Situational awareness – April 2, 2018

Good Monday morning from Salt Lake City, and welcome to the first weekday of April.

The Utah GOP may move to reign in the power of the Central Committee. Utahns favor an independent redistricting commission. The trade war with China heats up.

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Tick Tock

  • 14 days until the signature-gathering deadline for statewide ballot initiatives (4/16/2018)
  • 19 days until the Utah GOP State Convention (4/21/2018)
  • 26 days until the Utah Democratic State Convention (4/28/2018)
  • 35 days until the final day a veto override session may begin (5/7/2018)
  • 85 days until the 2018 Primary Election (6/26/2018)
  • 218 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 301 days until the first day of the 2019 Utah Legislature (1/28/2019)
  • 947 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

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Here are the news stories driving Monday

GOP smackdown

Utah GOP delegates are proposing some changes to the party’s governing documents that are designed to put the clamps on some members of the State Central Committee [Utah Policy].

Redistricting commission popular

Our latest survey finds that most Utahns favor the ballot initiative to create an independent redistricting commission, but nearly 1/4 don’t have an opinion [Utah Policy].

Signature update

The medical marijuana ballot initiative nearly has enough signatures to qualify for November’s ballot. Count My Vote is moving closer to securing a spot, while the redistricting and Medicaid expansion proposals are lagging behind. The Keep My Voice proposal still has not turned in any signatures [Utah Policy].

Will anti-gun violence protests do any good?

Our “Political Insiders” weigh in on whether the “March for our Lives” will have a lasting effect on the gun debate in America [Utah Policy]. 

Political bracket challenge “Final Four”

We’re down to the semifinals in our 2018 Utah political bracket. Cast your vote now to decide who goes to tomorrow’s finals [Utah Policy].

Other Utah headlines

  • Utah’s Latino legislators decry plans to include a question about citizenship status on the 2020 Census [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • The state is asking a judge to throw out former Attorney General John Swallow’s suit asking for $1.5 million in attorneys fees from his trial on public corruption charges [Deseret News].
  • Utah Transit Authority officials say they don’t have the money to fully implement the name change for the agency mandated by the legislature before November 1 [Deseret News].
  • The Utah Board of Regents approves a 1.5% tuition hike for Utah’s colleges and universities [Deseret News].

National headlines

  • Trade war escalates. China says it will impose tariffs on 128 U.S. products in response to President Trump’s to impose tariffs on Chinese products [Washington Post].
  • President Trump fired off a series of tweets on Sunday morning threatening to scuttle any deal on DACA and to abandon NAFTA [New York Times]. Trump also referenced a series of immigrant “caravans” moving through Mexico as a reason to pass stricter border control measures [CNN].
  • Some Senators are bristling over Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s tight grip on the upper chamber of Congress. Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy says the current process in the Senate “sucks,” while Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy said, “There’s a lot of weeks I’m not sure why I show up” [Politico].
  • Pressure is growing on EPA chief Scott Pruitt after revelations he paid below market rate to live in a condo owned by an energy industry lobbyist [Reuters].
  • President Trump’s advisers are pushing him to take a tougher line on Russia following dueling diplomatic expulsions by both countries [New York Times].
  • Teachers in Oklahoma and Kentucky are planning walkouts on Monday to protest low pay and benefits [CNN].
  • Sinclair Broadcasting, which owns Ch, 2 in Salt Lake City, is requiring anchors in local markets to read a promo decrying “fake news.” A supercut of those promos went viral this weekend, racking up millions of views, and prompting criticism of the company [CNN]. Here’s the video of Sinclair’s anchors (including from Salt Lake City) reading the promo [Deadspin].

On this day in history

  • 1513 – Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon first sights land in what is now Florida.
  • 1792 – The Coinage Act is passed establishing the United States Mint.
  • 1902 – “Electric Theater,” the first full-time movie theater in the U.S., opens in Los Angeles.
  • 1917 – President Woodrow Wilson asks Congress for a declaration of war on Germany.
  • 1982 – Argentina invades the Falkland Islands.