Situational awareness – August 1, 2018

Good Wednesday morning and welcome to August from Salt Lake City.

Utah agriculture officials say the medical cannabis ballot initiative could lead to significant costs for Utah taxpayers. Facebook deletes pages designed to spread misinformation ahead of the 2018 midterms. The Trump administration is considering escalating the trade war with China.


  • 69 days until the last day to register to vote by mail (10/9/2018)
  • 76 days until mail-in ballots are sent to voters (10/16/2018)
  • 83 days until in-person early voting begins (10/23/2018)
  • 90 days until the last day to register to vote in person or by mail (10/30/2018)
  • 93 days until in-person early voting ends (11/2/2018)
  • 97 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 180 days until the first day of the 2019 Utah Legislature (1/28/2019)
  • 225 days until the final day of the 2019 Utah Legislature (3/14/2019)
  • 825 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)


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SCOOP! Utah Ag officials wary of medical cannabis initiative

Utah Department of Agriculture officials are worried the medical cannabis initiative is too vague and poorly crafted for them to properly implement it if voters approve the proposal. They also say licensing fees for businesses will be too high, which could lead to big costs for Utah taxpayers –

Lee blocks 3D printed gun legislation

Sen. Mike Lee blocked a bill on Tuesday to ban blueprints of 3D printed guns from being posted online –

Breaking down Utah’s 2016 election results

We dig into the map from the 2016 election in Utah. Some areas that went for Hillary Clinton in 2016 are represented by Republicans in the legislature, which could give Democrats an opportunity to flip some seats this year –

Utahns confident about the job market

Utahns are feeling better about the economy because they expect to see increased job availability over the next six months –


  • Utah probably won’t get an answer about the Medicaid waiver needed to implement the work requirements passed by the 2018 legislature until after voters decide on full Medicaid expansion in November [Tribune].
  • Former Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder rips cities who are leaving the Unified Police Department, calling them greedy. He also had some harsh words for his replacement [Deseret News/KUTV/Tribune].
  • The Salt Lake City Council is set to place an $87 million tax hike to fund transportation on November’s ballot [Deseret News].
  • Liquor sales in Utah topped $454 million last year [Tribune].
  • Salt Lake and Utah Counties submit more names for the new UTA board [Deseret News/Daily Herald/Tribune].
  • Amazon is set for a hiring spree in Utah, but workers shouldn’t expect robust wages from those jobs [Deseret News].
  • A new study says kids in Utah are better off than they were six years ago, but rising teen suicide is a concern [Tribune].


  • Facebook says they’ve identified at least two misinformation campaigns aimed at sowing discord during the 2018 midterm elections. The online platform has removed several accounts and pages related to the effort –
  • Some of the pages removed by Facebook went to great efforts to stoke racial tension and incite Americans –
  • President Trump takes up Rudy Giuliani’s line of attack against the special counsel’s Russia investigation that collusion is not a crime –
  • The Trump administration is considering doubling tariffs on Chinese goods in an escalation of the trade war with China –
  • A federal court temporarily stopped a Texas group from posting 3D printed gun plans online –

  • President Trump asks White House Chief of Staff John Kelly to stay on through the 2020 campaign –

  • A study concludes a “Medicare for all” program would cost $32 trillion, but it would also save $2 trillion –

  • Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen warned Russia if they continue to interfere with American elections they would “pay a high price” –

  • The Trump administration is facing heavy criticism for not making a strong effort to protect the 2018 midterm elections from Russian attacks –
  • President Trump, trying to make the case for voter ID programs, claimed at a rally in Florida on Tuesday night that Americans need an ID to buy groceries. That is not correct –
  • A new poll finds young voters have a very pessimistic view of the political system, but many believe that negativity is motivating their generation to make positive changes at the ballot box –

  • Boring but important: Most observers believe the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates unchanged on Wednesday, but the strong economy may lead to two more rate hikes later this year –


  • 1498 – Christopher Columbus becomes the first European to visit what is now Venezuela.
  • 1790 – The first U.S. Census showed a population of 3,929,214 people in 17 states.
  • 1834 – Slavery is abolished in the British Empire as the Slavery Abolition Act 1833 comes into force.
  • 1876 – Colorado is admitted as the 38th state.
  • 1893 – Henry Perky patents shredded wheat.
  • 1911 – Harriet Quimby takes her pilot’s test and becomes the first U.S. woman to earn an Aero Club of America aviator’s certificate.
  • 1914 – The German Empire declares war on the Russian Empire at the opening of World War I.
  • 1936 – The Olympics opened in Berlin with a ceremony presided over by Adolf Hitler.
  • 1971 – The Concert for Bangladesh, organized by former Beatle George Harrison, is held at Madison Square Garden.
  • 1981 – MTV begins broadcasting in the U.S. and airs its first video, “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles.