Situational awareness – May 15, 2018

Good Tuesday morning from Salt Lake City.

Mike Kennedy discusses his campaign. Pro-medical marijuana groups fire back at the LDS Church. Mike Pence attempts to step out of Trump’s shadow. 

Tiny movie review!

I got to see “Solo: A Star Wars Story” on Monday. Absolutely no spoilers here, but the film is downright terrific!


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  • 14 days until the last day to register to vote by mail for the 2018 primary election (5/29/2018)
  • 15 days until the last day to change your party affiliation before the primary election (5/30/2018)
  • 21 days until primary election mail-in ballots are sent to voters (6/5/2018)
  • 28 days until in-person early primary voting begins (6/12/2018)
  • 35 days until the final day to register to vote online or in person before the primary election (6/19/2018)
  • 38 days until in-person early primary voting ends (6/22/2018)
  • 42 days until the 2018 Primary Election (6/26/2018)
  • 175 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 258 days until the first day of the 2019 Utah Legislature (1/28/2019)
  • 903 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)


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A deep dive on the issues

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike Kennedy sits down with managing editor Bryan Schott to discuss the big issues ahead of his June primary election, plus he takes a few shots at his opponent Mitt Romney [Utah Policy].

Download the podcast of our interview with Kennedy here.

Marijuana brawl

The group that helped draft the ballot initiative to legalize medical marijuana says the LDS Church’s opposition is political and “one-sided” [Utah Policy].

Wanna bet?

The Supreme Court struck down a federal ban on sports gambling, paving the way for states to legalize betting on sports. Sen. Orrin Hatch says he will introduce legislation to regulate the new gambling landscape [Utah Policy]. Gov. Gary Herbert says Utah will not legalize sports wagering any time soon [Deseret News, Tribune].


  • A dark day for Utah journalism. The Salt Lake Tribune announced massive cuts to their newsroom staff on Monday [Tribune, Deseret News, Fox 13].
  • Sen. Mike Lee joined the celebration surrounding the opening of the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem [Utah Policy, Deseret NewsTribune].
  • It could be a nail-biter whether the Count My Vote and medical marijuana initiatives make in on November’s ballot [Fox 13].
  • A new state commission to chart the course for higher education in Utah met for the first time on Monday [Deseret News].
  • Cottonwood Heights residents are raising the alarm about fireworks danger after several homes were damaged last year [Deseret News].


  • Dozens of Palestinians are dead and thousands injured due to clashes with Israeli forces in Gaza following the opening of the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem [Associated Press].
  • Vice President Mike Pence is angering allies of President Donald Trump by taking on an outsized role ahead of the 2018 midterms [New York Times]. Recently, Trump and his staffers have moved to check Pence’s growing profile. For instance, Trump did was not planning to attend the NRA’s convention until he learned that Pence was giving the keynote address [Politico].
  • President Trump took to Twitter on Monday to call members of his staff who leak to the media “traitors” [CNN].
  • Special counsel Robert Mueller pushed back against a request by former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort for a hearing on whether government officials improperly leaked grand jury information to the media [Bloomberg].
  • President Trump’s push to save Chinese phone maker ZTE came 72 hours after the Chinese government pumped money into an Indonesian theme park project that the Trump organization stands to profit from [Huffington Post]. U.S. officials are struggling to understand Trump’s decision to rescue ZTE from American sanctions [Washington Post].
  • President Trump will push Senate leaders to change their rules to speed up the confirmation of his judicial and executive nominations [The Hill].
  • Embattled EPA chief Scott Pruitt sought round-the-clock security from his first day on the job according to newly uncovered emails, which undercuts his claim that the request was prompted by serious security threats [Politico].
  • The White House still has not apologized for a staffer mocking Sen. John McCain’s brain cancer diagnosis [New York Times]. 
  • Dozens of U.S. companies are lining up to oppose the Trump administration’s plan for tariffs on Chinese imports [Bloomberg].
  • There are many “hot topics” still on the table as negotiators rush to meet a Thursday deadline to negotiate a new NAFTA agreement [Reuters].
  • Former U.S. Senator Harry Reid underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer [Las Vegas Review-Journal].
  • First Lady Melania Trump underwent kidney surgery on Monday for a condition her office described as benign but needing attention [CNN].
  • The Seattle City Council votes to slap a tax on the city’s largest employers to address the homeless problem there [Seattle Times].


  • 1536 – Anne Boleyn, Queen of England, stands trial in London on charges of treason, adultery, and incest; she is condemned to death by a specially-selected jury.
  • 1776 – The Fifth Virginia Convention instructs its Continental Congress delegation to propose a resolution of independence from Great Britain, paving the way for the Declaration of Independence.
  • 1793 – Diego Marin Aguilera files a glider for “about 360 meters” at a height of 5-6 meters, during one of the first attempted manned flights.
  • 1817 – The first private mental health hospital, the Asylum for the Relief of Persons Deprived of the Use of Their Reason, opens in Philadelphia.
  • 1869 – In New York, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton form the National Woman Suffrage Association.
  • 1905 – Las Vegas is founded when 110 acres in what would later become downtown are auctioned off.
  • 1911 – The Supreme Court, ruling in Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey vs. United States, ordered the dissolution of the company after determining it to be a monopoly.
  • 1930 – Ellen Church became the first airline stewardess, flying on a United Airlines flight from San Francisco to Cheyenne, Wyoming.
  • 1940 – McDonald’s opens its first restaurant in San Bernardino, California.
  • 1969 – Justice Abe Fortas, under fire for a money deal with jailed financier Louis Wolfson, resigned from the Supreme Court.
  • 1972 – In Laurel, Maryland, Arthur Bremer shoots and paralyzes Alabama Governor George Wallace while he’s campaigning to become president.