How to Sound Smart About Utah Politics – September 19, 2013

Countdown:  There are 48 days to the 2013 municipal elections, 132 days until the start of the 2014 Legislature, 407 days until the 2014 midterm elections and 844 days until the 2016 Iowa Caucuses.

  • The “Count My Vote” group launches a petition drive to change Utah’s nominating system to direct primaries [Utah Policy, Tribune].
  • A report says allowing the use of electronic signatures in petition gathering could be safe and secure [Tribune].
  • The U.S. House agrees to Sen. Mike Lee’s strategy to tie any measure keeping the government operating to defunding Obamacare [Tribune].
  • Sen. Lee teams up with Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy to fight the growing problem of “patent trolls” [Deseret News].
  • Lawmakers may move Utah’s political party conventions so they are not held over the Easter weekend in 2014 [Daily Herald].
  • Rep. Spencer Cox suggests the state require barkeepers to undergo CPR training following the death of a patron outside an American Fork bar last year [Deseret News].
  • A legislative committee mulls whether the state should pay teachers more to boost test scores in underachieving schools [Tribune].
  • Speculation is growing that Gov. Gary Herbert may look within his own office to find a replacement for Gov. Greg Bell [KSL].
  • Comedian Jeff Foxworthy will headline Herbert’s annual fundraising gala on Friday evening [Tribune].
  • About 20% of Utah families deal with hunger because they don’t have enough money to buy food [Tribune].
  • The LDS Church is urging the faithful in Hawaii to get involved in that state’s fight over same-sex marriage by pushing for an exemption for religious organization [Tribune].
  • State investigators looking to crack own on the sale of false legal documents to immigrants stumble upon human and drug trafficking operations [Tribune].
  • Park City Mountain Resort gets a lifeline in their lawsuit against Talisker Land Holdings [Tribune].
  • Utah’s former U.S. Attorney says Congress should end mandatory federal sentences in order to reduce prison overcrowding [Tribune].
  • A new report says prisoners in Utah are increasingly being sentenced to life behind bars [Tribune].