What You Need to Know About Utah Politics Today – October 11, 2013

Countdown:  There are 26 days to the 2013 municipal elections, 110 days until the start of the 2014 Legislature, 385 days until the 2014 midterm elections and 819 days until the 2016 Iowa Caucuses.

  • Gov. Gary Herbert reaches a deal with the feds to use state money to reopen Utah’s national parks [Tribune].
  • Reopening Zion National Park will cost Utah $50,000 per day [Standard-Examiner].
  • Sen. Mike Lee does not want to discuss a pair of polls showing Utahns do not agree with his quest to stop Obamacare by shutting down the government [Deseret News].
  • Officials with Utah’s federal court say they will keep operating even after their contingency funds run out next week [Tribune].
  • The Utah Tax Commission rules same-sex couples will not be able to file a joint state tax return despite the ability to file a joint federal return [Tribune].
  • If you’re trying to read the tea leaves about Gov. Herbert’s 2016 plans with his pick of Spencer Cox to be the new Lt. Governor, keep looking [KSL].
  • Bob Bernick says the pick of Cox makes a ton of sense for Herbert [Utah Policy].
  • Former Rep. Carl Wimmer says he will not seek the legislative seat being vacated by Spencer Cox [Utah Policy]. In fact, Wimmer wants to become an evangelical Christian preacher [Tribune].
  • Rep Gage Froerer wants to help a Utah mother import a cannabis extract that she says helps her son with severe epilepsy [Tribune].
  • Gov. Herbert says, despite numerous pleas from the public, he does not have the authority to close a medical waste incinerator in North Salt Lake [Standard-Examiner].
  • Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker denies a newspaper report that he claimed to use the federal healthcare exchange website before it was actually open to the public [Tribune].
  • Enrollment numbers at Utah’s colleges are higher than expected this year [KSL].
  • Utah’s foreclosure rate is 11th highest in the country for the third quarter of 2013 [Tribune].
  • The NSA says the problems at their new data center in Bluffdale are not as bad as reported earlier [Tribune].
  • A Utah court upholds a decision ordering the city of Tooele to pay a developer nearly $21 million for trying to stall progress on development of a subdivision [Tribune].
  • A new report says homelessness is up in Utah, but chronic homeless is down nearly 10% [Tribune].