What You Need to Know About Utah Politics Today – October 28, 2013

Countdown:  There are 8 days to the 2013 municipal elections, 91 days until the start of the 2014 Legislature, 372 days until the 2014 midterm elections and 799 days until the 2016 Iowa Caucuses.

  • Utah Republicans approve some reforms to the neighborhood caucus system at the same time the “Count My Vote” group launches their petition drive to do away with the caucus system [Tribune].
  • How has Sen. Mike Lee become a rockstar-like figure with Tea Party affiliated voters? [Tribune]
  • NAACP president Benjamin Jealous warns a Salt Lake City audience that voter-suppression is an eminent danger [Tribune].
  • The mayors of South Jordan, Riverton and Bluffdale say the proposed $495 million bond from the Jordan School District is too large [Tribune].
  • How much should endorsements matter in local elections? [Provo Buzz]
  • Rep. Ralph Okerlund wants to change the official state tree from the Colorado blue spruce to the aspen [Tribune].
  • The Utah Transit Authority hopes to double current ridership by the end of the decade [Tribune].
  • Good news for Utah’s schools. Eighth-graders in the Beehive state perform better in science than their peers in all but 5 countries. Those same students rank 11th in math [Tribune].
  • Advocates worry Utah’s anti-bullying law, which requires school officials to notify parents of victims, could accidentally “out” LGBT kids [Tribune].
  • A new study gives Utah an A+ for efforts to keep people with mental illness out of the criminal justice system [Deseret News].
  • The state’s retirement system delivers the 8th-best returns in the country [Tribune].
  • UDOT has some bridges and roads that can salt themselves to melt ice [Tribune].
  • The Utah State Prison bans pictures drawn with crayons because some are using the wax as a way to smuggle drugs into the facility [KSL].
  • A small group of protestors rally outside the NSA data facility in Bluffdale [Tribune].
  • The Road Home is bracing for a surge in the number of homeless and poor people needing shelter this winter [Tribune].
  • Utah farmers and ranchers are advocating for immigration reforms that will allow them to hire enough workers [Deseret News].