ArchiveHow to Sound Smart About Utah Politics – September 25, 2013Bryan Schott·September 25, 2013· Share Countdown: There are 42 days to the 2013 municipal elections, 126 days until the start of the 2014 Legislature, 401 days until the 2014 midterm elections and 838 days until the 2016 Iowa Caucuses. Sen. Orrin Hatch joins with other Senate Republicans to reject Sen. Mike Lee’s plan to defund Obamacare [Tribune]. A new study says building “bus rapid transit” systems are more cost effective, and attract more economic development than building rail transit [Tribune]. The Utah Health Reform Task Force is examining whether charity care could be an effective alternative to Medicaid expansion [Deseret News]. Speculation is growing that Gov. Gary Herbert will select his chief of staff, Derek Miller, to replace outgoing Lt. Gov. Greg Bell [Utah Policy]. Advocates worry a new law requiring schools to notify parents about bullying incidents could inadvertantly “out” LGBT students [Tribune]. The company behind a proposed nuclear power plant near Green River says demand for electricity is rising, creating a need for their facility [Tribune]. Records show a former UDOT employee helps her new firm secure a lucrative state contract with UDOT after she left [City Weekly]. Utah consumers are feeling more confident about the economy, but worries about how the federal government is handling the economy are dampening some of that enthusiasm [Tribune]. Jesse Harris argues the “Count My Vote” citizen’s initiative would make it harder for candidates to get on the ballot [Opinionated @ CFE]. The LDS Church plans to broadcast the priesthood session of general conference for the first time ever [KSL]. Utah clean air groups may turn their sights on oil refineries and Hill Air Force Base next [Standard-Examiner]. State liquor officials decline to give a liquor license to a proposed restaurant in the Foothill neighborhood because the establishment wouldn’t have enough parking [Deseret News]. The Salt Lake County Council confirms Kevin Jacobs as the new assessor [Tribune]. The Salt Lake City Council decides to ask the mayor’s office and Salt Lake County Animal services to help draft regulations for horse-drawn carriages [Tribune].