How to Sound Smart About Utah Politics – August 26, 2013

Countdown:  There are 72 days to the 2013 municipal elections, 156 days until the start of the 2014 Legislature, 431 days until the 2014 midterm elections and 868 days until the 2016 Iowa Caucuses.

  • Attorneys for embattled Attorney General John Swallow say they expect him to be cleared in a federal investigation [Tribune].
  • Former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson says a recent report that the NSA monitored every call and text during the 2002 Olympics amounts to the “greatest scandal of the century” [Tribune].
  • Sen. Mike Lee says Congress will likely call for hearings into NSA snooping [KUTV].
  • Sen. Pat Jones, who is retiring after the 2014 Legislature, is pushing her plan to raise money for Utah’s schools by eliminating the state tax exemption for dependents [Deseret News].
  • Only 12 Utah welfare applicants tested positive for drug use in the past year, a program which carries a $30,000 price tag [KSL].
  • Paul Rolly runs down the checkered past of Salt Lake County GOP Chair Chad Bennion [Tribune].
  • The Salt Lake County Council will consider a change that would require the mayor to propose a tax increase prior to November ahead of any election [Tribune].
  • Utah is vying to become a test site for unmanned drones [Tribune].
  • A past controversy on the Sunset City Council is once again bubbling to the surface in that city’s mayoral race [Standard-Examiner].
  • The number of complaints filed against Salt Lake City police officers has dropped to the lowest level since 2008 [Tribune].
  • Former Sen. Dan Liljenquist says pension reform is one of the most pressing issues facing state and local governments [Deseret News].
  • The expected drop in enrollment at Utah’s colleges and universities due to a change in the age requirements for Mormon missionaries looks to be less severe than originally feared [Tribune].
  • The EPA sends Utah regulators back to the drawing board because a proposed pollution control plan does not contain adequate conflict of interest disclosures [Tribune].
  • There is concern that comments from the public during government meetings could cause some headaches for local governments [Tribune].
  • The Great Recession dropped Utah home ownership rates to an 18-year low [Tribune]. 
  • Suicide rates in Utah are on pace to increase this year over last [Deseret News].