Situational awareness – May 16, 2018

Good Wednesday morning from Salt Lake City.

Will Count My Vote make November’s ballot? Utah is becoming more reliant on federal funds. A state audit details troubling conditions inside the Road Home shelters. North Korea threatens to cancel the scheduled summit meeting with President Trump.

It’s the first day of Ramadan, the holiest month of the Muslim calendar. Here’s an etiquette guide to the holiday for non-Muslims.


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  • 13 days until the last day to register to vote by mail for the 2018 primary election (5/29/2018)
  • 14 days until the last day to change your party affiliation before the primary election (5/30/2018)
  • 20 days until primary election mail-in ballots are sent to voters (6/5/2018)
  • 27 days until in-person early primary voting begins (6/12/2018)
  • 34 days until the final day to register to vote online or in person before the primary election (6/19/2018)
  • 37 days until in-person early primary voting ends (6/22/2018)
  • 41 days until the 2018 Primary Election (6/26/2018)
  • 174 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 257 days until the first day of the 2019 Utah Legislature (1/28/2019)
  • 902 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)


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Ballot battle

Both Count My Vote organizers and opponents say they’ll prevail when the state certifies which proposals get on November’s ballot. CMV backers say there are still thousands of signatures still outstanding, but clerks had until Tuesday evening to verify them. Additionally, a review found many of those asking to remove their signatures from the CMV initiative may not have signed the petition in the first place [Utah Policy].

Federal funds

A review of Utah’s budget shows the largest single source of funds in Utah’s budget comes from the federal government [Utah Policy].


  • A legislative audit found serious drug issues and “lax enforcement” inside the Road Home shelter in downtown Salt Lake City [Deseret News, Fox 13, Tribune].
  • A federal judge struck down Oakland’s ban on coal shipments at a terminal a developer wants to use to ship coal from Utah to Asia [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • Utah lawmakers are expected to announce a delay in the name change for the Utah Transit Authority [Deseret News].
  • Proponents of the medical marijuana ballot initiative allege opponents are trying to turn in signature removal forms after hours [Fox 13].
  • Rep. Angela Romero wants to ban marriage in Utah for anyone under the age of 18 [Fox 13].
  • Gov. Gary Herbert unveils his Utah “Energy Action Plan,” which emphasizes infrastructure development and developing alternative sources [Deseret News].


  • North Korea is threatening to call off the planned summit meeting with President Trump if the U.S. insists they give up their nuclear program [New York Times]. 
  • President Trump plans to use Thursday’s one-year anniversary of the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel to call for an end to his investigation [Bloomberg].
  • A federal judge refused to dismiss criminal charges brought by Mueller against former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort. Manafort claimed Mueller’s investigation has run amok and he is exceeding his mandate as the special prosecutor [Reuters].
  • The FBI is investigating Cambridge Analytica, the political data firm used by the Trump campaign in 2016 [New York Times].
  • Women candidates made big gains in primary elections in four states on Tuesday night [Politico].
  • The Trump administration is planning to hold the children of immigrants who are detained trying to cross the border illegally at military bases [Washington Post]. 
  • The UK government wants an independent investigation into Monday’s violence in Gaza that saw at least 60 Palestinians killed by Israeli soldiers [BuzzFeed].
  • Support from Democrat Mark Warner means Trump’s CIA nominee Gina Haspel is on the road to confirmation by the full Senate [The Hill].
  • The Trump administration has eliminated the White House’s top cyber policy position, which was tasked with coordinating the government’s approach to cybersecurity policy [Politico].
  • Former Texas congressman Blake Farenthold says he will not repay the $84,000 in taxpayer money he used to settle sexual harassment claims against him [ABC News].
  • An Arkansas arms company that sells guns to the CIA is trying to buy large quantities of Napalm, but nobody knows why [BuzzFeed].
  • North Carolina may be the next state to see walkouts by public school teachers over poor funding for education [CNN].
  • Twitter is implementing new rules designed to crack down on trolls [The Hill].
  • Facebook disabled one billion fake accounts in the last year [The Wrap].


  • 1804 – The French Senate declared Napoleon Bonaparte emperor.
  • 1843 – The first major wagon train heading for the Pacific Northwest sets out on the Oregon Trail with one thousand pioneers from Elm Grove, Missouri.
  • 1866 – Congress establishes the nickel.
  • 1868 – President Andrew Johnson is acquitted in his impeachment trial by one vote in the Senate.
  • 1918 – The Sedition Act of 1918 is passed by Congress, making criticism of the government during wartime an imprisonable offense. It will be repealed less than two years later.
  • 1988 – A report by the Surgeon General C. Everett Koop states that the addictive properties of nicotine are similar to those of heroin and cocaine.