Situational awareness – June 15, 2018

Good Friday morning from Salt Lake City. 

Utah Republicans may try to end the SB54 lawsuit. The Provo Freedom Festival backtracks and will allow LGBT groups in the parade. Trump wants a summit meeting with Russia.

I was a guest on the Political Junkie podcast hosted by the excellent Ken Rudin, where we discussed the U.S. Senate race between Mitt Romney and Mike Kennedy. You can give the episode a download here –


  • 4 days until the final day to register to vote online or in person before the primary election (6/19/2018)
  • 7 days until in-person early primary voting ends (6/22/2018)
  • 11 days until the 2018 Primary Election (6/26/2018)
  • 144 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 227 days until the first day of the 2019 Utah Legislature (1/28/2019)
  • 872 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)


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What a week!

Jackie Biskupski sidelined. Donald Trump’s approval rating. Greg Hughes is considering a run for governor. Curt Bramble suggests taking more power away from party delegates. Check out our weekly Utah political news roundup. It’s the best 20 minutes you’ll spend today [Utah Policy]. 

Here’s the award-winning podcast version of our week-in-review [Utah Policy].

SB54 – The never-ending story

Many top Republicans are getting tired of the SB54 lawsuit and may try to end the legal challenge before it can be appealed to the Supreme Court [Utah Policy].

Lee to SCOTUS?

Sen. Mike Lee is starting to get some traction as a possible Supreme Court nominee if Justice Anthony Kennedy retires at the end of this term [Utah Policy].

Trade war would hurt Utah

A World Trade Center analysis concludes if Canada, Mexico and the European Union impose retaliatory tariffs on the U.S., it would hit Utah’s economy hard [Utah Policy].


  • After initially barring LGBT groups from the Provo Freedom Parade, organizers relented and will allow them to participate [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • About 400 people showed up for a town-hall meeting in Herriman to decry a proposed high-density housing project there [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • San Juan County Sheriff Richard Eldridge is a finalist for a justice court opening despite having no legal experience and being charged with a felony for “dry-firing” a gun at a deputy in 2015 [Tribune].
  • Law enforcement and health authorities conduct a massive cleanup of a homeless camp just north of the state Capitol [Deseret News].


  • The long-awaited Justice Department probe into the FBI’s behavior during the 2016 campaign found that the agency was justified by not charging Hillary Clinton with a crime over her use of a private email server, and that decision was not the result of political bias. The report also dinged former FBI Director James Comey, saying he damaged the agency’s reputation [New York Times]. 
  • New York State files suit against the Trump Foundation, alleging the charitable organization was nothing more than a slush fund President Trump and his family used to help pay for expenses during the 2016 presidential campaign [CNN].
  • President Trump nearly upended his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un by insisting that the summit between the two men be moved up a day, but his aides talked him out of the move because it would sacrifice television coverage [Washington Post]. 
  • President Trump reportedly defended Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea during the G7 summit saying everyone in Crimea speaks Russian. Trump also questioned why G7 leaders sided with Ukraine in the dispute [BuzzFeed].
  • President Trump is insisting on a summit meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Trump wants the meeting to take place as soon as this summer [New Yorker].
  • House Republicans are considering draft legislation that would end the Trump administration policy of separating immigrant children from their families when they are detained at the border [Washington Post].
  • Former Trump economic adviser Gary Cohn says a trade war over tariffs could wipe out any gains for the economy from the Trump tax cuts [Washington Post].
  • President Trump approves another $50 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods [CNN Money].


  • 1215 – King John of England puts his seal to the Magna Carta.
  • 1648 – Margaret Jones is hanged in Boston for witchcraft in the first such execution for the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
  • 1667 – The first human blood transfusion is administered by Dr. Jean-Baptiste Denys.
  • 1752 – Benjamin Franklin demonstrated the relationship between lightning and electricity by flying a kite during a storm in Philadelphia. An iron key suspended from the kite attracted a lightning bolt.
  • 1836 – Arkansas is admitted as the 25th state.
  • 1844 – Charles Goodyear receives a patent for vulcanization.
  • 1846 – The Oregon Treaty establishes the 49th parallel as the border between the United States and Canada, from the Rocky Mountains to the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
  • 1864 – Arlington National Cemetary is established when 200 acres around Arlington Mansion are officially set aside as a military cemetery.
  • 1921 – Bessie Coleman earns her pilot’s license, becoming the first female pilot of African-American descent.