What You Need to Know About Utah Politics Today – October 16, 2013

Countdown:  There are 21 days to the 2013 municipal elections, 105 days until the start of the 2014 Legislature, 380 days until the 2014 midterm elections and 814 days until the 2016 Iowa Caucuses.

  • Has Sen. Mike Lee’s strategy to stop Obamacare failed? [Tribune]
  • If the government shutdown goes on much longer, Utah may have to stop a number of programs including food stamps [Tribune].
  • A video showing Rep. Jason Chaffetz, acting as Speaker Pro Tempore of the House, getting grilled by Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen over a stealthy rule change which virtually guaranteed a government shutdown, has gone viral [KSL].
  • After a number of projections of a surplus, Utah lawmakers got news of a possible deficit next year depending on how the federal budget fight plays out [Utah Policy].
  • A Senate panel approves Rep. Spencer Cox as Utah’s next Lt. Governor, sending his nomination to the full Senate for a vote [Deseret News].
  • With apologies to Talking Heads – “How did Rep. Spencer Cox get here?” [Tribune]
  • The success of the USTAR program is called into question by a scathing legislative audit [Utah Policy, Tribune].
  • A Legislative audit questions how anti-wolf groups spent money given to them by lawmakers [Utah Policy, Tribune].
  • The Count My Vote group begins to hold public meetings about their citizen’s initiative [Deseret News].
  • Utah may have to spend another $7 million to keep the state’s national parks open through December [Deseret News].
  • Utah’s ski resorts say they won’t feel much pain if the government shutdown continues into ski season [Tribune].
  • Yummy! Rep. Dixon Pitcher is drafting legislation which would allow Utahns to keep and eat roadkill [Tribune].
  • Gov. Herbert names a 38-person team to come up with ways to combat Utah’s dirty air [Tribune].
  • Dick Buehler, director of the Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands, announces his retirement [Tribune].