Situational awareness – May 30, 2018

Good Wednesday morning from Salt Lake City. 

Debate day roundup. Big support for legalizing medical marijuana. Count My Vote fails to make the ballot. Trump wanted Sessions to keep control of the Russia investigation.


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  • Today is the last day to change your party affiliation before the primary election (5/30/2018)
  • 6 days until primary election mail-in ballots are sent to voters (6/5/2018)
  • 13 days until in-person early primary voting begins (6/12/2018)
  • 20 days until the final day to register to vote online or in person before the primary election (6/19/2018)
  • 23 days until in-person early primary voting ends (6/22/2018)
  • 27 days until the 2018 Primary Election (6/26/2018)
  • 160 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 243 days until the first day of the 2019 Utah Legislature (1/28/2019)
  • 888 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)


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Medical marijuana makes the November ballot, Count My Vote falls just short

The official signature-gathering numbers show the proposal to legalize medical marijuana has qualified for the ballot, but Count My Vote is short by about 600 signatures across 3 Senate districts. CMV supporters vow legal action. The independent redistricting proposal and bid to expand Medicaid also qualified for ballot inclusion [Utah Policy].


Tuesday was primary debate day for Congress and U.S. Senate in Utah, with three televised discussions that mostly didn’t change the trajectory of the races.

Senate: Mike Kennedy and Mitt Romney poked at each other over Donald Trump and healthcare, but neither man landed a knockout punch [Utah Policy].

3rd CD: Rep. John Curtis and his primary opponent, Chris Herrod, traded some blows over who was the most conservative while drawing some real distinctions between each other in their race [Utah Policy].

1st CD: Democrats Kurt Weiland and Lee Castillo struggled with the format of the debate as they jockeyed to convince voters to send them to November’s election against Rep. Rob Bishop [Utah Policy].

Big support for legalizing medical marijuana

Our latest poll shows 3/4ths of Utahns support the ballot initiative to legalize medical marijuana, despite opposition from the LDS church [Utah Policy].

Mitt Romney says Trump is not a role model

Romney during a televised interview said Donald Trump’s personal behavior is one he would consider as a good role model for his grandchildren [Utah Policy].

Consumer confidence down slightly

The Zions Bank Consumer Attitude Index dipped slightly last month as Utahns are less confident about the state of the economy [Utah Policy].


  • The Salt Lake City Council is signaling they may support Mayor Jackie Biskupski’s spending priorities for the new sales tax hike set to take effect this fall [Deseret News].
  • Provo is eliminating the position of “parking administrator” just one year after the position was created [Daily Herald].
  • The Utah County Commission wants to study how to boost county employee salaries so they are closer to market value [Daily Herald].
  • The University of Utah is launching a new initiative to boost affordable housing in Utah [Deseret News].


  • Now we know why President Trump hasn’t fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions yet. Trump pushed for Sessions to retain control of the Russia investigation because he wanted a loyalist overseeing the probe. Special counsel Robert Mueller is now investigating that request by Trump as well as Trump’s efforts to get Sessions to resign, and Sessions is a key witness in Mueller’s obstruction of justice probe [New York Times].
  • Rep. Trey Gowdy says the FBI acted properly when they asked a confidential informant to look into possible contacts between some Trump campaign staffers and Russian officials during the 2016 election [Politico].
  • President Trump amplified his attacks on special counsel Robert Mueller, accusing him of meddling in the 2018 midterm election [ABC News].
  • A new CIA report says North Korea won’t get rid of their nuclear weapons any time soon, but they may open a western burger joint as a sign of goodwill [NBC News].
  • The U.S. will impose limits on some visas issued to Chinese citizens, cutting the amount of time they are valid [Associated Press].
  • President Trump plans to target red-state Democratic senators during the summer campaign season ahead of the 2018 midterms [New York Times].
  • The Supreme Court rejected a challenge to an Arkansas abortion law that bans medically induced abortions in that state [The Hill].
  • Missouri Republican Gov. Eric Greitens announced his resignation following several legislative and criminal investigations into his conduct while in office [Politico].
  • The number of independent voters in California now outnumber Republicans [Sacramento Bee].
  • A new study says the death toll in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria could exceed 4,000 people. Many of those deaths came from delayed access to medical care [New York Times].
  • Negotiations on a revamp of NAFTA are stalled, and several involved in the process are laying the blame at the feet of the Trump administration [Reuters].
  • ABC canceled Roseanne after the show’s star, Rosanne Barr, went on a racist Twitter rant [CNN].
  • Kim Kardashian is heading to the White House for an Oval Office meeting with President Trump to discuss prison reform [Vanity Fair].
  • First lady Melania Trump hasn’t been seen in public since her release from the hospital two weeks ago, which is spawning several conspiracy theories about her whereabouts [Politico].
  • The CEO’s of several large U.S. companies say the days of rising wages for employees are over, and they’re planning on reducing workforces [Axios].
  • Home values have been rising for six straight years, driven by high demand and low supply. But, experts are warning those price gains are unsustainable [CNBC].


  • 1431 – Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in Rouen, France, at age of 19. She had been convicted of sorcery.
  • 1783 – The Pennsylvania Evening Post became the first daily newspaper published in the United States.
  • 1806 – Future President Andrew Jackson kills Charles Dickinson in a duel.
  • 1854 – The Kansas-Nebraska Act becomes law establishing the territories of Kansas and Nebraska.
  • 1868 – Decoration Day (the predecessor of the modern Memorial Day) is observed in the U.S. for the first time.
  • 1883 – In New York City, a stampede on the recently opened Brooklyn Bridge killed twelve people.
  • 1922 – The Lincoln Memorial is dedicated in Washington, D.C.