Situational awareness – May 25, 2018

Good Friday morning from Salt Lake City.

Herbert says Utah’s initiative process needs changes. Trump taps an anti-illegal immigrant Utahn for a position in the State Department. Why the North Korea summit fell apart.


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  • 4 days until the last day to register to vote by mail for the 2018 primary election (5/29/2018)
  • 5 days until the last day to change your party affiliation before the primary election (5/30/2018)
  • 11 days until primary election mail-in ballots are sent to voters (6/5/2018)
  • 18 days until in-person early primary voting begins (6/12/2018)
  • 25 days until the final day to register to vote online or in person before the primary election (6/19/2018)
  • 28 days until in-person early primary voting ends (6/22/2018)
  • 32 days until the 2018 Primary Election (6/26/2018)
  • 165 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 248 days until the first day of the 2019 Utah Legislature (1/28/2019)
  • 893 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)


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What a week!

Mike Kennedy apologizes for Mitt Romney. Orrin Hatch is not going to Australia. Plus, the stupidest conspiracy theory ever! Bob Bernick and Bryan Schott run down the week in Utah politics [Utah Policy]

You can also download our award-winning week in review as a podcast to listen on the go.

Fixing Utah’s petition process

Gov. Gary Herbert says Utah’s system for putting citizen initiatives on the ballot needs an overhaul [Utah Policy].

Discharge petition

Rep. Mia Love says she’s not getting pressure from GOP leadership for signing on to a measure to force a vote on several immigration bills in Congress [Utah Policy].

Political misstep

Bob Bernick says GOP Senate candidate Mike Kennedy made a huge political blunder when he apologized to a Baptist minister for Mitt Romney calling him a religious bigot [Utah Policy].


  • President Donald Trump nominates Ronald Mortensen, an anti-illegal immigrant activist, to oversee the State Department program overseeing refugees and migration [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • Gov. Gary Herbert says, even though he opposes the medical marijuana ballot initiative, he thinks Utahns should be allowed to vote on the measure [Tribune].
  • Gov. Herbert says the inland port will go ahead as planned after talks with Salt Lake City officials broke down [Deseret News].
  • Republicans in the Senate, including Sen. Orrin Hatch, are scrambling to squash President Trump’s proposed tariffs on foreign vehicles [The Hill].
  • Rep. John Curtis says expectations for President Trump’s now-canceled summit with North Korea had gotten out of hand [Deseret News].
  • Democratic Senate candidate Jenny Wilson offers her own tax plan as an alternative to the GOP tax cuts [Deseret News].


  • President Trump canceled his summit with North Korea.
    • “He’s not taking this guy’s s**t.” Why Trump decided to nix the summit [Politico].
    • Trump wanted to cancel the summit before North Korean leader Kim Jong Un could [NBC News].
    • South Koreans are angry about the cancellation, saying Trump threw away a chance at peace [Reuters].
    • North Korean officials say they’re still willing to meet with Trump even after he canceled the summit [CNN].
  • Congressional leaders get a confidential briefing on information related to the Russia probe [Associated Press].
  • President Trump’s lawyers nearly reached a deal for an interview with special counsel Robert Mueller at Camp David in January [Wall Street Journal].
  • Roger Stone, President Trump’s longtime confidante, tried to get damaging information on Hillary Clinton from Wikileaks founder Julian Assange [Wall Street Journal].
  • The House GOP set three new interviews in the probe into how the FBI handled the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server [The Hill].
  • House Republicans get closer to forcing a vote on several immigration measures [The Hill].
  • President Trump signed a bill to roll back critical portions of the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, which will exempt dozens of banks from federal regulation [The Hill].
  • Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is under fire for suggesting that schools can report undocumented immigrants [ABC News].
  • Rising gas prices could put the brakes on economic enthusiasm [Politico].
  • Mortgage rates are rising at a pace not seen in nearly 50 years [LMT Online].
  • Home values across the nation rose 8.7% over the past year. Rent rates jumped 2.5% during the same period [PR Newswire].


  • 240 BC – First recorded perihelion passage of Halley’s Comet.
  • 1738 – A treaty between Pennsylvania and Maryland ends the Conojocular War with the settlement of a boundary dispute and exchange of prisoners.
  • 1787 – The Constitutional Convention formally convenes in Philadelphia, when a quorum of seven states is secured.
  • 1878 – Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera H.M.S. Pinafore opens at the Opera Comique in London.
  • 1925 – John Scopes is indicted for teaching Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution in Tennessee.
  • 1961 – President John F. Kennedy announces before a special joint session of the Congress his goal to initiate a project to put a “man on the Moon” before the end of the decade.
  • 1977 – Star Wars is released in theaters.
  • 1986 – Hands across America takes place.
  • 2011 – The Oprah Winfrey Show broadcast its final original episode after 25 years on the air.