Situational awareness – March 28, 2018

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

Support for Medicaid expansion ticks upward. Herbert vetoes two bills. Trump wants the military to pay for his border wall.

Tick Tock

  • 18 days until the signature-gathering deadline for statewide ballot initiatives (4/15/2018)
  • 24 days until the Utah GOP State Convention (4/21/2018)
  • 31 days until the Utah Democratic State Convention (4/28/2018)
  • 40 days until the final day a veto override session may begin (5/7/2018)
  • 90 days until the 2018 Primary Election (6/26/2018)
  • 223 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 306 days until the first day of the 2019 Utah Legislature (1/28/2019)
  • 952 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

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Here’s what’s driving the day

More than 6 in 10 Utahns support Medicaid expansion ballot measure

A new survey finds that 61% of Utahns support a proposed ballot initiative to take full Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. That support is up slightly from November [Utah Policy].

Herbert vetoes two bills in the separation of powers battle with lawmakers

Gov. Gary Herbert vetoed two bills he felt infringed on the powers of the executive branch. The bills passed with supermajorities, which could set up a veto override showdown. He also warned lawmakers to stop legislating on non-compete contracts, saying any further attempts would be met with a veto [Utah Policy].

Derek Miller to head Salt Lake Chamber

The Salt Lake Chamber names Derek Miller, former chief of staff to Gov. Gary Herbert, as their new president and CEO. He replaces the retiring Lane Beattie who is leaving the organization after 15 years [Utah Policy].

Consumer confidence soaring!

The Consumer Attitude Index in Utah hits an all-time high in March. However, national consumer confidence slips a bit [Utah Policy].

Why we should worry about China

Andy Pierucci argues the rest of the world should worry about China’s move to eliminate term limits on their leader [Utah Policy].

2018 Utah political bracket

We’ve made it to the quarterfinal round of our 2018 political bracket. Check out yesterday’s results and the quarterfinal matchups here [Utah Policy].

Other Utah headlines

  • Gov. Gary Herbert signed a Medicaid expansion bill passed by lawmakers in the 2018 session that includes a work requirement and enrollment caps. The state still needs a waiver from the Trump administration to implement the expansion, though [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • U.S. Senate candidate Mitt Romney is struggling to clarify his stance on so-called Dreamers after he said the children of undocumented immigrants “need to do more” to justify staying in the country [Deseret News].
  • Two friends of Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox say they’ve already started a political action committee to boost a possible gubernatorial run by Cox in 2020 [Associated Press].
  • Former Attorney General John Swallow wants a judge to dismiss accusations he committed election fraud [Tribune, Deseret News].
  • The DABC approved a beer license for an Ogden bar that allows patrons to throw axes at targets [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • More than 80 weapons were found in Utah County schools last year [Daily Herald].

National headlines

  • Nobody cares about the Stormy Daniels controversy. A new poll finds that while most voters in the U.S. believe Daniels’ story that she had an affair with Trump, the poll finds that the controversy has not significantly changed how voters feel about Trump [Politico].
  • Surprise! President Trump is now suggesting that the U.S. military pays for his proposed wall on the border with Mexico. He repeatedly promised during the 2016 campaign that Mexico would somehow pay for the wall [Associated Press].
  • At least 12 states have announced plans to sue the Trump administration over the announcement that a question about citizenship status will be included on the 2020 Census [New York Times].
  • The Trump administration scores a trade deal with South Korea which opens the South Korean market to U.S. automakers by lifting limits on American car manufacturers [New York Times].
  • Top GOP donors are worried about a growing Democratic wave that could cost Republicans control of the House [The Hill].
  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un makes a surprise visit to Beijing this week. It is believed to be his first foreign trip since he took power in North Korea [Washington Post].
  • North Korea is starting up a nuclear reactor that they say will provide power for their citizens, but could also produce fuel for nuclear weapons [New York Times].
  • Nightmare scenario. The City of Atlanta is recovering from a ransomware attack that has brought the city’s digital infrastructure to its knees since Thursday [New York Times].

On this day in history

  • 1979 – A coolant leak at the Three Mile Island’s Unit 2 nuclear reactor outside of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania leads to the core overheating and a partial meltdown.
  • 1984 – Bob Irsay moved the Baltimore Colts NFL team to Indianapolis without any announcement. 
  • 2006 – Lobbyist Jack Abramoff, with ties to several members of Congress, was sentenced to six years in prison after a conviction on fraud charges.