How to Sound Smart About Utah Politics – March 13, 2014

Final House report on John Swallow investigation says the former AG put a “for sale” sign on the office. Lawmakers put an extra $168 million into the public education budget. Senate Majority Leader Ralph Okerlund collapses from an apparent heart attack.



  • Today is the last day of the 2014 Legislature
  • Tomorrow the Utah candidate filing period opens
  • 5 days until the Utah Democratic Party caucus meetings
  • 7 days until the Utah candidate filing period closes
  • 7 days until the Utah GOP caucus meetings
  • 43 days until the Utah State Republican and Democratic conventions
  • 103 days until Utah’s 2014 primary elections
  • 236 days to the 2014 midterm elections
  • 319 days to the start of the 2015 Utah Legislature
  • 599 days to the 2015 elections
  • 664 days until the 2016 Iowa Caucuses
  • 970 days to the 2016 presidential election

Today’s Utah political news highlights:

  • The Utah House releases their damning report of the investigation into former Attorney General John Swallow, saying he hung a veritable “for sale” sign on the office trading favors for cash [Utah Policy, Deseret News, Tribune].
  • The report also concludes Swallow may have broken 8 laws [Tribune].
  • The Senate approves two reform bills that sprung out of the investigation into Swallow [Tribune].
  • Lawmakers add $168 million in funding to the public education budget [Deseret News].
  • Senate Majority Leader Ralph Okerlund collapses during a meeting and is rushed to the hospital [Utah Policy, Tribune, Deseret News].
  • A bill providing incentives for a downtown Salt Lake City convention hotel wins final passage [Tribune, Deseret News].
  • Rep. Kraig Powell abandons his effort to remove the so-called “Zion Curtain” from Utah restaurants [Tribune].
  • The House gives a thumbs up to the creation of a commission to find a new home for the Utah prison [Tribune, Deseret News].
  • The Senate approves a proposal to expand a public/private partnership to provide more opportunities for at-risk children to attend preschool [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • A bill pushing for more transparency from USTAR is on the way to the governor’s desk [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • The Senate approves a measure requiring all state and local agencies to educate employees on federalism [Tribune].
  • A judge hears arguments over Utah’s decision to not recognize same-sex marriages performed following the ruling that Amendment 3 was unconstitutional [Deseret News, Tribune].

On this day in history:

  • 1639 – New College was renamed Harvard College for John Harvard.
  • 1781 – Astronomer Sir William Herschel discovered the planet Uranus.
  • 1852 – “Uncle Sam” made his debut as a cartoon character in the New York Lantern.
  • 1868 – The impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson began in the U.S. Senate.
  • 1884 – Standard Time was adopted throughout the United States.
  • 1901 – Benjamin Harrison, the 23rd president of the United States died at the age of 67.
  • 1906 – Suffragist Susan B. Anthony died.
  • 1925 – Tennessee passed a bill prohibiting the teaching of evolution in public schools.
  • 1930 – Clyde W. Tombaugh announced the discovery of the planet Pluto.
  • 1938 – Defense attorney Clarance S. Darrow died at age 80.
  • 2012 – The Encyclopaedia Britannica discontinued its print edition after 244 years.