White House unveils a plan to “harden” schools by arming some teachers but backed off a proposal to raise the federal age to buy a gun [Washington Post].
  • Republicans are pouring everything they’ve got into tomorrow’s special Congressional election in Pennsylvania. President Trump won the district in 2016 by 20-points, but Democrat Connor Lamb now has a small lead in the polls [Politico].
  • Must watch! Education Secretary Betsy DeVos had a train wreck of an interview with 60 Minutes on Sunday night. She could not answer basic questions about school performance and host Leslie Stahl raked her over the coals about her push for school choice [CBS News].
  • President Trump’s lawyers are considering legal action to keep 60 Minutes from airing an interview with adult film actress Stormy Daniels. The news program reportedly plans to air the interview next Sunday [BuzzFeed].
  • Special counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly close to finishing his investigation into whether President Donald Trump obstructed justice, but may hold off with any action because it may cause witnesses in other parts of his investigation to become uncooperative [Bloomberg].
  • The Trump administration is reportedly close to unveiling their plan for middle east peace, but the blueprint may be dead on arrival as the Palestinians are upset that Trump declared Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel [New York Times].
  • President Trump plans to visit a Boeing plant in Missouri later this week to tout the tax cut plan passed by Congress late last year [Reuters].

On this day in history

  • 1894 – Coca-Cola is bottled and sold for the first time in Vicksburg, Mississippi, by local soda fountain operator Joseph A. Biedenham.
  • 1912 – The Girl Guides (later renamed the Girl Scouts of the USA) are founded.
  • 1933 – Franklin Roosevelt addresses the nation for the first time as President of the United States. This is also the first of his “fireside chats.”
  • 1938 – Nazi Germany invaded and occupied Austria.
  • 1947 – The Truman Doctrine is proclaimed to help stem the spread of Communism.
  • 2009 – Financier Bernie Madoff pleads guilty in New York to scamming $18 billion, the largest in Wall Street’s history.