Situational awareness – April 9, 2018

Good Monday morning from Salt Lake City.

Utah Republicans continue fighting amongst themselves. The medical marijuana initiative is within 1,000 signatures of qualifying for the ballot. North Korea signals they may be open to discussing their nuclear weapons program.

If you didn’t get tickets for Hamilton’s Salt Lake City run, the online lottery opens later Monday morning. 40 tickets for every performance will be given away via a digital lottery. Winners can purchase up to two tickets for $10 each. You can learn how to enter here.

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Tick Tock

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

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Here are the news stories driving Monday

First on Another internal Utah GOP fight

We told you last week about some proposed rule changes for the Utah GOP that would crack down on some misbehavior by the party’s central committee. A party committee declined to forward those proposals to delegates at the convention. Party Chair Rob Anderson said the proposals were submitted fairly, so he included them on the convention agenda anyway [Utah Policy].

Update: Medical marijuana headed to the ballot

We reviewed the latest signature totals for the various ballot initiatives, and the proposal to legalize medical marijuana is within 1,000 signatures of qualifying for November’s ballot [Utah Policy].

Right track/Wrong track

Utahns say they’re satisfied with the direction the state is headed while they’re not as confident with the direction of the country overall [Utah Policy].

Can Herbert derail legal medical marijuana?

Gov. Gary Herbert says he will “actively oppose” the medical marijuana ballot initiative because it could lead to recreational use. Our “Political Insiders” don’t think he’ll be very effective [Utah Policy].

Other Utah headlines

  • Republicans in San Juan County say election lines redrawn by a federal judge have “disenfranchised” them [Tribune].
  • A federal judge threw out a Federal Election Complaint against former Utah Attorney General John Swallow [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • Utah’s National Guard has not been called up to assist in the effort to guard the U.S./Mexico border but is “standing by” in case they’re activated [Tribune].
  • Demand for rental units is outstripping supply and wage growth, meaning housing is becoming less affordable [Deseret News].
  • Former GOP gubernatorial candidate Jonathan Johnson endorses Republican Larry Myers in the U.S. Senate election [Deseret News].
  • A report alleges students suffered “pervasive” sexism and abuse in Utah State University’s piano department for years [Deseret News, Tribune].

National headlines

  • North Korean officials have signaled to the U.S. government that they are prepared to discuss eliminating their nuclear weapons program [Associated Press].
  • Republicans are trying a novel approach to rally their voters ahead of the 2018 midterms. They’re warning if Democrats win control of Congress, it’s likely that President Trump will be impeached [New York Times].
  • Congress returns to Washington this week with a heavier than usual to-do list in a midterm election year [Associated Press].
  • Farmers who propelled Donald Trump to a win in 2016 are worried about the growing trade war with China, fearing it could endanger their livelihoods [Washington Post].
  • President Trump predicted Sunday that China would back down in the growing trade war with the U.S. [Reuters].
  • Facebook will begin informing users this week whether their data was shared with Cambridge Analytica [CNN].
  • Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg will meet with lawmakers on Monday in the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica scandal [Reuters].
  • Boring but important: The Congressional Budget Office will issue their long-term economic forecast on Monday afternoon. The new projections will take into account the tax cut legislation passed by Congress last year [New York Times].
  • Escalation in Syria: Syria and Russia are blaming Israel for a pre-dawn missile attack on a Syrian air base [Associated Press].

On this day in history

  • 1585 – The expedition organized by Sir Walter Raleigh departs England for Roanoke Island (now in North Carolina) to establish the Roanoke Colony.
  • 1682 – Robert Cavelier de La Salle discovers the mouth of the Mississippi River, claims it for France and names it Louisiana.
  • 1865 – Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at the Appomattox Court House in Virginia, bringing the Civil War to a close.
  • 1866 – Congress passed the Civil Rights Bill of 1866, which granted African Americans the rights and privileges of U.S. citizenship and formed the basis for the 14th Amendment.
  • 1959 – NASA announces the selection of the United States’ first seven astronauts, whom the news media quickly dub the “Mercury Seven.”
  • 1965 – The Astrodome opens. First indoor baseball game is played.
  • 2003 – Baghdad falls to American forces.