Situational awareness – March 23, 2018

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

Gov. Herbert says lawmakers are infringing in areas they shouldn’t be. More shakeups in the White House. Congress passes a massive spending bill.

Tick Tock

  • 23 days until the signature-gathering deadline for statewide ballot initiatives (4/15/2018)
  • 29 days until the Utah GOP State Convention (4/21/2018)
  • 36 days until the Utah Democratic State Convention (4/28/2018)
  • 95 days until the 2018 Primary Election (6/26/2018)
  • 228 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 311 days until the first day of the 2019 Utah Legislature (1/28/2019)
  • 957 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

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Here’s what’s driving the day

Overstepping their bounds

Gov. Gary Herbert thinks lawmakers may have encroached too far on some territory that normally belongs to the executive branch during the just-completed session [Utah Policy].

What a week!

Bob Bernick and Bryan Schott tiptoe through a monumental week in Utah politics. Watch the video here [Utah Policy].

Listen to a podcast of our week in review here [Utah Policy].

Time to end the fight against SB54

Bob Bernick ways opponents of the signature-gathering route to the ballot were routed in court this week and should stop wasting everybody else’s time [Utah Policy].

See you in the “Sweet 16”

The last 16 contestants in our 2018 Utah political bracket are set. Check out the updated bracket as we get ready for the “Sweet 16” next week [Utah Policy].

Other Utah Headlines

  • A mysterious company called “Ayers Energy” is buying up drilling rights in Utah’s canyon country, but nobody knows tho the firm really is [Tribune].
  • Gov. Gary Herbert says it’s time for the Utah GOP to give up their fight against SB54 [Deseret News].
  • The Davis County GOP accused Mitt Romney of illegally obtaining delegate lists following Tuesday night’s caucus meetings. The party later backed off that message [Tribune]. 
  • Rep. Chris Stewart wants to see “more aggressive” oversight of social media following the revelation that 50 million Facebook users had their personal data taken by a data firm employed by Donald Trump’s campaign [Deseret News].
  • Gov. Herbert says he wants to tighten up school security to prevent violence like the mass shooting at a Florida high school [Tribune].
  • Democrats in Grand County say the GOP-dominated legislature launched a “sneak attack” by passing a bill allowing the county to change their form of government [Moab Times-Independent].

National headlines

  • President Trump ousts H.R. McMaster as national security adviser and replaces him with Fox News personality John Bolton [Washington Post].
  • President Trump’s top lawyer in the Russia investigation resigns citing disagreements about strategy in the case [CNN].
  • President Trump reportedly mused about firing chief of staff John Kelly and not replacing him. Instead, Trump mused of imposing a system where top aides would report directly to him [NBC News].
  • Congress approved a $1.3 billion spending bill to avoid a government shutdown. The only member of Utah’s delegation who voted in favor of the omnibus spending bill was Sen. Orrin Hatch [Washington Post].
  • Shortly after the Trump administration slapped $60 billion in tariffs on China, the Chinese government fired back with a threat to impose tariffs on American goods. The news caused the Dow to plummet more than 700 points [Washington Post].
  • The House Intelligence Committee voted to release the Republican report on their investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election [ABC News].
  • Guccifer 2.0, the hacker who took credit for providing stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee to WikiLeaks, inadvertently revealed himself to be a Russian intelligence officer [Daily Beast].
  • President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden trade schoolyard insults [New York Times].
  • A new poll finds most teachers in the U.S. do not want to carry guns in the classroom. Rather they would prefer gun control measures instead of “hardening” security at schools [NPR].
  • Former Playboy model Karen McDougal goes public with details of her 10-month affair with President Trump [CNN].

On this day in history

  • 1775 – Patrick Henry delivers his speech – “Give me liberty, or give me death!” – in Richmond, Virginia.
  • 1933 – The Reichstag passes the Enabling Act of 1933, making Adolf Hitler dictator of Germany.
  • 1977 – The first of the Nixon Interviews (12 will be recorded over four weeks) are videotaped with British journalist David Frost interviewing former President Richard Nixon about the Watergate scandal.
  • 1983 – The world’s first recipient of a permanent artificial heart, Barney Clark, died in a Salt Lake City hospital.
  • 1983 – President Ronald Reagan called for the development of an anti-missile defense system to protect the U.S. from nuclear attacks. The Strategic Defense Initiative was dubbed “Star Wars.”