Situational awareness – April 4, 2018

Good Wednesday morning from Salt Lake City.

Love may want to steer clear of Trump ahead of the midterms. Did Dave Bateman really pay off the Utah GOP’s legal debt? Trump moves to militarize the border with Mexico.

Today is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Here’s a list of service projects and other ways you can honor King’s memory today.

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Tick Tock

  • 12 days until the signature-gathering deadline for statewide ballot initiatives (4/16/2018)
  • 17 days until the Utah GOP State Convention (4/21/2018)
  • 24 days until the Utah Democratic State Convention (4/28/2018)
  • 33 days until the final day a veto override session may begin (5/7/2018)
  • 83 days until the 2018 Primary Election (6/26/2018)
  • 217 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 300 days until the first day of the 2019 Utah Legislature (1/28/2019)
  • 946 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

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Here are the news stories driving Tuesday

Analysis: How will Trump play in the 4th district race?

Our polling shows Rep. Mia Love might be wise to steer clear of issues involving President Donald Trump in her race against Democrat Ben McAdams [Utah Policy].

First in Another twist in the Utah GOP debt saga

Republicans breathed a sigh of relief when Dave Bateman stepped up to retire the party’s legal debt from their legal challenge to SB54. However, in an email to party chair Rob Anderson, Bateman says he “holds the rights” to that debt, and may move to collect on it if Anderson violates their contract [Utah Policy].

Bracket challenge champion

House Majority Leader Brad Wilson claimed the title in our first Utah political bracket challenge by defeating Attorney General Sean Reyes in the finals [Utah Policy].

Other Utah headlines

  • Here’s a nice deep dive on how the Utah Legislature went around Salt Lake City leaders to establish the new inland port in the city’s northwest quadrant [Tribune].
  • An anonymous KUTV employee on the now-infamous PSA that echoed President Trump’s claims on “fake news”: “We had to grin and bear it” [KUER].
  • Utah’s abortion rate hit a historic low in 2016, falling to the lowest rate since the state began keeping records in 1975 [Associated Press].
  • Utah officials have reported two deaths so far from an outbreak of hepatitis A [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • Utah officials broke ground on a new Tier-3 refinery that will produce cleaner-burning fuels [Tribune].
  • A new report says more Utah women are have narrowed the gap with men when it comes to earning bachelor degrees, but men still are more likely to pursue a graduate degree [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • Salt Lake City is considering eliminating the fee for licensing bicycles. So few people register their bikes that it makes it difficult for police to recover them when they’re stolen [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • Exiting national security adviser H.R. McMaster takes a big swipe at Russia on his way out the door, saying the U.S. has “failed to impose sufficient costs” for Russia’s behavior, which has resulted in growing confidence from the Kremlin [CNN].

National headlines

  • Special counsel Robert Mueller reportedly told President Trump’s lawyers he is under investigation but is currently not a target of the investigation. Mueller is also preparing a report about the president’s actions and possible obstruction of justice [Washington Post].
  • Trade war intensifies. Less than a day after the U.S. said it would impose a tariff on high-tech goods coming from China, the Chinese government announced another 25-percent tariff on 106 U.S. products, including soybeans and automobiles [Bloomberg].
  • Shortly after China announced the additional tariffs, President Trump tweeted on Wednesday morning that the U.S. “is not in a trade war with China” [Axios].
  • President Trump says he now plans to send the National Guard to fortify the border with Mexico [New York Times].
  • The Department of Homeland Security is warning of devices in Washington, D.C. that may be used by foreign spies to intercept calls and messages [Associated Press].
  • Another electoral warning for the GOP. A liberal candidate for the Wisconsin Supreme Court trounced her conservative opponent on Tuesday, marking the first time in nearly a quarter-century that a liberal non-incumbent has won a seat on the high court [Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel].
  • President Trump and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy are trying to find millions of dollars in cuts from the just-passed omnibus budget deal [Politico].
  • A new national poll shows 66-percent of Americans support stricter gun control laws, while only 28% say they are opposed [Politico].
  • The woman who opened fire at YouTube’s headquarters told family members she “hated” the company and felt she was being suppressed. She wounded three before taking her own life [Associated Press].

On this day in history

  • 1812 – President James Madison enacts a ninety-day embargo on trade with the United Kingdom.
  • 1818 – Congress adopts the flag of the United States with 13 red and white stripes and one star for each state (then 20).
  • 1841 – President William Henry Harrison dies of pneumonia, becoming the first President of the United States to die while in office, and setting the record for the briefest administration, serving just one month in office. Vice President John Tyler succeeds Harrison as President.
  • 1850 – Los Angeles is incorporated as a city.
  • 1887 – Argonia, Kansas elects Susanna Madora Salter as the first female mayor in the United States.
  • 1949 – Twelve nations sign the North Atlantic Treaty creating the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
  • 1968 – Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated by James Earl Ray at a motel in Memphis, Tennessee.
  • 1975 – Microsoft was founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen.
  • 1988 – Governor Evan Mecham of Arizona is convicted in his impeachment trial and removed from office.