How to Sound Smart About Utah Politics – July 30, 2014

Swallow and Shurtleff to appear in court. Val Hale named the new head of GOED. Utah consumer confidence is on the rise.

Countdown:

  • 97 days until the 2014 midterm elections
  • 180 days to the opening day of the 2015 legislature
  • 461 days until the 2015 elections
  • 537 days to the 2016 Iowa Caucuses (tentative)
  • 832 days until the 2016 presidential election

Wednesday’s top news stories:

  • The legal case against John Swallow and Mark Shurtleff kicks off today as the two men will make their first appearance in court [Deseret News].
  • The U.S. Senate passes a bill to temporarily fund highway projects, but the measure is likely DOA in the House [Roll Call].
  • Gov. Gary Herbert taps former BYU athletic director Val Hale as the new head of GOED [Utah Policy, Tribune, Deseret News].
  • Liquor sales in Utah grew by $20 million last year, another record high [Tribune, Deseret News].
  • Critics get their chance to speak out about Rocky Mountain Power’s proposal to impose a fee on customers who have solar panels on their homes [Tribune].
  • Utah consumer confidence is on the rise again [Deseret News].
  • Privacy advocates give a plan to reform the NSA a cautious thumbs-up [Time].

On this day in history:

  • 1619 – The first representative assembly in America convened in Jamestown, Virginia.
  • 1956 – The phrase “In God We Trust” was adopted as the U.S. national motto.
  • 1965 – President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Medicare bill into law.
  • 1975 – Former Teamsters union president Jimmy Hoffa disappeared in Detroit. His remains have never been found.
  • 2002 – Former Rep. James Trafficant, Jr. was sentenced to eight years in prison for corruption after being expelled from Congress a week earlier.