The UtahPolicy.com daily newsletter gets you up to speed on the top local and national news about politics and public policy. Send news tips or feedback to [email protected],.
Situational Analysis - January 21, 2021
It's Thursday, the first full day of the Biden/Harris administration. It's also National Hugging Day, so do like Utah activist Collin Kartchner recommended and take 8 seconds to hug someone close. Tonight is also Governor Cox's first State of the State address. It will be streamed live at www.facebook.com/utgovernorcox.
Yesterday's Inauguration Day was the first one where I got a bit teary-eyed. I had to think about why and I came to the conclusion that it was because I had always taken the passing of the baton for granted. Of course the transfer would be peaceful. Of course both the winner and the loser would both be gracious. This year, though, we all got a reminder about the unique nature of transferring power in the United States. That, and the shattering of a very large glass ceiling were cause for some emotion.
Speaking of emotion - if you only have time for one thing today, you simply must take the time to watch the nation's first Youth Poet Laureate, 22-year-old Amanda Gorman, recite her poem, "The Hill We Climb." "We lift our gazes not to what stands between us, but what stands before us," she recited. "We close the divide because we know to put our future first, we must first put our differences aside. We lay down our arms so we can reach out our arms to one another, we seek harm to none and harmony for all." And finally, "There's always light, if only we are brave enough to see it, if only we're brave enough to be it."
43 days to the end of the 2021 Utah Legislature (3/5/21)
Today At Utah PolicyA way forward for the politically homeless and good news for the Food Bank
By Holly Richardson
Now what? - DNews Opinion Editor Boyd Matheson writes that since neither major political party was much interested in a "day of reckoning," it's time to "seriously explore a third way." In a nation that is more centrist that it sometimes feels, the "moveable middle" has yet to find - or use - its voice. These are folks who are registered Democrats or Republicans, but who have largely disconnected from politics because they are so tired of the extremism, the divisiveness and the contempt from both candidates and the very loud members of their respective parties.
Tweets of the day
By Holly Richardson
The inauguration in tweets:
Utah politicos weigh-in on inauguration
By Holly Richardson
As you might imagine, many of Utah's politicos have congratulated the Biden/Harris administration on their inauguration. Here are some of their comments:Governor Spencer Cox said "Today we celebrate a cherished cornerstone of our democracy: the peaceful transition of power. Over the past four years, President Trump listened to Utah and we thank him for his service. As President Biden takes office, we look forward to working with him in advancing the vital interests of Utahns."
A new political home for the 'moveable middle': Welcome to the Giraffe Party "Always willing to stick our necks out," "Stays above the fray." It's time for a different kind of political discussion and it starts at the dinner table
Poll: What Utahns think about new President Joe Biden President Biden will have some work to do if he wants to poll favorably in Utah.
Could legislation help families and loved ones connect in lockdown? Rep. Cory Maloy is proposing a bill that would protect personal and religious freedoms by prohibiting the health department, long-term care facilities and governmental entities from barring entry.
Utahn among those President Trump pardons on way out the door Lynn W Barney was serving time for possessing a gun after previously being convicted of felony
Utah Senate approves $43 million in tax cuts for retired military, Social Security Part of a larger tax package, this bill takes the first bite at the apple and would reduce the tax burden on almost 67,000 people on fixed incomes.
Widespread voter fraud in 2020 election? A lot of Utahns think so For Utahns who call themselves conservatives, more than ? think there was wide-spread fraud and 60% think Trump was the winner of the November election.
'Political football'? Biden wants review of Bears Ears, Grand Staircase boundaries Utah leaders want to be involved in the discussions surrounding the monuments
Salt Lake Tribune
President Joe Biden starts process to restore Utah's national monuments - monument review likely would be headed by Biden's pick for Interior Secretary, Rep. Deb Haaland, D-N.M., an enrolled member of the Laguna Pueblo who refers to herself as a 35th-generation New Mexican.
Lawmakers threaten funding cuts if Salt Lake City schools don't reopen as promised - SB107 would mean that any school district that does not have a face-to-face option by Feb. 8 will immediately lose funding for each student that transfers elsewhere.
Gov. Spencer Cox was invited to Biden inauguration, but said obligations prevented his attendance - The beginning of the legislative session and today's State of the State address prevented the Governor from traveling to D.C.
UTA discards proposal for $1 billion TRAX at Point of Mountain; seeks bus rapid transit there instead - Conclusion comes after a year and a half of study
Bonuses for Utah teachers are coming in March, but substitutes will be left out - Their numbers are not reported to the state, so it's unknown how many there are. Sen. Riebe, a teacher, objects to the exclusion.
UDOT urging drivers to be prepared in Cottonwood Canyons, regardless if traction law in effect (FOX 13) - Common sense urged, especially in winter weather.
Salt Lake City Council lifts hiring freeze on SLCPD (FOX 13) - After 7 months, the council voted unanimously to life the freeze
Utah man faces charges after authorities say he impersonated an officer and stole a doughnut (CNN) - No commentary needed
This symptom might mean you had COVID-19 (Deseret News) - Fatigue - exhaustion not relieved by sleep - can be a post-viral symptom.
Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine can defeat the COVID-19 variant found in the UK (Deseret News)- New study showed that all mutations linked to the new variant were stopped by antibodies in the blood of patients who had been given the vaccine.
New COVID-19 variant in California is leading to increased spread, study says (Deseret News)- Another new strain of COVID-19 has been found in California, and it may be leading to more spread
New airport COVID-19 testing lets travelers avoid mandatory quarantines (Deseret News) - Big help for travelers who need to show negative COVID-19 tests, especially to places like Hawaii.
S.Africa virus strain poses 're-infection risk': study (Medical Xpress) - Unlike the UK variant, this new mutation does not seem to be blocked by vaccines - or previous infection.
First task for Biden's CDC director: Fix everything Trump broke (Ars Technica )- Part of Dr. Rochelle Walensky's plan is to unmuzzle scientists and get their science out to the public.
Policy NewsSenate education committee passes bill prioritizing in-person learning
The Utah Senate Education Committee prioritizes students by proposing S.B. 107, In-Person Instruction Prioritization, which addresses the use of allocated education funding to local education agencies that do not provide in-person learning options for K-12 students."Parents should have the ability to decide what is best for their child," said Sen. Todd Weiler, the bill sponsor. "Parents who don't have the option to send their kids back to school have been lobbying for months to have face-to-face learning and felt their cries have fallen on deaf ears. We strongly advocate for in-person instruction, and our hope is that with this bill, we will give all parents in our state the option to choose."
Utah federal delegation, state officials want to be included in discussions about Bears Ears
Utah's congressional delegation comprised of U.S. Senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and Mitt Romney (R-UT), Representatives Chris Stewart (R-UT), John Curtis (R-UT), Burgess Owens (R-UT), and Blake Moore (R-UT), as well as state officials including Gov. Spencer Cox, Attorney General Sean Reyes, Senate President Stuart Adams, and Speaker of the House Brad Wilson, issued the following statement regarding President Biden's executive order directing the Department of the Interior to review the boundaries and conditions of the Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments.
Retirement Income Tax Amendments bill passes Utah Senate, heads to House
The Utah Senate debated S.B. 11, Retirement Income Tax Amendments, which reduces individual income taxes for those on social security and for military retirement pay was debated yesterday during afternoon Senate floor time."This tax relief bill provides much needed aid to Utahns across the state," said Sen. Wayne Harper, the bill sponsor.
Webinar, Fri. Jan 22: Leadership Forum with Sheri Dew
The Utah Women & Leadership Project is hosting their first Women's Leadership Forum event of 2021, with Dr. Susan Madsen and Sheri Dew on Friday, January 22, 2021 at noon.
St. George Chamber of Commerce announces new board members
The St. George Area Chamber of Commerce (SGACC) is pleased to announce the election of Rebecca Box, Assistant Vice President at Security Services Federal Credit Union as the new chair of the board of directors and Kyle Case, CEO at the Huntsman World Senior Games as the board's vice chair for the 2021 year. Brad Buhanan of America First Federal Credit Union will serve as past chair on the board as well.
On This Day In History
We will press forward with speed and urgency, for we have much to do in this winter of peril and possibility.
Let us listen to one another.
~Joseph R. Biden, inaugural address
I told my friend ten jokes to make him laugh.
Sadly, no pun in ten did.
Subscribers may receive special messages with information about new features, special offers, or public policy messages from clients and advertisers.