ArchiveHow to Sound Smart About Utah Politics – August 28, 2013Bryan Schott·August 28, 2013· Share Countdown: There are 70 days to the 2013 municipal elections, 154 days until the start of the 2014 Legislature, 429 days until the 2014 midterm elections and 866 days until the 2016 Iowa Caucuses. Gov. Gary Herbert asks SITLA to reconsider their decision to open parts of the Book Cliffs to oil and gas exploration [Tribune]. A new and controversial grading program for Utah’s schools debuts next week [Utah Policy, Deseret News]. Rep. Rob Bishop is one of 80 House members to join the effort to strip funding for Obamacare [Tribune]. A Legislative task force questions whether the Salt Lake City School District is doing enough to serve west side students [Tribune]. More than 3/4 of the money Utah spends on education goes to teacher salaries [KSL]. Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill says he may review some dismissed West Valley City drug cases if city leaders send letters in support of the officers involved in those cases [Tribune]. The Utah state auditor’s office says a number of state agencies are violating the law by not having internal audit programs [Tribune]. Longtime Salt Lake County Councilman Randy Horiuchi is considering retirement [Utah Policy]. The Salt Lake County Council moves the timeline for adopting a budget up by two weeks in order to protect against “surprise” tax hikes [Tribune]. There will be a recount in the West Valley City mayoral primary [Tribune]. The Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control denied a liquor license to a proposed pub in the Foothill neighborhood after residents opposed the move due to traffic and safety concerns [Tribune]. Alcohol commissioners decline to interpret a new law requiring drinkers to show “intent” to buy food, instead allowing restaurants to set their own standards [Tribune]. Utah consumer confidence hit the highest recorded level last month, but worries about how leaders in Washington are handling the economy are putting a damper on growth [Tribune]. West Valley City introduces their new police chief, Lee Russo [Deseret News]. New Census numbers show the makeup of Utah families is changing, but not as quickly as the rest of the nation [Tribune].