Situational awareness – April 16, 2018

Good Monday morning from Salt Lake City, and happy birthday to the Natural Bridges National Monument. Utah’s first National Monument was established 110 years ago today by President Theodore Roosevelt.

Today is the deadline for ballot initiative organizers to submit signatures. Keep My Voice fails to get enough signatures to get on the ballot. James Comey unleashes a blistering attack on President Trump at the start of his book tour.

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Tick Tock

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

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Here are the news stories driving Monday

Signature gathering deadline

The ballot initiatives aiming to secure a spot on the November ballot must turn in their signatures by 5 pm on Monday. Here’s where they stand heading into the final day [Utah Policy].

Keep My Voice is muted

Backers for the Keep My Voice ballot initiative say they won’t turn in any signatures, which confirms what many believed – that they wouldn’t come close to qualifying for the ballot. Organizers say they’ll try again in 2020 [Utah Policy].

A Romney primary?

Will GOP delegates at Saturday’s Republican convention force Mitt Romney into a primary? Check out what our “Political Insiders” and readers had to say on the matter [Utah Policy].

Conventions heating up

Which candidates are left standing following the political conventions? Check out who remains with our 2018 Candidate Trackers.

Congressional races

Utah Senate

Utah House

Other Utah headlines

  • Most incumbents prevailed at Saturday’s county conventions, but Republican Sen. Brian Zehnder was forced into a primary [Tribune].
  • House Speaker Greg Hughes hits back at critics over the controversial inland port legislation passed this last session [Deseret News].
  • The Utah Board of Education approves new science education standards [Tribune].

National headlines

  • The James Comey show kicked off with a prime-time interview on ABC. During the hour-long special, Comey said President Trump was “morally unfit” to hold that office, and it’s “possible” the Russian government had material they could use to blackmail him [Politico].
  • President Trump petitioned a federal judge to let him review materials FBI agents seized from the office of his longtime lawyer, Michael Cohen before criminal investigators get a chance to see them [Washington Post].
  • Michael Cohen used the same Delaware company to pay off other women who were involved in sexual relationships with his clients. Federal prosecutors are examining the flow of money in and out of the company [Wall Street Journal].
  • The U.S. will hit Russia with new sanctions on Monday for assisting Syrian leader Bashar Assad’s use of chemical weapons on his own citizens [Associated Press].
  • President Trump is reportedly furious that he is being portrayed as taking a hard line on Russia, including the expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats in retaliation for the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain [Washington Post].
  • A new poll shows the Democratic advantage over Republicans in the generic Congressional ballot has narrowed since January [Washington Post].
  • More than 1/5 of spending by the Trump re-election campaign has been on legal fees. The campaign has doled out $835,000 for lawyers [BuzzFeed].
  • Republicans are struggling to make the tax cut package they passed at the end of 2017 a winning issue ahead of the 2018 midterm elections [Bloomberg].
  • Former first lady Barbara Bush is in “failing health” and has decided to forego additional medical treatment. Instead, she’s opting for comfort care at her home [Houston Chronicle].

On this day in history

  • 1818 – The U.S. Senate ratifies the Rush-Bagot Treaty, establishing the border with Canada.
  • 1862 – The District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act, A bill ending slavery in the District of Columbia becomes law.
  • 1881 – In Dodge City, Kansas, Bat Masterson fights his last gun battle.
  • 1908 – Natural Bridges National Monument is established in Utah.
  • 1912 – Harriet Quimby becomes the first woman to fly an airplane across the English Channel.
  • 1947 – Bernard Baruch first applies the term “Cold War” to describe the relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union.
  • 1963 – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. pens his Letter from Birmingham Jail while incarcerated for protesting against segregation.
  • 2007 – Virginia Tech shooting: A gunman kills 32 people and injures 17 before committing suicide on the Blacksburg campus.