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 - February 17, 2021
It's Ash Wednesday today, the beginning of Lent and also National Random Act of Kindness Day. Seems like a particularly nice way to begin a season of reflection and sacrifice.
Also, snow is blanketing Utah's roadways this morning. Be careful out there. You know some people have forgotten how to drive in snow - don't be that person.
If you only have time for one thing today: Jane Bolin was a trailblazer. She was the first Black woman to graduate from Yale Law School, the first Black woman to join the New York City Bar Association and the nation's first Black female judge. In an interview after becoming a judge, Bolin said she hoped to show "a broad sympathy for human suffering." She served on the bench for 40 years. Before her death at age 98, she looked back at her lifetime of first. "Everyone else makes a fuss about it, but I didn't think about it, and I still don't," she said in 1993. "I wasn't concerned about (being) first, second or last. My work was my primary concern." Read more about her remarkable story here and here.
16 days to the end of the 2021 Utah Legislature (3/5/21)
56 days until the end of the Cox/Henderson administration's first 100 days (04/14/2021)
72 days until the Biden/Harris administration's first 100 days are up (04/30/2021)
Today At Utah PolicyTaking a closer look at some Utah bills
By Holly Richardson
Here are three bills plus one declaration about maternal mental health that deserve a closer look.No, you can't share that picture - When Lauren McCluskey was being stalked and threatened by the man who would eventually kill her, she went to campus police at the University of Utah for help. During one of multiple visits, Lauren shared with officer Miguel Deras an explicit picture of herself that was being used to extort her. Officer Deras then shared that photo multiple times with colleagues, including the night of Lauren's murder, when another investigating officer said at the crime scene, "I wonder what she looked like."
Tweets of the day: #utleg roundup
By Holly Richardson
Today's tweet reflect a resolution praising Utah's 2020 election process, a bill to reduce recidivism, a state stone, choosing university presidents, university names, guardrails on executive powers and a visit from Congressman Curtis.
Utah legislature introduces bill to 'properly balance emergency powers'
By Holly Richardson
With the onset of COVID-19, Utahns watched the Emergency Management Act in effect for an extended period for the first time in our state's history. It became clear the Emergency Management Act is not structured for long-term emergencies such as a pandemic. After listening to Utahns' concerns, the Senate and the House of Representatives began working with the governor's office to create checks on broad executive emergency powers.
- Winter Storm Warning issued for Salt Lake; Tooele Valleys (ABC 4) - Heavy snow is expected and will intensify tonight through the early morning hours.
- UDOT asks commuters to delay travel Wednesday as snow continues to fall (KSL) - "If drivers can stay off the roads tomorrow morning, they can avoid the worst of the weather, and give our crews a chance to remove the snow from the highways," said UDOT official John Gleason.
- Utah lawmaker proposes restricting attorney general's power to involve state in lawsuits (KSL) - House Minority Leader Brian King introduced a resolution, HJR 14, that would put the issue before voters in the 2022 general election. It would restrict the AG to lawsuits that support the state's interests as reflected in law or administrative rule or policies adopted by the Legislature or governor.
- 2 arrested on suspicion of kidnapping, murder in case of missing Utah woman (KUTV) - Orlando Tobar, 29, and 21-year-old Jorge Medina were taken into custody for aggravated kidnapping, a first-degree felony, and aggravated murder, a first-degree felony, according to a probable cause affidavit.
- Provo High School art teacher given national recognition (Daily Herald) - James Rees has been teaching for almost 30 years and was recently named the National Art Education Association Educator of the Year.
- USU Recognized for best undergraduate research program in nation (USU Today) - "USU student researchers are making a direct difference for our communities and the state," said Alexa Sand, associate vice president for research at Utah State. "We are honored to accept the Council on Undergraduate Research's most prestigious award on their behalf."
- Schedules offer road to independence for people with autism (Daily Herald) - There's no "secret formula" for helping people with autism gain life skills, but if there was, it might look like the photographic activity schedules refined by Utah State University's Tom Higbee.
Salt Lake Tribune
- Unity isn't impossible. George Washington showed the way - The road ahead will test the very prospects and promises of the America Washington fought for and the fears he warned of in his farewell address. The effectual defense and protection of the Palladium of American unity must be bolstered in order to withstand the relentless and divisive assaults of our day.
- Justin Timberlake is sorry. Is it too late to matter? - The pop singer's apology to Janet Jackson and Britney Spears raises questions about the statute of limitations on regret and forgiveness.
- Utah's refreshing message after Lee and Romney vote their separate ways - GOP leadership in Utah has responded in a unique, refreshing and deeply American way. Noting that Romney voted to convict and Utah's other Senator, Mike Lee, voted to acquit, the party issued a statement that said, "The differences between our own Utah Republicans showcase a diversity of thought, in contrast to the danger of a party fixated on 'unanimity of thought.'"
- Utah smokes California in latest ranking of best performing U.S. cities - The annual Milken Institute Best-Performing Cities Index has Provo-Orem in the #1 spot for top-performing economies, with 2 other Utah cities in the top 10.
- 'Confusing leadership' spurs call for central office on homelessness to combat the issue - HB347, sponsored by Rep. Steve Eliason, R-Sandy, would create an Office of Homeless Services within the Department of Workforce Services. The bill gets its first hearing Wednesday morning in the House Government Operations Committee.
- Should Utah pony up more money to bring shows like 'Yellowstone' back to Beehive State? - A bill that would more than double subsidies for films that shoot in the Beehive State sparked a passionate debate in the Senate on Tuesday.
- Experts warn against easing up on wearing masks as Utah reports 591 new cases, 1 death - Utah's seven-day rolling average for coronavirus cases is now about the same level it was in October, "when we really started to see the fall/winter surge. A thousand per day is still too high."
- Utah House slaps down effort to discourage Native American mascots in public schools - Rep. Elizabeth Weight urged her fellow lawmakers to support the nonbinding resolution, arguing that Native American mascots "often are disrespected."
- National poll shows Mitt Romney still on the radar as 2024 GOP presidential candidate - The Politico/Morning Consult flash poll found Romney would get 4% of the vote, tying him with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. (He's not running.)
- New Zealand releasing Auckland from brief COVID-19 lockdown (Reuters) - Auckland's nearly 2 million residents were plunged into a snap three-day lockdown on Monday, after a more contagious COVID-19 variant that first emerged in Britain was detected in a family of three.
- Pfizer Could Be an Even Bigger Winner After These 2 Fantastic Findings (Motley Fool) - Pfizer's vaccine seems to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and not just prevent infection in vaccinated individuals and the vaccine appears effective against the UK and South African variants.
- New York Gov. Cuomo facing calls to apologize for undercounting Covid-19 nursing home deaths (NBC News) - "He needs to make a sincere apology to the families of the victims," said a longtime Democratic Party strategist, who asked not to be identified by name. "I know it's hard for him to apologize, but he just has to. It's the right thing to do, and the Republicans have made this a cause clbre to go after him."
- Anthony Fauci wins $1 million Israeli prize for his work on Covid-19 and other infectious diseases (CNN) - Fauci won the 2021 Dan David Prize because of his exceptional work with infectious diseases over his life, including HIV, Ebola, Zika, and most recently, Covid-19.
- Biden Suggests All Americans Could Be Offered Vaccines by August (New York Times) - Last week, the Biden administration said it had secured 200 million more doses of coronavirus vaccines, enough to inoculate every American adult. The additional doses amount to a 50 percent increase in the vaccine supply, and will give the administration the number of doses that necessary to cover 300 million people by the end of the summer.
- Coronavirus vaccine shipments face 'widespread delays' because of winter storm (Washington Post) - Hazardous conditions are slowing major distribution hubs in the Southeast and causing ripple effects for scheduling appointments and monitoring storage sites.
- Vaccine envy is real. Here's how to tame it. (Washington Post) - "We all want the vaccine, and it seems accessible; it's not like a villa in Beverly Hills. But envy is like a weed. It starts growing, and if you don't prune it, it will cover the entire tree."
- This is how many Salt Lake County teachers and school staff opted to get the vaccine (SL Trib) - Each of the five districts reported between 65% and 76% of employees have received the first dose. Alpine School District, the largest in the state, reported 77% of its 8500 employees have received the first dose.
- Joe Biden confronts a leadership moment (CNN) - An exhausted and impatient nation needs the kind of clarity and leadership only a president can provide as the coronavirus pandemic reaches a potentially decisive stage.
- President Biden: Go big with COVID-19 relief (The Hill) - Biden has built on his Election Day level of support when it comes to tackling the COVID-19 crisis. In a new ABC News/Ipsos poll, more than two-thirds of Americans approve of Biden's response to the pandemic.
- Donald Trump rips Mitch McConnell as each seeks to exert leadership after impeachment trial (USA Today) - In a stark statement that laid bare the party's fractiousness over Trump, the ex-president described McConnell as a "hack" who will not be able to lead the Republican Party back to victory.
- Leading House Democrat sues Donald Trump under a post-Civil War law for conspiracy to incite US Capitol riot (CNN) - The lawsuit, filed by Mississippi Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson in his personal capacity, is the first civil action filed against the former President related to the attack at the US Capitol and comes days after the Senate acquitted Trump in his impeachment trial.
- Stay or Go? Biden, Long a Critic of Afghan Deployments, Faces a Deadline (New York Times) - The question is whether the small contingent of American troops can accomplish anything after 20 years - and whether full withdrawal would clear the way for Taliban advances.
- Biden heads out of D.C. for town hall and first major presidential trip (Washington Post) - Speaking at a CNN town hall, Biden pledged that any American who wants a vaccine will have access to one by the end of July.
- McConnell shows that legacies don't matter when facts no longer do (Washington Post) - Now, there's little concern about the judgment of extraordinary minds. The focus is on catering to the smallest of them.
- Biden says investigating Trump is up to the Justice Department (Washington Times) - President Biden said Tuesday night that he won't meddle with any decision by his Justice Department to prosecute former President Donald Trump for anything he did while in office. "One of the most serious pieces of damage done by the last administration was the politicizing of the Justice Department," Mr. Biden said.
- Biden: 'I'm tired of talking about Trump' (The Hill) - "For four years, all that's been in the news is Trump. The next four years, I want to make sure all the news is the American people. I'm tired of talking about Trump," Biden said.
Policy NewsUtah Inland Port Authority 'in complete compliance,' says audit
An independent audit concluded the Utah Inland Port Authority (UIPA) has complied with all state requirements for financial reporting, budget, and the Open and Public Meetings Act. Squire & Company, PC reported that the financial statements audited "present fairly, in all material respects, the respective financial position of the governmental activities and the general fund" of UIPA.UIPA is required by law to provide an annual audit of its financial statements and state compliance by a Certified Public Accountant in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards. The report is designed to provide citizens, taxpayers, customers, and investors and creditors with a general overview of the finances of the Authority."We embrace these independent audits to make sure we're meeting our financial requirements, as well as meeting the public expectations of a public agency," said Jill Flygare, Chief Operating Officer for UIPA. "A key objective of ours is to be a responsible custodian of public resources and this audit confirms we are on track."The Authority's revenues totaled $3.4 million for the budget year ending in June 2020, resulting in a net position of $2.4 million.
Utah Principals of the Year come from Nebo, Ogden and Canyons Districts
The principals of Mt. Nebo Middle School (Ryan McGuire), Ogden High School (Heather Gerrard), and Alta High School (Brian McGill) were named 2021 Utah Secondary Principals of the Year by the Utah Association of Secondary School Principals (UASSP).
Curtis, Neguse launch bipartisan wildfire caucus, introduce legislation
Today, Congressman John Curtis (R-UT) and Congressman Joe Neguse (D-CO) launched the Bipartisan Wildfire Caucus, a new congressional caucus which seeks to elevate awareness and bipartisan consensus around wildfire management and mitigation, and wildfire preparedness and recovery. Notably, the caucus will require that members join in equal bipartisan numbers, and will serve as a useful tool for facilitating conversations and cultivating solutions for communities facing wildfire.
Sen. Lee sets Senate Republican Antitrust agenda for 117th Congress
Upon being assigned the Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee, Senator Lee issued the following statement today on antitrust matters in the 117th Congress:"Antitrust law and policy continues to grab headlines and attract attention in Congress, and there appears to be a broad consensus that the status quo isn't working. With the Senate split 50-50, any effort to reform or update our antitrust laws will need to be a bipartisan effort with buy-in from both sides.
Keeping up with the SL Chamber's legislative priorities
Derek Miller, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber and Downtown Alliance, presents the legislative priorities for Utah's business community, including short-term recovery priorities and long-term growth priorities.
- Hedge fund Alden Global is buying newspaper chain Tribune Publishing (CNN) - Where newspapers go to die. The acquisition has long been expected and feared internally after the hedge fund became the company's largest shareholder in 2019 with about 32% ownership. Hundreds of Tribune employees signed a letter to protest the ownership, citing the hedge fund's "well-documented history of extracting short-term profits from already-lean operations by cutting newsroom jobs and denying fair wages and benefits."
- Bill Gates says he's not 'a Mars person' like Elon Musk and would rather spend his money on vaccines than a trip to space (Yahoo! News) - Gates said he's interested in using his wealth and foundations to directly address some of humanity's greatest challenges. "I'm not going to pay a lot of money because my foundation can buy measles vaccines and save a life for $1,000," Gates said. "Anything I do, I always think, 'OK, I could spend that $1,000 buying measles vaccine.'"
- Arne Sorenson, CEO who grew Marriott into world's largest hotel chain, dies at 62 (Washington Post) - Mr. Sorenson had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2019 and cut back on full-time oversight of Marriott two weeks ago to undergo "more demanding treatment," the company said.
- Tesla May Have Already Made More In Profits From Bitcoin Than Electric Vehicles (Benzinga) - Bitcoin hit $50,000 for the first time ever on Tuesday, continuing a 2021 rally that has sent the largest cryptocurrency higher on increased adoption and public companies placing bets on the future.
- Microsoft releases new all-in-one Office app for iPads (Ars Technica) - The app combines Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and a number of mobile device-specific features, including PDF management tools and a file browser.
On This Day In History
- 624 - Wu Zetian, the only female Chinese emperor in history, is born.
- 1621 - Myles Standish is elected as the first commander of the Plymouth Colony.
- 1801 - Thomas Jefferson is elected 3rd president of the U.S., after a very acrimonious campaign against Aaron Burr.
- 1820 - The U.S. Senate passes the Missouri Compromise.
- 1870 - Tenley Albright became the first American woman to win the World Figure Skating championship.
- 1904 - Madame Butterfly premieres.
- 1912 - Alice Mary Norton is born. She wrote under the pseudonym Andre Norton because she thought it would be more salable in science fiction and fantasy and later legally changed her name to Andre Alice Norton. She also used the pseudonyms "Andrew North" and "Allen Weston."
- 1942 - Huey P. Newton, founder of the Black Panther Party, is born.
- 1963 - Michael Jordan is born.
- 1972 - President Nixon leaves DC for an historic trip to China.
- 1996 - Garry Kasparov defeats IBM computer "Deep Blue" 4-2.
In honor of Ash Wednesday:
"Let today be the day you give up who you've been for who you can become."
How do mountains stay warm?
They put on their snowcaps.
What do you call it when a snowman throws a temper tantrum?
Subscribers may receive special messages with information about new features, special offers, or public policy messages from clients and advertisers.
Advertise With Us