How to Sound Smart About Utah Politics – August 12, 2013

Countdown: There are 86 days to the 2013 municipal elections, 170 days until the start of the 2014 Legislature, 445 days until the 2014 midterm elections and 882 days until the 2016 Iowa Caucuses.

The Utah House picks a lawyer who played a key part in the impeachment of president Bill Clinton to assist in their investigation into Attorney General John Swallow [Tribune].

A new book says Mitt Romney nearly pulled the rip cord on his presidential bid before it really got going [Tribune].

Spencer Zwick, one of Romney’s top fundraisers, details what went wrong during Romney’s run that cost him the White House [Deseret News].

Sen. Orrin Hatch and Rep. Jim Matheson are catching some heat for not scheduling any public meetings during the summer recess [Tribune].

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill’s announcement that the West Valley City detectives had no reason to shoot and kill an unarmed woman has law enforcement groups hoping he’s ousted in the 2014 election [Tribune].

The Salt Lake City Council will look quite different after this year’s election as three incumbents are retiring [Tribune]. executive vice chairman Jonathan Johnson wants to amend Utah’s Constitution to keep religious organizations from being forced to perform same-sex marriages if they oppose the practice [Deseret News].

Utah Corrections officials warn the state’s prison will reach capacity in the next few years without new construction to handle inmates [KSL].

Nobody has applied for Utah’s new master liquor permits yet, but advocates say it will protect big restaurant chains from future liquor license shortages [Tribune].

The feds once again declare a drought disaster in Utah, and the outlook for the next few years is not much better [Tribune].

Salt Lake County launches a new website to help Utahns navigate the healthcare changes wrought by ObamaCare [Tribune].

Former Salt Lake County Council Chairman Joe Hatch slams the Utah Transit Authority’s plan to cut service and raise rates, saying the agency has been mismanaged [Tribune].

Some are betting on an economic boom from Utah’s massive deposits of oil shale [Tribune].

A new study says Hispanics are turned down for mortgages in Salt Lake County twice as often as white applicants [Tribune].

Sequestration cuts are wreaking havoc with federal grants at Utah’s colleges and universities [Tribune].